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How to Clean a Stair Runner Effectively

Native Red stair runner

As one of the high-traffic areas of your home, staircases are naturally going to see a lot of dirt and debris. Much of this will stain over time, too, especially if you have a stair carpet or runner that’s likely to hold dirt particles. 

This guide will tell you how to clean a stair runner when it has become dirty, and offers top tips and advice on how to prevent stains and wear and tear.

Easy Ways to Clean Your Stair Runner

There are many different ways to clean a stair runner:


Lightly brushing your stair runner with a stiff-bristled brush or broom regularly can help to remove surface dirt, debris, and pet hair. This is only generally recommended for light cleaning, however. You should use more powerful methods on more stubborn stains, or more deeply embedded dirt.


Most experts would usually recommend using a lightweight vacuum cleaner to get a clean carpet on stairs. This ensures the work is done properly, but also safely, as the machine won’t be so heavy that it could tip backwards and result in a fall or injury.

You can also use a larger vacuum if it is placed on a firm, flat surface, and uses a hose and brush attachments.

Carpet Shampoo

A vacuum cleaner will help with loose dirt and debris, but for removing stains, you will need a proper carpet cleaner. You can mix carpet shampoo with water and use a scrubbing brush or cloth to dab or scrub the stained areas – just don’t scrub if your runner is made of wool. Rinse these off and dry them using a fresh cloth or towel.

Steam Cleaning

For clean carpets free of even the most deeply embedded dirt, you can always choose to steam clean the runner. These are available in specialist shops, or to rent from professional services. 

Alternatively, you can also choose to use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, for the same results.

Preserving Your Stair Runner

stair runner or a winding staircase

Beyond simply cleaning a carpet runner when it becomes dirty, there are some things you can do to preserve it so less cleaning and maintenance are needed:


Being mindful of the footwear used on your staircase can often have an effect on how quickly the runner gets dirty or worn. Shoes that have been outside will track in mud and dirt, for example. If they have rubber soles, they may also grip a carpet’s fibres and pull at them, causing the runner to wear prematurely. 

The solution to this is to avoid using shoes on your staircase wherever possible, or otherwise, make sure there are doormats on either side of your front and back doors to trap excess dirt before it reaches your stairs.

Tackling Spillages

Many materials used to make stair runners, such as wool, are quite resilient. If you act quickly enough after an accident like a spillage has happened, the stain may be reduced or avoided entirely.

Replacing Your Stair Runner

Eventually, all stair runners will become worn to the point that care and maintenance will no longer have any effect. At this point, the only remaining solution is to replace the runner entirely. You can choose exactly how you want to do this, and incorporate any number of designs, patterns, and colours to suit your interior space. 

Stair Rods Direct is proud to offer a vast array of stair runners to suit your needs and tastes. Whether you are set on maintaining a traditional appearance for a grand, old hallway and staircase or need something bright and contemporary for a modern home, you will find it here. We can also offer plain or almost plain options for a minimalist look, or even animal prints if you want something vibrant and a little bit quirky to draw the eye.

For More Advice and Ideas

We will always be there to help if you ever require further advice and information about different parts of your staircase. For instance, if you have been wondering what exactly stair stringers are, need to know how to childproof stairs, or want to know if staining or painting your stairs will be best for you, our expertise has you covered.

To influence your interior design even further, we can also help you with finding inspiration. Would you like dark-painted stairs in your home, but don’t know how to make it effective? Maybe you want to modernise your staircase, but are unsure of where to start? You can even find ideas to turn your staircase into a statement for your home with our help.