For most, keeping carpets and rugs clean means
Vacuum at least once a week. Whilst this is a bit on the obvious side, regular vacuuming keeps dirt from penetrating deeper into the pile which can make it more difficult to remove. Over time this will wear down the rug or carpet more quickly and can lead to premature discoloration and fading.
Another simple thing is to improve one's vacuuming technique. All rugs and carpets have a pattern to the pile. This is visible as one observes the dark and light streaks while running the vacuum over the carpet. To be most effective, go over the carpet twice: once with the pile grain to get out the dirt on the surface, and against the grain to get at deeper grime. This simple change takes only a moment but makes a big difference in long-term cleanliness.
Moving rugs around to adjust wear patterns keeps the same high-traffic spots from constant soiling. A simple rotation every few months will keep one area from being overly worn. For carpets, moving furniture regularly can have the same effect as well as avoiding depressions from chair and couch feet.
Liquids spilled must be mopped up immediately. With a clean rag, blot the spill from the outside toward the center to avoid spreading the moisture. Be gentle and never scrub, as this pushes the liquid deeper into the pile, backing and underlay. After getting the majority of liquid, use a spot cleanser designed for carpets. For rugs, check the backing and if it is wet, dry it from the back and leave a dry rag underneath while cleaning.
As soon as a stain is spotted, clean it quickly. Leaving dirt or a stain to sit will result in a harder job of cleaning. This is especially important in high-traffic areas where constant pressure will force the contents of the stain deeper into the pile.
Whilst a yearly deep cleaning is recommended by most fabric and carpet manufacturers, this is only a rule of thumb. Heavily trafficked rugs and carpets or those subject to more dirty shoes, should be professionally cleaned more often. The longer one waits to clean the more difficult it is to bring the carpet back to its best looking condition.
There are lots of professional carpet cleaning firms with a wide range of experience and skill. Many advertise first-time discounts, spring specials and the like. While there is nothing wrong with getting a bargain price, if the work is not done properly you'll just be wasting your pounds. Ask for recommendations and if choosing a firm from the Internet or directory, be sure to do some research.
The firm should be more than willing to provide references. You can also visit Citizens Advice online to see if the firm has been accused of perpetrating any scams. Some firms will provide an initial quote online or on the phone, but be sure you get a final quote in writing when they arrive to do the service. This avoids any misunderstanding moving forward.
With good regular care and an occasional professional cleaning, one's rugs and carpets will stay looking sharp and provides years of wear.