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Bye-Bye Vacuum! Here’s How to Clean a Carpet Without One

Using a vacuum cleaner isn’t always possible. Plenty of people don’t own one, and they have a nasty habit of breaking down just when you need them. A vacuum cleaner can be expensive to run as they consume a lot of electricity, as well as being expensive to buy in the first place. Not everybody can fork out a few hundred bucks every 3 or 4 years for something they don’t necessarily need to use. We know how to clean carpet without a vacuum, don’t we? Surely we know how to deep clean carpet without steam cleaner and how to remove hair from carpet without vacuum.

We got on fine before they were invented, didn’t we?


Some parents are concerned about their house being overly clean. Too much cleanliness in a house is related to immune conditions and asthma in young children and the evidence base is growing that we need a bit of dirt and pet hair to keep ourselves healthy. This isn’t to say that we should be filthy, just that a vacuum cleaner might be slight overkill.

Sometimes it is too much effort or too difficult to dig out the vacuum, or the cord won’t stretch, or any number of reasons for not using the vacuum, so what can you do instead?

We’ve put together a quick guide to how to clean carpet without a vacuum for you so you can keep your carpets clean without that noisy, dusty and expensive tool getting in the way.

Why is Carpet Cleaning Necessary?

how to clean carpet without a vacuum: Why you need to clean your rugKeeping carpets clean is one of those things you’ve just got to do if you want your friends to keep coming round and for the social services not to look concernedly at your house.
Carpets are magnets for pet hair, sofa debris, the stuff from your car interior, crud you’ve brought in from the outside on your shoes, all sorts.
The concerning thing about a dirty carpet is that all that dirt is delicious food for parasites and creepie crawlies that eat it. These include dust mites, which can cause asthma attacks and even anaphylactic shock. They can certainly make your life miserable. So knowing how to clean carpet without a vacuum is a good idea, wouldn’t you say?

Dry Cleaning Method

how to clean carpet without a vacuum: Dry carpet cleaning methodThe quickest and easiest methods for cleaning carpets, dry cleaning doesn’t need a machine to get good results.

Carpet Sweeper

These are brushes specially designed to sweep carpets without pulling out too many of the hairs or causing that weird bobbling effect that a harder brush can make. They’re broad and quite soft and will get astounding quantities of dust and rubbish out of your carpets. It’s a quiet, cheap and easy way of keeping on top of your carpet cleaning.

Broom and Beat

Take the carpet, give it a really good sweeping, then take it outside, hang it on the washing line or rail and proceed to beat your carpet until the dust has come out. This is what they used to do and you can see why from the huge clouds of dust that are raised from the beating. Be careful if you or anyone living with you have allergies or sensitivities to dust, this is likely to set them off. It’s an environmentally friendly type of cleaning.

Brush the carpet clean

There are special carpet brushes you can buy that are developed so their hairs penetrate the weave of your carpet and bring up as much dust and rubbish as possible. It requires some elbow grease but it’s a very effective method that doesn’t make much noise or use any electricity.

Lint Rollers

There was a time when every self-respecting housewife had a lint roller, they’re an iconic bit of early to mid-20th century kit and the direct predecessor of the vacuum cleaner. Just roll one of these beauties over your carpet and it’ll take a surprising amount of the surface lint and muck up.

Shake it out

The less drastic version of the broom and beat, taking your carpet outside and giving it a good shake will get rid of a great deal of the dust and muck stuck in your carpets, all without touching a switch. Not great for hairs but it’ll get nearly everything else out. Don’t breathe in when you’re doing this.

Remove Pet Hair

Use scotch or masking tape (nothing too sticky!), put it over the hairy patch, press it on and peel it away. There go the hairs! You won’t need a pet hair vacuum anymore.

Wet Cleaning Method

how to clean carpet without a vacuum: Wet carpet cleaning methodFor a very deep clean, wet cleaning is the answer. Putting the soapy water down, letting it break down the dirt and then taking it up, leaving behind nothing but lovely clean carpet, it’s tried and tested and doesn’t need a vacuum. But how to deep clean carpet without steam cleaner?

Things You Need:

  1. A bucket – Any bucket will do, just make sure it’s large enough for the amount of floor you want to clean.
  2. A scrubbing brush– This should be one without too heavy bristles and preferably one designed for this task specifically. They can be found in hardware stores or online, but if you can’t get one that’s perfect for the job, a nail brush, kitchen scrubber or cleaning brush should do nicely. Just make sure it isn’t too bristly and will destroy the weave of your carpet.
  3. Liquid dish detergent or whatever natural cleaning agent you like– Just a few drops of detergent will do, you don’t need much in a few gallons of water. Just enough to get a few bubbles. Alternatives to liquid dish detergent include lemon juice (the juice of 1 lemon to 2 gallons of water), bicarbonate of soda (a cupful per 4 gallons) or white vinegar (just a touch). All those quantities are rough estimates, you’ll be able to tell how much you need by how well its working.
  4. Hot water– Your carpet will clean much better if you’ve got warm water to help the dirt break up. Not too hot or it could make the fibers malformed and give you a wonky carpet.


First of all, check the label on your carpet, it’ll tell you how best to treat it. The way you can clean your carpet depends on what it’s made from and getting it wrong can ruin or stain a carpet.

Next, take a look for any stains or marks that will need a bit more attention before you clean the whole carpet. It’s good to get these done before you go for the whole carpet as you could end up spreading whatever is staining your carpet all over the rest of it. Not what you want!

When dealing with spot cleaning, be sure to dab at the stain, not to rub. Rubbing spreads the stain, dabbing takes it up and away.

Cleaning the entire carpet requires your bucket of soapy water, a brush and a dry cloth. Add the water with the brush, give it a good scrub, then change your water for clean water with no soap, go back and use this water to scrub and remove any dirty soapy water. Then make sure you leave the carpet somewhere it can dry properly and you’re set.

Stain removal fluids can be bought in any supermarket and they do a good job. Make sure you wear gloves and follow the instructions very closely. These fluids are designed to break down dirt but if you leave them on a fabric, they will break down the pigments that give it colour and ruin it.

For really intense stains, nothing works quite as well as hydrogen peroxide. It’s nasty stuff, so use gloves and keep away from eyes and broken skin. Dab it on neat or in solution, depending on how tough the stain is, and quickly take it up. Hydrogen peroxide will bleach your carpet if you spill it or spread it around, so use it very sparingly and only where you absolutely need to. Check the labels before you use.

For alcohol stains (red wine and beer are particularly bad), use a solution of soda to dab the stain away. It can take some work but it’ll get there gently, not ruining your carpet.

Grease and fats will come up with just normal dish detergent in high concentration, just be patient with it.

Gum will come away with a knife but if you can find some way of freezing the gum, it’ll come off extremely easily. Easier said than done, but it is effective and doesn’t pull up the fibres of your carpet.

You Can Also Clean Without a Vacuum or Steam


Believe it or not, you can get a lot of the dust and grime out of your sofa without a machine. Take it outside on a dry day if you can and lightly beat it. You’ll see clouds of dust appear and be faintly horrified you sit on it. A gentle scrub with a little soapy water can get most of the dust out, just make sure it’s looking dry and sunny so it can dry out properly outside.

Keep on top of the dirt and dust in your sofa by regularly taking the covers off and washing them, and by brushing behind the cushions.

Car interior:

A brush, a cloth and some soapy water is all you need to keep your car interior looking brand new. Brush it down regularly, making sure you don’t brush any wet or greasy things into the fabric of the car interior. Then with a little soapy water, sponge the fabrics down, patting away the moisture with a dry cloth once you’re done.

Tips and Notes

how to clean carpet without a vacuum: Tips and notesCarpets are easily ruined by using the wrong technique or the wrong cleaning chemicals, so read the labels. Follow the labels, they’re there for a reason!
Be safe: some of the chemicals used to clean carpets are harmful to humans, so wear gloves and wash off anything that gets onto your skin.
Make sure your carpet dries out properly or it will stink!
Dab, don’t rub, and don’t scrub too hard.

Wrapping It Up

Whatever your reasons for not using a vacuum or a carpet cleaner , we hope you’ve found our little guide to how to clean carpet without a vacuum helpful and that your carpets will forever be clean and fragrant. Come back for more guides and advice!


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1 Comment

  • Warning: Undefined array key 180 in /www/wwwroot/ on line 402
    Paul Brown says:

    This is a very detailed and useful article, thanks for sharing so many tips. I struggle with carpet cleaning myself, and will definitely put these tips to practice. Could you also please advice me on some cleaning products, which could dry up my carpet quickly?

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The Soothing Air is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

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