Get Ready to Roll: 11 Things to Do Before a Carpet Cleaner Arrives

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated June 29, 2022
A bright modern living room with a blue carpet
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images

A bit of organization and light cleaning can help your carpet team get the job done in less time

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

No matter how much your dust, vacuum, or break out the DIY shampooer, sometimes it's best to call in the pros for a thorough carpet cleaning. Tricky challenges like cigarette smoke, pet fur, and dust mites build up in rugs and carpeting over time, and an annual carpet cleaning can transform your space with minimal work. While you can leave most of the heavy lifting to your team, follow these 10 steps to prepare your home for the visit to make the day a great success.

1. Chat With Your Carpet Cleaning Company

Your carpet cleaning team is ready for your questions. They'll likely even send you a simple checklist of things to do before they arrive. Some companies will include furniture moving in their cost or offer a discount to focus on high-traffic areas only.

Before going to great lengths to prep the carpet in question, chat with the carpet cleaning company your hire about how to help them on the big day.

2. Vacuum If Necessary

One of your first questions for carpet cleaners should be, "Do I need to vacuum?" Your carpet cleaners may prefer to handle all steps on their own, including the initial vacuum. Others encourage a pre-visit pass with the vacuum to check for loose items or save time during their visit.

While the cost of carpet cleaning typically breaks down by square feet—and not an hourly rate—cleaners will be able to focus more specifically on the shampoo process if you take care of the initial vacuum.

3. Move Furniture

The interior of a design living room
Photo: Jacek Kadaj / Moment / Getty Images

Here's another task to discuss with your cleaners before taking it on yourself. Only move furniture if your company requests it specifically. The cleaners will likely come to measure your space before offering a free estimate. 

Chat with them about how the placement of items in the room will impede the cleaning process, if at all. Some larger items—like dressers or china cabinets—may need to stay put, especially if you don't plan to move them in the near future.

4. Store Fragile Items

Whenever a contractor comes to your home to thoroughly clean or renovate your home, tuck any fragile items into storage to avoid damage. If you or the company plans to move furniture, remove all decorative items, fragile or not, so that the team avoids extra work.

5. Check for Loose Debris

A boy playing with his toys while sitting on the carpet
Photo: Beatriz Vera / EyeEm/EyeEm / Getty Images

Comb over your carpet with a close eye to look for items you wouldn't want to get stuck in a vacuum or a professional steam cleaner. Bobby pins, jewelry, or rogue toys are common culprits. Take extra care to check spots previously hidden by furniture.

6. Clean From the Top Down

The last thing you want after your professional carpet cleaning is a cloud of dust floating down from the ceiling fan. Before the team arrives, remove dust and cobwebs from the ceiling, tops of walls, lighting, or ceiling fans. Call in your HVAC professionals for a standard cleaning as well.

7. Secure Your Drapes

Most carpet cleaning companies will request that you tie or tuck long drapes off the floor. We recommend giving them a thorough dusting or taking the opportunity to run them through the wash so they don't drop dust on your newly cleaned rugs.

8. Prep Your Pets

A red cat lays on the carpet
Photo: Maria Fedotova/Moment / Getty Images

If you have a friendly golden retriever determined to "help" your carpet cleaning team, it's best to keep them tucked away so the pros can get to work. Choose a room for your cats or dogs and be sure you have a plan to keep them off the carpet for a day if it needs to dry. 

“This is a great piece of advice as the solution being used may be harmful to pets if they absorb it or lick it off of their feet,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA.

9. Make a Post-Cleaning Plan

You’ll need to keep your family off of the rug for up to a day after cleaning. Steam cleaning takes longer than the dry powder method and can even delay moving furniture back to its spot. Keep this in mind when scheduling your appointment, especially if you're prepping the house for an upcoming holiday party or the arrival of guests.

10. Make a List of Stains

From the spot from a flying forkful of spaghetti to any unfortunate pet accidents, you should make a list of any carpet stains you need your pro to address. Mentioning these on the phone when you make your appointment can help them come prepared, but it may also help to run your pro through any spots when they arrive so you’re both on the same page. 

11. Save a Parking Spot

Welcome your carpet cleaning team by ensuring they have a place to park the moment they arrive, especially if they have a truck or small van. If you live in a city, offer tips for street parking in the area beforehand. We also recommend clearing a path from your front door to the room ready for cleaning.

The best carpet cleaners in your area will make you feel comfortable and prepared before the big day. During the free-quote process, don't hesitate to request the company's preferences to prep your home before they arrive and after they've wrapped up for the day.

How Long to Stay off of Your Carpet After a Cleaning

Once your carpet cleaning pro has worked their magic, they’ll likely give you a few tips to follow to keep your carpet looking great. Depending on whether you choose steam cleaning or dry carpet cleaning, you may need to keep the family off your rug for up to 24 hours. If you need to walk across the carpet, wait as long as possible and pop on a clean pair of socks or slippers before stepping onto the surface.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.