Prep the Room
Start by vacuuming the middle open area of the room to be cleaned, even if the carpet cleaning machine has an extractor. The reason is simple. You want to remove dry soils rather than mud.
Next, move furniture onto the vacuumed section of the carpet in the center of the room. There is no need to empty the room of furniture. Now, vacuum the perimeter of the room.
Tight bedrooms present a separate challenge. If the carpet cleaning machine can fit into the room and around the bed, then consider only cleaning the exposed carpet. If the entire carpet needs to be cleaned, dismantle and remove the bed. Vacuum the center of the room, move furniture into the center; then vacuum the perimeter.
Pre-Treat Spots and High Traffic Areas
Pre-treat spots and high traffic areas. Use an all-purpose spot remover for unknown spots. When the source of a spot is known, such as gum or pet accidents, purchase an appropriate remover from a home improvement store. To keep spots from spreading, work from the outside edge toward the middle of the stain.
This process will be repeated after furniture is moved to its original place. Do not pre-treat an area if furniture will be placed onto the carpet.
Cleaning the Carpet and Moving Furniture
Clean the outer perimeter of the room as per the equipment manufacturer's directions. Replace furniture to its original position with carpet protectors to keep the furniture from sitting on wet carpet. These furniture pads protect both the furniture and the carpet. Some furniture stains will seep out of the wood and into carpeting. Likewise, metal furniture may rust, also leaving a stain on the carpet. Do not place cardboard boxes or stacks of paper on a wet carpet either, as they will soak up the moisture.
If furniture pads are not available, cut pieces of aluminum foil to place between the furniture and the carpet. Aluminum will not rust, creates a moisture barrier and is easier to work with than plastic wrap.
Once furniture is back in its place, continue cleaning the center are of the carpet, starting with the pre-treatment step.