Carpet stairs are excellent because they are low noise, warm, and soft underfoot. Unfortunately, they can get slippery.

There are several steps you can take to make them better. Keep reading if you want to get your carpet stairs as safe and non-slip as possible.

1. Thoroughly and Regularly Clean the Carpet

Over time, the carpet will build up grease, dust, and other grime. Unclean floors and carpets can be slippery, getting worse over time as they attract more trafficked dirt.

A staircase will often be a high-traffic area, needing more regular cleanings than other floorings. Stairs also involve more scuffing and damage, given the process of climbing stairs means putting your entire body weight on one foot as you go up them.

Professional carpet cleaning machines will do a deep clean and get your carpet looking brand new. However, these are expensive and sometimes hard to source, so you should try some alternatives.

The Hoover Power Scrub Carpet Cleaner (available on Amazon) will shampoo your carpet. It uses a power brush to scrub deep into the carpet while applying shampoo and dries the carpet afterward using HeatForce technology.

Otherwise, if you’ve got a vacuum cleaner, baking soda, and dish soap, this will be enough to whip up a home cleaning remedy to clean your carpet stairs. Here’s how:

  1. First, thoroughly vacuum the stairs to eliminate the surface level dirt and dust.
  2. Grab a bucket of warm water mixed with dish soap and a box of baking soda.
  3. Sprinkle any noticeable stains or stubborn patches with the baking soda, and then use an old toothbrush or similar to rub in the detergent mix. Be sure you don’t dump water or use excessive amounts of it. You don’t have to thoroughly wet the carpet; just use enough to get the detergent and baking soda to activate.
  4. Pat dry with clean towels or microfiber cloths.
  5. Finally, give the carpet stairs another vacuum.

If the baking soda isn’t doing much, you can try using white vinegar mixed in with the dish soap. Always be sure to test any mixture you create in an inconspicuous area in case of adverse reactions.

A carpet cleaner can help remove the slickness from particular carpets. It will penetrate deep into the carpet, breaking down various stains and helping with grip.

All you have to do is spray a small amount on the carpet and then use a clean rag or brush to spread the carpet cleaner around and get it activated.

2. Add Stair Protectors

Stair protectors are generally made from vinyl and can be added to carpeted stairs to increase the tread. The nature of stairs means their surface area is relatively high, so make sure you grab enough to cover your carpet stairs.

To lay stair protectors, you want to make sure the carpet is clean as most protectors are see-through, and you’ll be staring at trapped dirt every time you use the stairs.

Start from the top stair, lay the protector flat on the top surface, and wrap the edge of the protector around the edge of the step. The protector will hang down the front of the step and can be fastened with carpet tacks.

Some carpet protectors have teeth on the underside to grip the stairs rather than the need for carpet tacks.

3. Add Stair Runners

Stair runners can add much-needed extra-grip tread to your carpet staircase. On top of that, they can bring brighter colors and better visibility to the stair carpet.

Stair runners are a length of carpet narrower than the width of the stairs. They can be featured with a specially designed tread that can cover and replace the carpet on the stairs. This is great if the stairs are old and worn, losing most of their tread.

Westerly Stair Runners from Amazon measure 25 feet long and will be more than enough to fit most staircases. Installing a stair runner is probably best done by a professional, but it’s a possible DIY.

You need to measure out carpet pads and attach them using tacks or a nail gun. Secure the runner to the riser pad with adhesive and then use a knee kicker to flatten down the individual steps.

When looking for stair runners, make sure the carpet you buy is designed to be a stair runner. It needs to be flexible enough to follow the contours of the stairs; otherwise, it’ll create hazardous bumps.

4. Lay New Carpet

It’s the friction in carpet fibers that gives carpet grip. Over time, threads will be worn down through foot traffic and age.

If the carpet has gotten to the point of being threadbare, this will drastically reduce its grip.

Generally, you want to avoid high pile carpets for stairs if you end up replacing the carpet on your stairs. Synthetic fibers like nylon are reported as usually being slipperier than natural fibers such as wool.

Carpet is rated for different usages, and you’ll want to look for specific keywords when upgrading your carpet. Words like high traffic flooring and skid-resistant will be a hint that the carpet will work better on your stairs.

Characteristics such as yarn twists will also go a long way to telling you how durable a piece of carpet is. Yarn twist refers to how many times a yarn thread is twisted over a set area.

Solid and long-lasting carpets will tend to have quite tight yarn twists.

In terms of materials, wool and nylon are generally held to be the most durable fibers. There’s also the possibility of buying a blended carpet to get the best of both worlds. Synthetic fibers like nylon will be much easier to care for and require less cleaning, so it’s a great choice.

The carpet should be tight and taut against the stairs. If it’s bunching up and creating bumps, this means it’s throwing up a potential tripping hazard.

5. Install Stair Edging

The edges of carpet stairs will often be rounded and quite slippery. Stair edging can be attached via screws to add a solid stair edge, giving something to grip.

The M-D Building Products Stair Edging Strip will attach to almost any standard staircase. Made out of aluminum, this will provide a solid source of grip for carpet stairs and make the slipperiest part of the stairs one of the most non-slip areas.

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M-D Building Products 43311 M-D Fluted Stair Edging Transition Strip, 36 in L,...
  • Protects edge of stair steps
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Stair edging has the added benefit of making it easier to see individual steps. Plain carpets can often cause the steps at different levels to blend into each other. If you can’t tell where one step is, this can cause you to misjudge and slip on the steps.

Improving the lighting near the stairs can make it easier to distinguish one stair from another. One excellent option is sensor lights, such as the AMIR Motion Sensor Light. They can be placed along the base of the stairs and will light up as you come near.

6. Install a Handrail

Handrails are a great addition to make stairs less slippery. A handrail gives you an extra point of contact, and three points of contact are proven to help avoid falls.

Check up on your local building codes to determine the minimum and maximum measurements for a stair rail. You have to make sure any new handrails you add will be allowed, and if it’s up to code, that also tells you that the handrail will meet safety standards.

Do some measurements from the nosing of the top stair to the floor at the bottom of the carpet stairs and then add two feet for the total rail length.

Pine is one of the cheapest and most robust materials that are flexible and simple enough to make handrails. You’ll also need to grab some handrail brackets for wall mounting, with enough to cover every 30 inches or so of stairs.

Use a spirit level and ruler to mark out the areas for installing handrail brackets. Typically, handrails are set at 36 inches from the stairs after marking them out using tape, drilling pilot holes, and installing the brackets.

Final Thoughts

So that’s about everything there is to know about how to make carpet stairs less slippery. Follow these steps to make sure your carpet stairs are safe and non-slip.

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