How to Clean Carpet with Vinegar and Nothing Else

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Carpets increase the aesthetic value of your floor to a large extent but also get dirty pretty easily. An unclean carpet is not only unappealing but is also packed with dust mites, allergens and bacteria. While it’s always better to get carpets cleaned by professionals, you can also quite easily do it at home with very basic ingredients. Here, you’ll see how to clean the carpet with vinegar.

How To Clean Carpet With Vinegar

Vinegar is a readily available item in almost every household. Cleaning carpets with it not only makes it cheap but also easy and simple. Moreover, vinegar works excellently well in removing odors and loosening tough stains.

Initial Precautions

The following precautions should be taken before moving to the actual cleaning. These steps ensure using vinegar does not damage your carpet in any way.

Vinegar with knee pads

Step 1: Apply Vinegar On A Small Portion Of The Carpet

Sometimes, carpets are made up of material that the use of vinegar can damage. Ensure that the fabric of your carpet can withstand vinegar before applying it.

  1. If you are not sure about the material of your carpet, test it by applying vinegar in a small and concealed portion of the carpet.
  1. If the carpet gets decolorized in that small area, you should not use vinegar and use some alternative cleaning methods. You are good to go if nothing happens to the material in question.

Step 2: Scoop Up Solid Waste

Before applying vinegar, it is essential to ensure no solid and removable item is lying on the carpet. Applying vinegar to dirt and debris can make the carpet even more untidy.

  1. Scrape up any solid waste material that might be falling on the carpet. Ensure that the carpet is completely dry before you proceed to apply vinegar.
  1. Use blotting paper to soak up any amount of moisture that might be present inside the carpet.

Repeat the above processes till you are a hundred percent sure that the carpet is dry and free from the slightest amount of moisture.

Step 3: Use a Steam Cleaner

After completely drying up the carpet surface, you can now use a steam cleaner for cleaning.

If your steam cleaner cannot remove stain marks from the carpet’s surface, you can add some amount of vinegar and then again apply the steam cleaner.

Do not overuse vinegar as it can cause the smell to spread in the entire room.

How Long Should It Take To Clean Your Home?

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Step 4: Deodorize The Carpet

If you find the smell of vinegar excruciating, don’t worry, you can still use vinegar to clean a carpet.

Take a tablespoon of vinegar in two cups of lukewarm water, and then add a tablespoon of baking soda.

Pour this solution into a spraying bottle and apply it to the stains. The addition of vinegar helps remove the smell, while the vinegar helps to remove stains. 

Step 1: Vacuum The Carpet

Once you have taken the necessary steps mentioned above, you can proceed to the main cleaning of the carpet.

  1. After you have scraped up all visible solid waste particles from the surface of the carpet, some tiny particles of dirt may still be left behind.
  1. Use your vacuum cleaner to carefully all such small debris. Take the carpet outside and beat it several times to remove the dust.

Apply vacuum again and repeat the steps until you are sure that no amount of dirt remains on the carpet.

Vinegar and baking soda make a powerful cleaning combination

Step 2: Prepare The Vinegar Solution

After you have vacuumed the carpet perfectly, it is now time to apply vinegar.

However, before doing that, you need to prepare the solution with the perfect ratio of vinegar and water.

  1. Remember, preparing a very dilute solution will not clean the carpet to the extent you desire it to, while an over-concentrated solution can cause damage to the carpet.
  1. Take three to four cups of white vinegar in a bucket of warm water and add some dish soap into the buck. Stir the contents for some time so that the solution has a uniform density.

Let the solution stand for some time, and then stir it again. This stirring is essential to ensure nothing is settled at the bottom, leaving plain water on the top.

Step 3: Scrub The Carpet

After the solution is ready, you have to apply it to the carpet.

Do not apply it directly but use a sponge or a clean piece of microfiber cloth that can help you scrub the solution onto the surface.

You can also use a brush but make sure it is not shedding.

  1. Dip the piece of sponge in the bucket containing the solution and gently scrub the carpet’s surface. Make sure your scrubbing motion is in one direction and not to and fro.
  1. If your carpet is very big, it may take a lot of time. Be patient during the scrubbing process because going too fast can damage the fabric.

It is advisable to start from one edge of the carpet so that it is easier to maintain the uniformity of scrubbing motion required.

Step 4: Rinse The Carpet

Once you have finished scrubbing the carpet, it is time to rinse the carpet so that all the loose dirt particles can easily be removed.

  1. Rinsing is essential not only for removing stains and dirt but also because a larger stain may form on the carpet surface if the vinegar stays on it for very long.
  1. The best way to rinse it is by taking it outside and putting the carpet under running tap water. You might hang it on a rope and apply water with a hose pipe as well.
  1. It is advisable not to rinse it inside because all the vinegar solution will accumulate on the floor, and you will need to clean the floor again.
  1. Rinse the carpet with water till all the vinegar solution has been thoroughly washed out. If you don’t have an option and have to rinse the carpet inside, do not use running tap water.
  1. Instead, take a clean piece of cloth and dip it in clean water. With this piece of cloth, rub the surface of the carpet to remove the vinegar solution.

This process may seem a little time-consuming, but it’s worth it as you will be able to save your floor from getting messed up.

Step 5: Remove The Excess Water And Dry The Rug

Once you have thoroughly rinsed off the vinegar solution, you need to remove the excess water as well.

  1. If water remains on the surface of the carpet, it will begin to stink after some time. Also, the extra moisture content makes the carpet unnecessarily heavy.
  1. Press a squeegee against the carpet surface to suck the excess moisture. Then pull it in the direction of the fringes. Do this step patiently as it helps to keep the carpet in good condition.
  1. Once you have removed the excess moisture, you need to dry the carpet properly. The best way to dry your carpet is by keeping it under bright sunshine for a day.
  1. Sunshine helps to kill any bacterial growth and also dries the carpet completely. However, if that is not possible, keep the carpet under a fan and let it dry.
  1. After one face of the carpet has dried up, turn it upside down and let the other face dry as well. Do not use the carpet until both sides of it is completely dry.

This video on how to clean a carpet with vinegar will help you understand the process better.

Woman using vinegar to clean her carpet

An Additional Step

A carpet cleaner can be used after you have followed the steps mentioned above or even right at the beginning.

  1. Cleaning with vinegar requires patience and is also quite time-consuming. If you haven’t cleaned a carpet before and aren’t confident enough about the process, you can try a carpet cleaner.
  1. After the entire cleaning process, checks the surface of the carpet for any other dirt particles. Sometimes a strand of hair may remain stuck somewhere. Remove it carefully, and then your carpet is ready for use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Using Vinegar for Carpet Cleaning Safe?

Vinegar is a common kitchen product, and since it contains acetic acid, it is an effective cleaning agent and completely safe too. Most of the carpets are made of material that will not be affected by the mild acid. If you ensure that the concentration of the vinegar is in the right amount, you have no reasons to worry.

Is It Difficult to Clean a Carpet Using Vinegar?

The process involved in cleaning a carpet with is simple and similar to the process of cleaning laundry. Since carpets are made of coarser fabric and are heavier than normal clothes, you need to be more careful while cleaning them. However, if you are patient and gentle during the cleaning process, cleaning the carpet won’t be a problem. Take someone’s help to dry heavy carpets.

How Frequently Should Carpets Be Cleaned?

How often you should clean it depends on the amount of dirt a carpet accumulates. This again will depend on where it is placed and also the usage. If you have pets at home, they can dirty quite quickly. Usually, cleaning the carpet once in two months and regular vacuuming will keep it clean and in good condition.


Carpets are a beautiful addition to enhance the beauty of your floor. However, it requires cleaning to look good. Cleaning a carpet is an easy process. If you systematically carry on all the steps, your carpet will be as good as new after each clean and will remain good for a long time.

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.