How to Clean Your Carpets Without a Steam Cleaner

Gather your tools

  • ⬥ old toothbrush
  • ⬥ carpet brush or rake, stiff 
  • ⬥ clean rags or towels (white is best to prevent the transfer of dye to your carpet)
  • ⬥ bucket
  • ⬥ spray bottle

Note: use carpet brushes for low-pile carpet and carpet rakes for shag-style or carpet with a longer nap


Begin by giving your carpets a good, thorough vacuum. Then, get on your hands and knees and use a carpet brush to loosen up built-in dust, soil, and pollutants. 

Thoroughly vacuum again to get the particles your brush stirred up to clean your carpets.


Treat common stains with one or more of the following:

Club soda – to remove wine stains or blood

Put a small amount on the stain, then use a paper towel or dry cloth to blot up the stain. Rub the fibers gently rather than scrubbing them to prevent the stain from spreading.

Liquid soap (e.g. Castile) – grime

Mix a few drops of liquid soap with warm water. Use with a cloth or paper towel, gently scrubbing until the stain disappears.

Use a dry towel to soak up excess water and make the area as dry as possible.

Ink stains – rubbing alcohol

Pour a small amount of the rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth. Next, gently blot the stain which should start to transfer to the cloth. Change to a fresh spot on the towel and repeat the process until the stain has been entirely lifted.

Then, dip a towel in lukewarm water and dab the area you’ve just cleaned to remove any alcohol residue.

Carpet cleaning recipes

You can opt for commercially made carpet cleaners, or make your own recipe using items you’ve probably got around the house.

Natural carpet cleaning recipes

  • ⬥ Mix together ¼ cup white vinegar with warm water in a bucket. Test in an area before using it on your carpet.
  • ⬥ Mix together 1 Tbsp dish soap to 1 quart of warm water. Add ¼ tsp of white vinegar and mix well. (works well as a general cleaner)

Baking soda cleaner

Generously sprinkle baking soda across your carpet.

Use a spray bottle filled with hot water on the baking soda and let it sit for a minimum of 3 hours. Once the area is dry, vacuum up the soda which has absorbed dirt and odors in the carpet.

Other ingredients that work to remove dirt, germs, and odor include:

  • ⬥ dish soap mixed with water
  • ⬥ table salt (rock salt, kosher salt, etc.)
  • ⬥ diatomaceous earth

Note about diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth can help to remove odors in carpets but choose only food-grade quality DE.

Also, take care not to inhale the dust from the DE as it can potentially cause respiratory problems.


Fill the bucket with the natural solution of your choice. Dip your scrub brush into it then start to scrub the carpet with your brush.

Get the carpet just a little wet, but don’t saturate it.

After you’re finished scrubbing the carpet (or once your water gets dirty) empty the bucket and rinse it out. Fill it with warm water and use a damp rag over the carpet to pick up any residue.

Or if you have more area to clean, just refill the bucket with more of the cleaning solution and repeat the scrubbing process.

Let the carpet dry completely. Use a floor fan to speed up the drying time if needed.


While you’re cleaning a large portion of your carpet save your back and take some time to clean your baseboards too. To clean your carpets keep in mind the texture of the carpet. Berber carpets are durable but may need a gentler touch.