If you have carpets in your house, then they’re probably constantly bombarded will all kinds of stains and dirt. So, to maintain a clean domestic environment, it’s always a good idea to learn how to clean carpets without a machine. Keeping in mind that there isn’t a single best way to clean a carpet, we have gathered the best carpet cleaning tips and tricks to help you in your day to day battle with dirt.

Table of Contents:

So, if you:

  • Want to learn how to clean your carpet properly;
  • Are interested in how to get rid of specific stains;
  • Are looking for maintenance tips,

Then read on! This article is here to help.

How to vacuum carpets right

To achieve the best results in your weekly cleaning ritual, it’s always good to have some order in the way you take care of your carpets. To make sure you’re vacuuming carpets properly, follow the steps below and enjoy a clean home.

Dust surfaces first

The best way to start is to dust all the furniture, blinds, window frames, baseboards, and any other places where dust usually builds up. All the fallen residue will be vacuumed up after.

Prepare the room in advance

Go around the rooms and pick up any objects which might get in the way of the vacuum cleaner. This includes mainly the toys of kids and pets, shoes, and small decorative items. Don’t forget to look under the sofa, or any other piece of furniture to make sure you don’t miss anything.

Use the proper vacuum hose attachments

When vacuuming carpets, you will need different vacuum attachments, depending on the area you’re working on. For example, the edges of the carpets and baseboards are the ones collecting the most dust and they are the places you should start from. You can use a nozzle attachment for them and a cranny extension if there is any furniture you need to reach under to remove accumulated dust.

If you have carpeted stairs, keep in mind that they are not suitable for an upright vacuum, due to their size. Even if you choose to go with a larger head, it would just be too difficult. The way to go is to use a stair hose attachment, or just the hose itself, without extensions. The smaller the add-on is, the easier it would be for you to reach all those hard corners, or between the railing posts, if you have any.

Vacuum carpets at the right height

In order to provide the best airflow and suction, you will have to adjust the height of your vacuum head according to your carpets. Check with the vacuum manufacturer, or look up the exact type of carpet to see which adjustment is the right one for you.

Take your time and do slow turns

When you start vacuuming carpets, it is important to ignore all basic human instincts to try and do everything as quick as possible. Good cleaning takes time. Let your machine suck up all the dirt that has been piled up. Always do a second round and slightly overlap the different sections whilst cleaning, just to be sure that you have covered the area properly.

Vacuum your carpet frequently

Different households require different frequency in cleaning. If you live alone, surely you wouldn’t need as much maintenance as someone who has a family, with kids or pets. But there is a minimum. Once a week is the least you can do to make sure you have a clean home.

If the traffic is high and especially when pets are present, vacuuming carpets should be done around two to three times a week. It’s very important to get rid of the many allergens, such as dust and pet hair, and to prevent the build-up of dirt, making the carpet easier to clean.

How to remove stains from a carpet properly

Keeping your carpet stain free needs to be a priority if you want to prolong its life. And here are the most important rules you need to follow if you want to enjoy your rug for years to come.

Treat stains immediately after they occur

The number one rule in cleaning carpet stains, no matter the origin, is to take immediate action when a spill occurs (unless it is a mud stain which should be tackled once the mud has dried). Don’t let a stain dry on your carpet because it will be a lot harder to remove afterwards. When a liquid is spilt, blot it carefully, don’t rub it on the carpet.

The following technique works for the most common spills. Here is how to get rid of carpet stains:

  1. Absorb.
    Absorb the spill with a clean cloth or dry paper towel.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda.
    After you have absorbed as much as possible, spread baking soda over the spot.
  3. Let it sit.
    Let the baking soda stay on for around 15 minutes.
  4. Vacuum.
    Vacuum the baking soda off the spot.

If the spilt liquid is wine, or another colourful one, before pouring the baking soda, add a bit of club soda and follow the steps above.

Test your cleaning solution

Whenever you’re cleaning your carpet, you want to make sure that you won’t damage the fibres or the dye in the process. That’s why regardless if you are using a homemade cleaning solution or a chemical stain remover, always test it out on a small, inconspicuous area.

Does your carpet hold on to its colour even when exposed to heat, moisture, light, and stronger cleaning products? If the answer is yes, then your carpet has been dyed with a colourfast dye.

Performing this test will help you determine what you can use to safely remove stains from the carpet.

Go to the area you have chosen for this experiment and apply a small amount of the solution you intend on using. Wait for a few seconds and while the spill is still fresh, take a clean cloth or a white towel and press it to the spot for a bit. If the carpet dye has transferred to the cloth, then this solution is not the right one for your rug. If the towel is clean, then the professional or homemade detergent is safe to use on any other part of your carpet.

If it’s your first time using a certain solution, always do a test first and don’t trust the experience of other people.

Blot instead of rubbing the spill

We are often tempted to rub the stain as hard as possible in the hope that this is the fastest way to remove it. Unfortunately, rubbing a stain into the carpet will not only prolong the time you will spend removing it but will also make the task a lot harder than it could have been.

The smart way to remove carpet stains is to blot the affected area, barely touching the carpet, rinsing with clean water, and after that blotting again. Don’t scrub the spot if you don’t want to damage the carpet fibres or permanently soak the stain into the fabric.

For very fresh stains, only seconds old, the best thing you can do is to blot them with a cold, slightly damp cloth, until the stains are gone. Again, no rubbing or using hot water.

How to clean a carpet naturally

If you are one of the many people who want to know how to clean a carpet naturally, worry not, because the solutions to most stains are hidden right in your kitchen cupboards.

You have probably heard many times that tonic and soda water are good at removing coffee stains or that salt is perfect against dirt and for soaking up fresh stains.

Baking soda, on the other hand, is a number one helper in absorbing unpleasant smells, stuck in the fibres of your carpet. All of the above is true, but they are not the only natural remedies with secret superpowers.

  • For sticky stains like gum or wax, you need to harden the spot by using an ice cube, or a plastic bag filled with ice, before scrubbing the stain off.
  • For smelly stains, make a solution of vinegar and lukewarm water, apply it to the stained area and leave it for a couple of seconds. After that, rinse with clean water.
  • For blood stains, the best course of action is to work with either cold water or hydrogen peroxide. Using warm liquids will only set the stain. If the blood spot is already dry gently blot it with a hydrogen peroxide dipped cloth and continue with an enzyme-based detergent. Check out our dedicated post on how to get blood out of carpets.
  • For pet urine stains, similar to blood, it’s best to use an enzyme-based cleaner. Try not to experiment with other solutions, as they might not be as effective. Still, if you don’t have a choice and the stain is still fresh, try blotting it with an ammonia solution. After that follow up with a simple carpet detergent and warm water. If the stain is already set in the carpet, try to lift with a 1/3 solution of water and vinegar. Finish up with a detergent and water.

We’ve dedicated several posts on dealing with different carpet stains. See how you can remove them here:

How to clean a smelly carpet

As we mentioned earlier, baking soda is one of the best ways to take care of nasty carpet odours. It works by neutralizing them.

To treat those smelly stains, create a thin layer of baking soda in each spot, so if you have more places waiting for treatment, prepare a lot of soda. Spread it evenly on the area, with your hand or a spatula if necessary. The baking soda coat needs to stay overnight, so make sure that no one steps on the spot by accident. The day after, just vacuum it up.

Bad smell does not only come from spills and dirt. Sometimes, it can appear even after a deep carpet clean or if the rug is newly purchased. If the latter is your case, take a look at our special post on how to reduce the smell of a new rug.

How to deep clean your carpet without a machine

Good cleaning does not always include a steam cleaner or any other carpet machine. So, learning how to clean a carpet at home by yourself is not an impossible task, and will give satisfying results.

The following method can be performed with either baking soda or dish soap. The steps are the same, you only change the main product. If you wish, you can also use a product made for steam cleaners.

You will need: an old toothbrush, a clean cloth or a towel, warm water.

So, here is how to clean a carpet with baking soda:

  1. Vacuum.
    Vacuum the chosen area thoroughly by following the instructions at the beginning of the article.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda.
    If you have decided to use baking soda, pour a generous amount of it to completely cover the stain.

If you chose to go with dish soap, the amount you apply depends on the size of the stain. A single tablespoon is good for around 6-8 inches.

  1. Scrub.
    Dip a soft toothbrush in warm, soapy water and carefully scrub the stain until it’s gone.
  2. Be careful not to wet the rug too much.
    Make sure that during the cleaning, your carpet is not soaking wet, just slightly damp in the treated area, enough to get rid of the stain.
  3. Dry.
    Open as many windows as possible or turn on a fan/air conditioning, to help the carpet dry out faster.
  4. Vacuum.
    When it’s no longer damp, vacuum the residue.

To learn more about the different cleaning methods, including professional and DIY, read our post on the best cleaning method for your carpet.

How to disinfect your carpet naturally

Disinfection of the carpet is just as important as keeping it clean, especially if you have kids and/or pets, who use it as a playing ground, a bed and a table all at once. It’s a fast way to get rid of outside bacteria and allergens, while giving your carpet a fresh look and smell. Doing it does not require much time and it’s a good alternative if you do not have the time for an actual deep clean.

So, here is how to freshen carpets:

Take a spray bottle and fill it with a mixture of vinegar and water – equal parts. Spray this solution on your carpet and you are ready to go. It’s also recommended to use this method after a good clean as it will help keep the results for a longer time.

The frequency of usage depends on how much traffic you have in the specific carpet area, but once a week or fortnightly is usually more than enough.

Remember that this is not a cleaning method, and if there are any stains or piled up dirt, spraying with this mixture won’t get rid of them. This is simply used to freshen up your carpet.

How to dry your carpet after cleaning

Making sure that the carpet is completely dry is just as important as the cleaning. A damp carpet can very often be the new home of many kinds of fungi, bacteria and mould. So leave all the windows and doors open to ensure strong air circulation.

The drying time shouldn’t be more than 24 hours. However, if you are washing a sheepskin rug, know that it requires longer drying time.

If leaving the windows open is not possible, then leave the door open and set your air conditioner to moderate. Basically, anything along the lines of fans, blowers, dehumidifiers, air movers, and carpet dryers can help you speed up the drying process of your carpet.

So, how long does a carpet take to dry?

It usually takes from 6 to 12 hours, depending on what you are using as a tool. Whatever it is, no walking on the carpet or moving the furniture is allowed whatsoever.

If you have some sort of protectors on the feet of your heavier furniture, you can remove them only after the carpet has fully dried.

How to maintain a carpet

Getting rid of singular stains or having a deep clean every once in a while is not enough to keep your carpet clean and looking new. The little things you do every day are just as important and now we will tell you exactly what they are.

Keep your carpet away from potential stain-makers

If you want to avoid the long process of stain and dirt removal, the easiest thing you can do is to be careful and thoughtful. Don’t keep rugs or carpets in places where spills occur, like the kitchen, and try to keep eating and drinking in carpeted areas to a minimum. You will make regular carpet cleaning a lot easier and it will save you a lot of problems in the future.

Remove your shoes before walking on your carpet

Maybe it will take a bit more effort, but consider having a special place to take your shoes off before you enter the main parts of your home. The best one will be just after the door. We’re sure that you don’t want to bring all the outside dirt and bacteria into your lovely home.

Install a doormat to keep dirt out

Doormats can be placed either inside or outside of the main entrance. By being able to wipe your feet before entering you will reduce the amount of outside dirt and bacteria and prevent them from spreading around the house. The bigger the doormat is, the better.

Fit furniture protectors to prevent dents

If you tend to move your furniture a lot, you have to be aware that it may affect your carpet fibres. You can avoid the damage by fitting castor protectors or felt pads to the feet of the large and small furniture in your house.

If your carpet reaches areas with a lot of traffic, such as the corridor to the front door or the kitchen, consider protecting those areas by placing plastic carpet protector mats or throw rugs. This extra layer will not only protect the actual carpet but will also make cleaning a lot easier when you can pick up the mat and throw all the dirt outside.

In addition, plastic carpet mats are also see-through, so by using them, you are just protecting your carpet, not adding another piece of carpeting that may interrupt the design of your room. If you have furniture marks on your textile floor covering, check out our post on how to get dents out of carpets to see how you can fluff your rug.

Potty-train your pets to avoid “accidents”

If you have a pet, you have to do your best in training them not to use your carpet as a toilet. If they use a litter box, place it in a non-carpeted place like the bathroom, or anywhere else as long as it’s easy to clean, like tile or laminate. If you have no choice but putting it in a carpeted area, place a rubber mat below.

Make a cleaning schedule and stick to it

The rule of a thumb is to vacuum twice a week, and have your carpets deep cleaned once per year. However, different households have different needs. For more detailed information, read our post on how often to deep clean your carpet.

I don’t have that much time. Are there any other cleaning options?

It’s okay if you don’t have the time to clean the carpet by yourself. Alternatively, you can buy or rent a carpet cleaning machine, but by doing so there is still the issue with time – you will still have to invest some of yours.

The most time-efficient way to clean your carpets is to have them professionally cleaned. Fantastic Services offers two carpet cleaning solutions – hot water extraction and dry cleaning.

Hot water extraction, also falsely called steam cleaning, is suitable for synthetic and woollen materials, while dry cleaning is suggested for more delicate items made of seagrass, jute, and sisal.

Most carpet manufacturers recommend to deep clean your carpet at least once per year and more frequently if you have children or pets at home.

Find out more about our carpet cleaning options, rates and ways to book your service today!



  • Cleaning your carpets yourself can help you remove surface dirt and dust.
  • Using rented cleaning machines often leaves the carpet damp, which can lead to mildew issues.
  • The most effective solution is to have your carpet professionally cleaned.
  • When vacuuming, make sure to take your time, use the right attachments and vacuum at the correct height.
  • For easier removal, treat stains as soon as they occur.
  • Always test your chosen cleaning method on an inconspicuous area first.
  • Maintaining your carpet regularly can help make it easier to clean.


We hope you found our article on how to clean a carpet helpful and please, do share your experience with similar situations in the comment section below.

No matter the cleaning method, remember to always do a small spot test on a hidden part of your carpet. Depending on the size, nature, and age of the stain, some of them might be impossible to remove. We cannot take responsibility if any of the above-mentioned methods do not work on your carpets. Read our disclaimer here.

  • Last update: August 21, 2020

Posted in Carpet Cleaning Tips

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