By: Elizabeth Tran

November 23, 2021

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How To Shampoo Your Carpet In 6 Steps (Without A Machine)

As grueling and time-consuming carpet cleaning may seem, there’s no evading it. When we first think of this chore, what comes to mind probably involves an advanced machine with multiple features. Or hire a professional to do the job on your behalf.

However, multi-functional vacuum cleaners are a costly alternative and may require regular maintenance and repairs. Getting rugs cleaned at specialized cleaners is also hefty. As a result, many people tend to neglect washing their carpets when they weigh up all the costs involved.

Luckily, there is a third, cost-effective way to shampoo your carpets without a machine. Below is an overview of the process that comprises six simple steps. Keep reading and get your carpets sparkling clean with the help of only a few tools and supplies.

Essential Equipment

Before explaining the procedure, let us check a few cleaning agents you may use to get the wanted effect. First, we’ll consider a couple of natural products.

Baking Soda

This super ingredient works magic around the house and is particularly efficient for carpet spillages and cleaning. In case of a stain, consider spreading a spoonful of baking soda on it and allow it to sit. An hour afterward, the soda will absorb the spill.

More so, baking soda can come in handy for entire carpets as it cleans and gives them a fresh smell at the same time. Later on, we will discuss the process in more detail, but you would typically spread the soda all over the carpet.

White Vinegar

As a cleaning agent, vinegar requires time and experience to achieve the projected goal. In most cases, vinegar works for small-size rugs and stained areas rather than for large carpets. It is also not advisable to scrub too much when using vinegar for cleaning.

Many people use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to disinfect carpets regularly. You can use this solution as a spray to get rid of bacteria and allergens. Note that the acidic smell may remain in the room for a while after spraying.

Specialized Carpet Shampoos

If you want to skip natural cleaning agents altogether, you’ll find a myriad of carpet shampoos available in stores. It’s up to you to decide which one you’ll use to clean your carpets without a machine.

It’s worthwhile mentioning that commercial carpet shampoos require intensive labor when scrubbing by hand. As a result, this method may not work for high pile carpets. For maximum effect, we suggest you stick with mass-produced cleaning products for low pile carpets only.

Whatever cleaning agent you select, you will also need warm water, a bucket, and a bristle brush at hand. Ensure you also have towels to absorb the excess water after the cleaning.

Now, as you are familiar with the essential prerequisites, let’s explain the six steps to clean your carpet without a machine.

Step 1: Pick The Debris

Before you start cleaning, it’s essential to pick up any remains or trash on the carpets. For instance, you can clear out any visible dirt, hairs, and dust. As a result, you will speed up the process and won’t have to take breaks to collect debris discovered while shampooing.

Since we agreed to skip machines to the greatest extent possible, reaching out for the vacuum cleaner is a no-go. Hence, you may consider using an old-fashioned broom or a roller brush as an alternative.

Step 2: Make The Cleaning Mixture

Depending on the cleaning agent you opt for, you will need to prepare the solution. With store-bought cleaners, things are more straightforward. Use a portion you believe is enough, or check the guidelines for use. Yet, avoid using too much shampoo since rinsing it off can be arduous.

For those who decide to go the natural way, a 1:2 mixture of vinegar and water would be an ideal non-toxic replacement. Sprinkling baking soda is another safe alternative to clean carpets if you have toddlers and pets around the house.

Step 3: Focus On Prominent Stains

Before you do the overall cleaning, removing stubborn stains first would be a thoughtful strategy. Depending on the stain type, you may need to use a different combination of ingredients. Here are a few DIY spot cleaning hacks for the most common smears on carpets.

Grease Stains

Get some paint thinner and apply a thin coat over the grease stains. Next, sprinkle cornmeal or salt over the initial layer and let it sit for several hours. Greasy spots are the most challenging and take the longest to remove. Once the grease vanishes, sweep the mixture off with a towel.

Tough Stains

Prepare warm water and baking soda paste and apply it to problematic areas. Scrub the mixture into the stains using a nylon brush for better absorption. Allow the paste to work for about half an hour, and wipe it off with a rag.


Cleaning bloodstains may require repeating the process a few times until they are no longer visible. Use hydrogen peroxide to moisten the spot and leave it for an hour before you wipe it clean. Or mix dishwashing detergent and two cups of cold water to achieve the same effect.

Coffee Stains

For coffee smears, the perfect approach would be to soak them with a glass cleaning agent. Let the cleaner sit on the affected area for a while and then wipe it away. A combination of liquid dish soap, white vinegar, and warm water can also help.

Step 4: Use A Bristle Brush

Dip the brush into the mixture and soak it as needed to wet the carpet. Moist patches will enable you to scrub faster and eliminate dirt more efficiently. As for unremoved stains, try pouring a bit more water to allow you to rub intensely.

The essential aspect you must pay attention to is the saturation level. The shampoo solution should only dampen the area you’re cleaning. To this end, start brushing from one side and then move on to the other corners.

Step 5: Use Towels To Rub

Get a bucket and pour some water free of any cleaners. Use clean towels in the process. Ensure you squeeze off any excess water to prevent saturating the carpet. Go patch by patch and rub only areas where you previously used the bristle brush.

Using wet towels will help you rinse carpet patches mechanically. Often, you will have to repeat this segment a few times to remove any shampoo remains from the carpet.

Step 6: Dry The Carpet

When you finish rinsing, get ready for the finale or the drying part. Again, you will need some dry cloths to eliminate excess water. Extracting the wetness from the carpet is vital as it can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria and mold.

Rub the rags into the carpet by pressing as hard as you can. Repeat the procedure until you can no longer soak the towels. The outcome you’re striving to get upon touch is light dampness.

At this phase, avoid overstepping the carpet. Wet materials are more prone to absorbing dirt than dry ones. Hence, take extra precautions to steer clear of the treated areas. A wise strategy would be to shampoo carpets in the evening and allow them to dry overnight.

Extra Tips

A good rule of thumb is to remove stains and smears once they appear. This way, even if you’re not vacuum cleaning, the carpet will remain fresh and spotless. Here are a few other hacks to bear in mind when shampooing carpets without a machine:

  • Clean on days when you can ventilate the place and enable faster drying;
  • Move furniture and items resting on the carpet before you start cleaning;
  • Work in small-scale sections. Start in one corner and proceed toward doors or thresholds to avoid walking over cleaned areas.
  • Switch on the air conditioning or a fan to speed the drying segment. Direct the blowing towards the wet rugs and carpets if possible.

Bottom Line

Shampooing carpets without a machine is a viable feat. You only need a few tools and the will to dedicate several hours. Yet, some factors can slow down the process, such as the cleaning agent and how you handle it.

Following this step-by-step guide will help you clean any stains from carpets and keep them dirt-free. Hopefully, our suggestions will bring your attempts to have an inexpensive cleaning experience to fruition.

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