How to Make Pile Carpet Look Like New

Updated July 20, 2017

The best method for retaining your carpet's pile is to care for it properly from the very start with routine, thorough cleanings. In fact, according to The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), "proper, consistent carpet maintenance is critical to extending the life of the carpet, sustaining an optimum performance and appearance level." However, many of us inherit carpet when we move into a pre-owned home or we just got off track in maintaining our carpets the way we should have. But you may be able to restore your carpet's pile so that your friends swear you have new carpet.

Rake the carpet using a carpet rake or groomer to prepare it for vacuuming. By using firm stokes pushing down forwards and backwards, you will help raise any ground-in dirt to the surface as well as help remove any pet hair that is embedded deep in your carpet.

Vacuum your carpet. Because the type of vacuum you use is so important, purchasing one with CRI's IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) "green label" ensures that your purchase meets their strict standards for removing soil, keeping dust particles within the vacuum's filter, and retaining your carpet's appearance.

Shampoo your carpet following the directions on the carpet machine and carpet cleaning solution. If you do not own a carpet cleaning machine, you can rent one from a home improvement store or your local grocery store chain may rent them.

Rake your freshly shampooed carpet before it is completely dry. This step is critical for restoring your carpet's pile if the pile is medium to long (e.g., shag). Low pile carpets such as a Berber carpet typically do not require this step.


If you have any "carpet ghosts," a term Martha Stewart uses to describes areas of carpet where the pile has become crushed or flattened by furniture, place one or more ice cubes on the carpet ghost. Her trick will cause the carpet's fibres to swell as they absorb the water. Once the ice cubes have melted, just blot the wet area with a dry towel followed by vacuuming to straighten out the fibres. You can also use the edge of a spoon to help lift any remaining areas. It is important to note that your carpet must be completely dry for this trick to work properly.


To avoid injury or electrical shock it is critical that you follow all instructions when operating your vacuum and/or carpet cleaning machine.

Things You'll Need

  • Carpet rake or groomer
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Carpet cleaning machine and cleaning solution
  • Access to an electrical socket
  • Ice
  • Spoon
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About the Author

For more than 20 years, Everett E. Robinson IV has been writing, editing, proofreading, creating/delivering training, designing (graphic and fine art), doing voice over work, or directing teams performing these tasks. He has worked for small entrepreneurial companies and Fortune 500 leaders. He has a B.A. in English and is currently a copy editor and special consultant for Dear Doctor magazine and website.