How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?
To keep your carpet looking and performing well for as long as possible, manufacturers recommend having your carpet cleaned at minimum every 12 - 18 months, depending on the amount of traffic in your home. In fact, such frequent cleaning is a condition of many warranties -- be sure to carefully read your warranty information.
Having your carpets cleaned is a chore that usually falls into the same category as spring cleaning: not very fun to do, but necessary, and should occur at approximately the same level of frequency. Most carpet owners, however, will only have their carpets cleaned once every few years (and some not even that). Carpet cleaning is not just important for removing stains. Having your carpet cleaned will improve and prolong your carpet's performance.
Risks of DIY
Generally, DIY machines do not heat the water to the same high temperature as professional machines, which results in less effective cleaning. In addition, these machines are not as powerful as the ones professionals use, which means that they are not able to extract as much of the water (and therefore dirt) from the carpet.
When properly done, carpet should be only slightly damp after it has been thoroughly cleaned. Wet carpet indicates that the machine was not powerful enough to do the job effectively. If your carpet is very wet after cleaning, use fans to speed up the drying, and be sure to stay off it until it is dry. Do not replace the furniture before the carpet is completely dry.
Other variables, such as the amount of cleaner to add to the machine, and the technique for using the machine (how fast/slow to move across the carpet), present several opportunities for things to go wrong with DIY machines or at least not as well as with professional cleaners.