How to Naturally Clean a Carpet Without a Steam Cleaner

Dry Carpet Cleaning DIY

Dry Carpet Cleaning / April 10, 2022

Wine, pasta, pet feces... our carpets have seen it all.

When faced with a stain, it's tempting to bust out the sponge and start scrubbing. But do yourself a favor and take an extra two minutes to plan your attack, as the right strategy could mean the difference between a clean carpet and a stain that lingers forever.

There are indeed different methods to best clean different types of stains (see below). But before getting to the nitty-gritty, a few universal rules apply for carpet cleaning.

1. Clean the stain ASAP.

2. Blot instead of scrub.

Before cleaning, absorb whatever goo or gunk you can with a cloth or sponge."The goal is to pull out as much liquid as possible, to reduce the size and spread of the stain, " Shabahang adds. After that, always use a dabbing motion instead of rigorously scrubbing.

3. Use as little product as possible.

This reduces both the drying time and the risk of staining your carpet. For most stains, it's ideal to use club soda or dish soap as a cleaning product. (See the guide below.)

After learning the basics of carpet stain removal, we wanted to see if DIY carpet-cleaning methods actually worked. So we made some stains and let them sit for 24 hours or more ('cuz let's face it, we do NOT always address our stains right away). We used Shabahang's recommended cleaning methods, unless otherwise noted. Here's how it went:


Expert says:Scrape off what you can. Mix one part soap and four parts water, and apply with a sponge. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Did it work? Completely! 10 out of 10 stars.

Tiara Chiaramonte


Expert says: Scrape off with a knife, then layer paper towels on top of the stain. Turn your iron on lowest heat, and iron the paper towels to lift the grease. Apply a mix of white vinegar, soap and lukewarm water, then rinse.

Did it work? Totally. 10 out of 10.

We’re basically your best friend… with better taste. Learn more


Expert says: Blot the stain, and rinse with club soda. If needed, brush the spot with soapy water and rinse.

Did it work? Better than we ever thought. 8 out of 10.


Expert says: Dip a rag in clear-colored acetone, and use it to blot the stain.

Did it work? Yes, but not enough. There was plenty of nail polish on the rag but a LOT left on the carpet when we were done. 3 out of 10.


Expert says: Remove what you can, then rinse with club soda. If needed, brush the spot with soapy water and rinse.

Did it work? Sort of. The stain improved, but not enough to pass as "clean." However we did let the poop sit for 24 hours, which is not a typical scenario. 6 out of 10.

Tiara Chiaramonte


Expert says: Dampen carpet, rub with dish soap, and pat dry. Dab lingering stains with three drops of dry-cleaning solvent.

Did it work? Dry-cleaning solvent is hard to find in grocery stores, so we used normal makeup remover instead. While it worked great, we can't verify that our carpet fibers weren't damaged from the remover. 10 out of 10 in the visual department.


Expert says: Wrap ice in a towel, and place it on the gum. Then scrape it off.

Did it work? Pretty well, considering we REALLY rubbed the gum into the carpet to make the stain. The stain was fresh when we cleaned it, but it didn't totally disappear. 7 out of 10.

Images by Tiara Chiaramonte.

Remove Stubborn Summer Stains

Barbecue Sauce

Our expert Chris Barnes found a simple two-step process for removing this tough stain. First, soak the garment in warm water with dish detergent. Then, pour some vinegar onto the stain and scrub it with a kitchen sponge. Finally, just launder as usual.