How To Clean Car Carpet Without A Vacuum | 7 Easy Steps

Pick out all the visible debris with your hand before dusting off the floor mat. Spray the carpet with a cleaning solution, and scrub it thoroughly with a brush. Wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth and leave it open air dry.

If you have a car, you must already know that the carpets are easily the dirtiest part, possibly after the tires.  You could go to the carwash and get it cleaned, but that would cost more money than you might be willing to spend each time.

Vacuums are also a quick way to get rid of dust and mite from your car carpets, but they are quite expensive to rent. They increase electricity bills and require you to keep purchasing waste bags. Vacuum appliances also add to the clutter of tools in the house.

Whatever your reasons may be for not using a vacuum, there are multiple, equally-effective ways I use to deep clean my car carpets without one. Using the methods discussed in this article does not require any fancy equipment, just things you probably already have.

how to clean car carpet without vacuum

For General Cleaning Of A Car Carpet

Method 1. Use A Heavy-duty Tape

This is an effective means of cleaning out pet hair and other spot stains from your carpet. All you need is heavy-duty packaging tape and the following steps:

Step 1: Prep The Carpet

Pick up visible dirt and debris on the carpet and other litter like coins, packs, etc. Otherwise, you can give the carpet a little shake – anything to get out the chunky debris. 

Step 2: Place The Tape On The Carpet

Stick the tape to the carpet surface and apply pressure. Debris, hair, and dust will stick to the tape, and you can pull it off.

Step 3: Beat The Dirt Out And Repeat

After cleaning out the carpet’s surface with heavy-duty tape, you can beat out the carpet with a racket or stick. This should release hidden dust on the carpet. After doing this, repeat the steps above till your carpet is clean.

Method 2. Use A Soft Brush

Another efficient way to clean car carpets is to brush them with a soft brush, which is often readily available at home. For deep cleaning with a soft brush, here are the supplies you need:

  • A soft brush
  • Spray bottle
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Carpet cleaning solution or upholstery cleaner

Step 1: Prep The Carpet

Pick up large pieces of debris and dirt by hand across the car. Reach underneath the car seats for nylons, bottle caps, etc. Doing this will make your cleaning process easy, so you won’t have to scrub up debris into your brush.

Step 2: Dust Off The Floor Mat

Take floor mats out of the car and shake them up in the open to dislodge any more dust particles. You can wash them off with a scrubbing brush and warm soapy water for rubber mats. Rinse with clean water and air dry.

clean car carpet without a vacuum

Step 3: Spray The Carpet With A Cleaning Solution

Mix a cleaning solution or upholstery cleaner in warm water according to the manufacturer’s direction. Pour this solution into a spray bottle and spray to cover a whole section of the carpet. Leave to take effect for about 60-120 seconds.

Step 4: Scrub With A Brush

Once the solution has been on for a few minutes, scrub the carpet thoroughly with the brush until it is satisfactorily cleaned. Ensure to go over the same places multiple times to ensure effective cleaning. Also, watch out for crevices that might be hiding some dirt. 

Step 5: Wipe Carpet With A Microfiber Cloth

Once the area has been scrubbed effectively, wipe the carpet with a clean and dry microfiber cloth. Wiping with microfiber is both a drying process and a cleaning process. The microfiber cloth should pick up the dirt left behind on the carpet while drying it.

Step 6: Repeat The Process For Extreme Stains

It is okay if some parts of the carpet need more cleaning than others. Repeat the steps stated above and pay more attention to those spots for those parts.

Step 7: Allow The Carpet To Air Dry

After the carpet has been cleaned thoroughly with a microfiber cloth, open all the doors and leave to dry out. This should take just about two hours on a sunny day, but maybe longer at other times or seasons of the year. Leave to dry until the damp smell has dissipated.

Deep Cleaning Tough Stains From Car Carpet

pressure wash car carpet

If you are dealing with a more specific stain on your carpet, the general cleaning procedure may not suffice. Here are six ways to get the tough stains out of your car carpet:

Method 1. Use Baking Soda And Warm Water

Cleaning out stains can often be as simple as using the age-old baking soda recipe.

  • Mix about ¼ cup of baking soda in a container of warm water, making a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the spot of the carpet stain
  • Scrub the paste with a brush and leave it to sit for about 30 minutes.
  • Wipe it out with a clean fiber cloth.
  • Leave the car open to air dry.

For fresh spills, sprinkle the mixture over the spill, pat the excess liquid with a clean cloth, and leave overnight before drying.

Method 2. Use Stain Specific Products

You don’t always need special carpet cleaning products. Sometimes, cleaning products that are not made for cleaning carpets may be all you need. For instance, paint thinners work like magic when you’re dealing with grease stains. Glass cleaners can also be used for milk stains, coffee stains, and stains from other beverages. Using laundry starch is equally effective in cleaning out blood stains from the carpet.

How To Clean Grease Stains On Car Carpet

Rub paint thinner on the spot of the stain and pour salt over it. Leave in for a few hours, sweep up the mixture, and leave the car open to air dry.

clean stains on car carpet

How To Clean Beverage Stains On Car Carpet

A common glass cleaner like Windex can be used to clean out coffee or milk stains from your car’s carpet. Soak the spot with the solution and leave it to sit for a few minutes. Wipe away with a microfibre cloth and allow to dry properly

How To Clean Blood Stains On Car Carpet

Wiping blood stains from a car carpet can be done using laundry starch and cold water. After mixing them into a paste, pour it over the spot of the stain and let it sit. Leave the mixture to dry and mop it up with a clean microfiber cloth. You can repeat this process until the stain is completely gone.

Method 3. Use A Vinegar Solution

Vinegar and liquid soap are excellent cleaning agents for almost all types of stains, including on car carpets.

  • Mix white vinegar (1 cup) in hot water and add a little dishwashing soap.
  • Spray the solution onto the carpet and scrub with a sponge or brush
  • Scrubbing the carpet in a circular motion is more effective in getting the grime out of the carpet.
  • Once this has been satisfactorily done, dry out the carpet with a microfiber cloth and let it air dry.

Method 4. Combining Borax And Essential Oil To Clean Car Carpet

Borax can effectively clean out strong stains such as gasoline from your car carpets. When mixed with soap and other agents, it makes a good cleaning agent.

  • Create a mixture of borax (2 tablespoons), boiling water (2 cups), soap (3 tablespoons), and essential oil.
  • Spray this mixture on the rug’s surface and scrub with a brush in circular motions.
  • Once the scrubbing is adequately done, mop up with a microfiber cloth.
  • Leave to airdry appropriately.

Essential oil can act as a conditioner, giving the car a fresh smell once it is dry.

Method 5. Using Rubbing Alcohol And Oxi-Clean

Oxi-clean is used in getting odor out of washing machines and is also effective in cleaning car carpets.

  • Create a mixture of oxi-clean, rubbing alcohol, and dishwashing liquid in a bowl of hot water.
  • Add ammonia to the solution and spray it onto the carpet’s surface.
  • Scrub the carpet thoroughly and leave for a few minutes before cleaning it out with a microfiber cloth.
  • Leave the car open to dry appropriately.

Be careful to use a little ammonia to protect yourself from its pungent smell.

Method 6. Using Hydrogen Peroxide And Toothpaste

I advise that you use this as a last resort for stubborn stains because of the strong nature of hydrogen peroxide.

  • Mix hydrogen peroxide and toothpaste at a 50:50 ratio till it forms a paste.
  • Dab over the stain with this mixture and leave it for a few minutes.
  • Once the mixture has set in, brush thoroughly with a brush and dab up the excess foam with a clean towel.
  • Leave the car open to air dry. This should get rid of the caked-in strong stains.

Things To Note

  • Apply the cleaning solution in small areas at a time. Avoid spraying the entire car.
  • Avoid spraying too much of the solution on the carpet as it would take longer to dry and cause the car to smell. Soaking the carpet may also affect the metal underneath it.

FAQs On How To Clean Car Carpet Without A Vacuum

Does Manually Cleaning My Car Carpet Take Time?

No, it doesn’t. Deep cleaning your car without a vacuum should, on average, take no more than an hour. This also depends on how dirty the car is. It may take more if it is your first time, but it gets better.

How Often Should I Deep Clean My Car?

This depends on the use of the car and your availability. Deep cleaning can be done once a month for private car owners but should be done weekly for commercial car owners like cab drivers, etc.

Will Vinegar Affect The Color Of My Carpet?

Using vinegar will not affect the color of the carpets. Only solutions like alcohol can cause the color to fade slightly.

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