How To Protect Carpeted Stairs: 8 Effective Ways

Stairs are one of the most used high-traffic areas in your home. They’re prone to damage, like spills, stains, and dents. But with constant dirty footprints from family and pets and the other accidents that will eventually take place, you’re probably wondering about how you can affect the longevity of the carpet on your stairs. What are the best tips on how to protect carpeted stairs?

The easiest ways to protect carpeted stairs include cleaning spills immediately and cleaning regularly. You can also install products like carpet runners, stair treads, and protectors. If all else fails, you might replace the carpet with a more maintenance-free option.

In this article, we’ll show you eight effective ways to protect your carpeted stairs. Check out each option for pros and cons, as well as the best products on the market.

How To Protect Carpeted Stairs: 8 Effective Ways

Understanding practical and appropriate ways to protect carpeted stairs can help you keep your stairway modern and clean. You might be able to prolong the area for years to come. Here’s how to keep your stairs in their best condition.

1. Clean Spills Immediately

Stair carpet protection

The stairway is a hot spot for spills, particularly involving liquid. Accidents are bound to happen once in a while in such a high-traffic location.

Make sure to clean all spills immediately, primarily liquid. Use unique products made for your carpeted stairs to prevent the liquid from penetrating the surface and causing stains. Follow the directions on the cleaner for the best results. You’ll most likely need a cloth to help wipe up the mess. A stair cleaning machine or carpet steamer may help you tackle large spills.

The Downside to Carpet Cleaning

Cleaning carpeted stairs can be challenging. The odd angles may make it difficult to clean up large messes or stains. Cleaning a quick spill could be hard on your back or joints, as you may need to scrub the spot by hand.

Some wet cleaning methods may also require much more work on your part. Using a carpet cleaner in a stairway often comes with special powders and foams that you apply to the carpet. Steam cleaning also requires significant dry time. Otherwise, mold and bacteria grow in your carpet.

The Best Carpet Cleaning Products for Stairs

stairs protectorResolve Professional Strength Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner is the best product for quick clean-up. It’s a top-rated, deep-penetrating stain remover that can lift stains and remove odors.

The cleaner breaks down the most challenging stains for a low price.

After using this carpet cleaner, your staircase will smell fresh and feel soft. It only takes three minutes.

The best part is the power and versatility. You can use the carpet cleaner for pet messes, mud, red wine, grass, or even motor oil.

2. Vacuum Stairs Regularly

How to protect carpet on stairs

Keeping the stairs clean is the easiest way to cut back on the damage. A study on cleaning suggests that daily and complete cleaning is ideal maintenance for carpet. Frequent vacuuming prevents dry soil particles from scratching the fibers and causing early deterioration.

The best part is that carpet cleaning products are not expensive. You might already have some of the materials you need at home. For example, your vacuum’s hose attachment is all you need to maintain clean stairs.

Vacuum the stairs at least once per week to remove dirt and debris. Place the vacuum at the bottom of the staircase, using the hose attachment to swipe each step. Go over each step around two to three times to be thorough. However, the frequency you need to clean your stairway depends on the amount of traffic.

The Downside to Vacuuming Stairs

If you don’t have the right vacuum, cleaning the stairs is a real pain. Look for a cordless vacuum or a model with a hose attachment to make for easy cleaning. A lightweight or compact vacuum may also be ideal for you if you have trouble lifting heavy weight.

The Best Vacuum for Stairs

carpet protection for stairsThe best vacuum to use on the stairs is the Black and Decker Dustbuster Handheld Vacuum. It’s a cordless model with Advanced Clean technology, making it perfect for cleaning high traffic areas. It’s excellent for removing messes in tough-to-reach regions, and the vacuum picks up stubborn pet hair from carpeted stairs with ease.

Unlike many other cordless vacuums, this model also has a long crevice tool. Use it to clean the staircase without bending over and causing as much back strain. It’s easy to use and maintain. Even the filter is washable.

3. Add Blinds to Block Direct Sunlight

Carpet protector for stairs

A home with windows near the stairway and direct sunlight could cause premature fading. You can keep your carpet from becoming unusable by incorporating mini-blinds. Blinds block direct sunlight and extend the lifespan of the material.

The Downside to Blinds

Blinds typically cost more than curtains. If you purchase plastic blinds, the slats may also bend and break easily. Using mini-blinds may come with regular replacement costs. However, the blinds should keep direct sunlight from the carpet better than curtains.

Some people also don’t care for the look of blinds. They’re not always aesthetically pleasing. There are fancy blinds that are not cheap plastic. However, many of these options are difficult to clean without removing them from the window each time.

The Best Blinds for Stair Protection

step protectors for carpetThe best option to add to the window near your stairs is the Easy Life Trim-at-Home Fabric Shade. Unlike ugly plastic mini-blinds that break easily, this fabric shade is cordless and pleated in light-filtering material. They come in four sizes and appear more stunning than traditional blinds or curtains.

The easy installation and use of these blinds are what make them great. You can install them without screws or a power drill. To open or close the blinds, all you have to do is lift or pull them from the bottom.

4. Try a Vinyl Carpet Runner

Vinyl Carpet RunnerA rug or carpet runner is a quick and straightforward way to protect your stairway. Runners protect the carpet under them by adding an absorbent, easy to clean layer between you and the surface. Carpet runners are also affordable for most budgets. The best runner will stick to your carpet, preventing falls. However, many runners are available in stores.

The wide availability of carpet runners means there are tons of options. Vinyl carpet runners are fantastic for carpeted stairs because they allow you to see your carpet.Another bonus to being widely available is using a runner to bring more color or style to the staircase. The decor opportunities are endless.

The Downside to Carpet Runners

Some carpet runners may slide or bump, which is dangerous on the stairs. A runner with long grippers on the bottom is ideal for holding the runner in place.

However, perhaps the biggest downside to vinyl carpet runners is that the material is harmful to the environment and your health. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) vinyl is the most toxic plastic. Many organizations strive to stop using the poisonous type of plastic.

The Best Vinyl Carpet Runner

The Resilia Clear Vinyl Plastic Floor Runner/Protector is a skid-resistant option for carpet with a deep pile. The protector is see-through, but it still features a decorative pattern to create an interesting focal point. You can purchase this runner in many sizes or even cut it with scissors to fit a custom staircase.

The best part about the Resilia carpet runner is that it features high-quality gripping technology for safety. It’s also made using a flexible, phthalate-free vinyl that’s eco-friendly. The runner comes from recycled materials in the U.S., and it does not contain any contaminants.

5. Install Stair Treads Over the Carpet

Stair TreadsYou can install products like non-slip stair treads over the carpet to add protection. Stair treads protect the carpet from wear and tear over time. They also keep bumps from forming, which could be hazardous.

Most treads come with two sets, and the measurements are typical for standard-sized stairs. They’re simple enough for beginners to install, and they allow you to add protection without hiding the beauty of your carpet.

Cut four sections of double-sided carpet tape for each stair tread, using the tape to keep the strip in place. Each strip should sit at the back of the stair tread. Press the adhesive to secure the thread onto each stair. If you have carpeted stairs, use carpet tacks instead of tape. You’ll need three tacks at the center of each stair and one in each corner.

The Downside to Stair Treads

While many stair treads on the market are available for tile or wood stairs, there are few options made with carpeted stairs in mind. Depending on the stair treads you find, they may leave teeth marks on the carpet after removal as well.

The Best Stair Treads

The best stair treads for carpet are Clear Vinyl Stair Treads. They have teeth that grip the carpet fibers, helping the treads remain in place. For this reason, you can use the stair treads on high piles or thick carpets. However, they’re also easy to install with a low pile carpet.

Because the treads are clear, you can still enjoy the look of your carpet. The treads even add slip resistance and keep excessive dirt from the staircase. They’re highly recommended for anti-slip safety.

6. Add a Stair Carpet Protector

Stair Carpet ProtectorAnother simple option is a stair carpet protector. These products cover the carpet entirely, preventing stains, dirt, or everyday wear and tear. Many brands make protectors, and there are many types to choose from.

For example, a carpet protector film fights off the dust, dirt, and other damage. They’re excellent for protection when you’re moving or completing repairs. Most carpet protectors are made using solid polyethylene, which is durable and resistant. Many options are also lightweight, allowing you to install them on your own.

The Downside to a Carpet Protector

The biggest downside to a carpet protector is that they’re not long-lasting solutions. Most carpet protector films are only installed for around 45 days. Another con is that they typically use an acrylic adhesive to stick in place, which can leave marks and residue on your carpet.

The Best Stair Carpet Protector

The Laminet Non-Slip Carpet and Floor Protector is a unique and high-performance option. The design features a non-slip backing that you can expect to stick well to any carpet type, no matter how thick. You can even use them on hardwood or tile flooring. All you have to do is cut the protector to fit your staircase.

The best part about the Laminet protector is that you can remove them for easy cleaning. Just throw them in the wash on the gentle cycle. When you’re ready to remove them, the protector won’t leave a mark or residue behind either.

7. Have Carpeted Stairways Professionally Cleaned

Hoover PowerDash GO Pet+ Portable Spot Cleaner, Lightweight Carpet and Upholstery Machine, Stain Remover for Pets, Stairs and Home, FH13010PC, BlueA deep clean from a carpet professional is recommended to extend the life of your carpeted stairs. Schedule a cleaning around every 12 to 18 months or about once per year for the best results.

Professional carpet cleaning is ideal for avoiding severe problems later. Routine deep cleaning prevents mold from growing in the carpet and removes deep-seated dirt from the bottom of the fibers. Regularly having your carpets cleaned even prolongs the lifespan of the carpet. Hiring a professional also saves you from deep cleaning the carpet yourself.

The Downside to Hiring a Pro

Professional carpet cleaners come with a price. Expect to pay for their services. However, the pros far outweigh the cost. A pro has superior equipment that produces like-new carpets much faster than you can probably achieve on your own.

The Best Carpet Cleaner for Stairs

If you want a professional-grade clean without hiring a pro, try the Hoover Power Dash Go. It’s a portable carpet cleaning machine that’s lightweight. You can use it as a spot cleaner or for deep cleans. This carpet cleaner has no cords to worry about tripping over, and the suction hose makes it easy to use.

The best part about the Hoover Power Dash Go is how well it tackles stains. The powerful machine removes set-in-stains and is versatile enough for any cleaning job, from the stairs to your car’s interior.

8. Replace the Carpet

If none of the above methods are ideal for your staircase, you might want to consider replacing the carpet in your stairway. Switch out your carpet for an easy-to-clean option to keep the mud and dirt your family and pets carry in from causing damage.

For the most resilience, go with a carpet that’s sturdy for stairs. It should resist wear and tear and lessen the impact if you fell. The carpet should not feel too thick or too thin. Long pile carpets are prone to snag on your shoes, which isn’t safe for stairs.

Try to buy the highest quality, strongest carpet in your budget. Look for dark colors to hide dirt or stains over time, and consider a long-lasting material like nylon carpet if you have kids or pets.

The Downside to Installing New Carpet

This option is the most expensive. Replacing carpeted stairs can be a complex do-it-yourself project for beginners, so you may need to hire a professional to install the carpet.

Installing a new carpet is also a frustrating process. You might not be able to use the staircase for a significant time. Make sure the carpeting you choose will last many years for a stairway to avoid completing the process again in a few years.


Protecting carpeted stairs is crucial for extending the lifespan of the material and keeping everyone safe from falls. With proper care, you can help your carpet appear in perfect condition for years to come. There are many effective ways to protect carpeted stairs, from completing regular cleaning to replacing the carpet for a more efficient choice.

Did you find what you needed to keep your carpeted stairs safe? If you enjoyed reading this article, please let us know. Share our tips with your friends, or leave us a comment.

Written By: Yevgen

YevgenI'm a DIY nut, and the founder and chief editor here at Weekend Builds.
This site is a result of my DIY passion, and to share the joys I have experienced fixing, building, and creating things over the years.

Leave a Comment