How to Clean a Carpet by Hand

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Broom

  • Vacuum cleaner

  • Bucket

  • White vinegar

  • Mild bleach-free dish soap

  • Soft bristle brush

  • Sponge

  • Wet/dry vacuum

  • Baking soda


Harsh chemicals may cause permanent damage or fading to your carpet and should be avoided.

Be careful not to over-saturate the carpet as this can lead to mildew problems later.

Cleaning carpets by hand may take a little longer, but the results are more than worth it.

It’s inevitable that your carpet won’t stay perfectly clean forever. Kids and pets along with those who forget to clean off their shoes track dirt inside your home that may initially go unnoticed. When enough dirt gets onto your carpet it becomes noticeable and hard to hide. Without renting a carpet cleaner and relying on technology to clean things up there’s a more cost-effective way. With a few things you may already have in your home waiting to be put to good use, your carpets can look like new once again.


Step 1

Move all furniture on your carpet to another room to get it out of the way. This process isn’t a quick one so be sure that you put the furniture in a place where you won’t trip over it.

Step 2

Sweep the carpet with a broom to loosen dirt particles that may have become trapped within the fibers. You don’t have to sweep into a pile, but merely sweep over the entire carpet to loosen things up.

Step 3

Vacuum the carpet after you have swept to pick up all the loose dirt, debris and pet hair.


Step 4

Fill a bucket with equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Mix in enough of a bleach-free mild dish soap to make the water sudsy. This should only take a couple of drops.

Step 5

Dip a clean sponge or soft bristle brush into the solution and gently scrub the carpet with it. Work in small sections of carpet to turn a large area into small manageable areas.

Step 6

Vacuum over the carpet with a wet/dry vacuum to pick up excess moisture and suds.

Step 7

Rinse the carpet by dipping a clean brush in warm water and scrubbing the carpet a second time.


Step 8

Open windows and doors and place fans nearby to help air circulate around the room and dry the carpet quickly.

Step 9

Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the carpet when the carpet is only slightly damp. The baking soda will help to draw out moisture and absorb lingering odors.

Step 10

Vacuum up the baking soda in the morning.



Melynda Sorrels

Melynda Sorrels spent 10 years in the military working in different capacities of the medical field, including dental assisting, health services administration, decontamination and urgent medical care. Awarded the National Guardsman’s Medal for Lifesaving efforts in 2002, Sorrels was also a nominee for a Red Cross Award and a certified EMT-B for four years.