How to Clean Carpet Tiles (And Keep them Clean!)

little girls on clean carpet tiles tiles

Carpet tile is a popular choice for high-traffic spaces, which is why it’s a good idea to keep these ‘how to clean carpet tiles’ tips close at hand. Foot and paw traffic—plus spills!—wears down and stains carpet tiles (especially when snow and salt is tracked in).

Fortunately, carpet cleaning is not that much different than cleaning carpet, though there are some notable differences between the two floors. Carpet comes in a single roll. Each carpet tile is typically installed individually. Because of the individual tiles, carpet tiles are ideal for spaces with frequent activity and a high risk for spills (i.e. playrooms, family rooms, offices, etc.) They are also fairly easy to install (without a permanent adhesive). Some carpet tiles can be replaced if the stain is permanent.

Carpets come in high-, medium-, and low-pile option. Higher pile carpets tend to be “shaggier” and a bit more difficult to clean. Carpet tiles are typically available in low-pile options that hold up well in high-traffic spaces and are easy to clean.

Carpet Tile Cleaning Tips

Cleaning carpet tiles is not difficult, though there is one big difference between cleaning carpet tile and carpet.

Vacuum regularly.

Vacuuming is one of the most important parts of keeping carpet looking new, so it’s vital to do a thorough job. Instead of doing a “quick pass,” a good vacuum involves multiple slow passes over the same area. A thorough vacuum also removes debris and allergens, which is vital in offices and play spaces (especially in area where kids are on the floor). Vacuuming should be done at least once a week in low-traffic space, and more often in high-traffic spaces to clean carpet tiles. Most homeowners should follow the schedule for low-traffic spaces. Staff should vacuum commercial spaces several times a day, or at least once a day.

Always use a manufacturer-approved carpet cleaner.

Carpet cleaners are a wonderful way to remove stains and clean carpet tiles, but they can also be a headache (and eye sore) if the cleaner discolors the carpet tiles. To avoid this scenario, it’s best to look up the manufacturer’s recommendations for carpet cleaners (or visit a local flooring store for information) and test out the carpet cleaner in a hidden area. The test can be done in a closet or under a large piece of furniture to ensure that there is not an unsightly spot in a heavily used area.

Blot, don’t scrub, stains.

It’s completely understandable to want to scrub out stains when cleaning carpet tiles. However, a good scrub comes with the risk of damaging the carpet fibers.

Instead, when cleaning up a spill from a carpet tile, completely remove any solids and soak up as much liquid as possible. Next, apply the carpet cleaner and blot at the carpet tile until it looks clean. Some carpet cleaners might also require a good vacuuming; always look at the directions on the carpet cleaner and follow them as closely as possible.

Set a regular carpet cleaning schedule.

Just like carpet, a regular carpet cleaning removes debris and allergen trapped deep in the carpet. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends carpet cleaning every 12 to 18 months. However, the exact vacuuming and carpet cleaning schedule depends on the number (and type of) occupants, amount of room traffic, and carpet warranty. Typically, a homeowner should schedule a carpet cleaning once a year, while a commercial space should schedule a quarterly or bi-annual carpet cleaning.

Carefully remove carpet tiles.

Some carpet tiles can be removed and washed—but not all carpet tiles. If the manufacturers indicate that the tile should be washed, there are a few important tips to follow. Carpet tiles should not be soaked and should be as dry as possible before replacement. The tiles should only be washed with a cleaner recommended by the carpet tile manufacturer.

How to Keep Carpet Tiles Looking Like New

  • Place mats and rugs by doors to keep tracked-in snow, salt, and debris at bay.
  • Put plastic underneath rolling furniture (i.e. cabinets, office chairs, etc.)
  • Regularly and thoroughly vacuum carpet tiles.
  • Visit a local flooring store to purchase a manufacturer-approved carpet cleaner.
  • Always test carpet cleaners in a hidden area before using in frequently used areas.
  • Keep a carpet cleaner close at hand for a prompt cleaning.
  • Schedule a regular carpet clean annually or bi-annually (depending on the amount of traffic in the space).