December 9, 2022

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Nobody likes cleaning carpet. Well, if you do, you’re kind of special. You’ll love this piece. If you don’t, you’re well and truly in the majority. Mind you, the effect at the end can be so transformational it’s almost worth the hassle and expense it took to get it looking like that. 

Hang on though. Carpet cleaning doesn’t actually have to cost that much. There are several tried and tested super-cheap methods you can use which will leave your carpet looking like it’s had the VIP treatment, whatever style of carpet you’ve got. If you’re wondering how to clean a carpet without emptying your pockets, you’ve come to the right place.

So, what makes carpet cleaning expensive?

Put simply, machinery. You can hire a carpet cleaner and it’ll turn up looking like something from The Terminator – big, wire-strewn and ready for some pretty full-on action. 

It costs a packet to hire and to run. That’s right – those babies wolf down the volts like nobody’s business and you’ll be left with a great looking carpet but an entirely empty purse. 

So, you need to ditch the machines and get manual. OK, you’re allowed a vacuum cleaner. That’s it though. 

So, how do you clean a carpet by yourself? Read on and see. 

Top tips for machine-less cleaning

There are some points we should make before we start with the sponging and towelling. 

  1. These things take time

One of the reasons machines boss the scene is that they take a lot of the time out of a task. So, if you’re doing it yourself, be on the safe side and don’t make any appointments for the afternoon. Or the evening. Just in case. 

  1. Such a little thing makes such a big difference

With any of the following cleaning solutions, make sure you follow the golden rule: spot check it first. Take a bit of the carpet that’s not too visible, like a bit beneath a chair under an old snoozy dog that never moves, and dab a little drop of the stuff on there. Give it a light rubbing then dry off with a paper towel. Then leave to dry. 

Has it left a mark? If not, you’re good to proceed. If it has, you might need to try another solution. Or get lots more old dogs. 

  1. Aerate!

Fling those windows open so that the carpet dries more quickly and normal flooring service can be resumed. 

  1. Think it through

Don’t start with the area around the doorway. You’ll end up walking back and forth over the bits you’ve just cleaned, before they’ve had a chance to dry. 

So, what are we using?

The cheapest way to clean your carpet is to use the household items you’ve already got in your cupboards. Some of the best cleaning ingredients to be had are waiting patiently in your pantry, to be found and unleashed on down-at-heel carpets. 

We’ll start with what is the best thing to clean your carpet with.

Baking powder

This stuff’s miraculous. And so easy to use. The most straightforward way to apply it is to sprinkle it all over your carpet, wait for a short time, then hoover up.  It’s all you have to do. Bake and vac: it puts the freshness back. 

If your carpet’s needing a little more than a quick sprinkle action, then you’re going to need to use a stiff brush to rub in the baking powder. What’s more, you’ll need to use a little warm water and dab it in using a soft brush where there are stains that need shifting. Leave to dry, then hoover and smile. You’ve got yourself a nice looking carpet once again. 

One final tip with baking powder. If your carpet’s shrugging off your efforts, try applying baking powder then a dilute mist of vinegar. It’ll set up a fizzingly exciting chain reaction (cheap kids’ entertainment!), which will get to work on any stubborn dirt. Leave to dry then vacuum clean. 


Mix one cup white vinegar (red wine vinegar is not advised!) with two cups of water. Put in spray bottle. Then apply generously to the whole carpet. Leave to dry, then vacuum clean. 

Two tips with using vinegar. Firstly, not everyone likes the smell of vinegar. Or they don’t mind it, but think it an unsuitable carpet aroma. To combat the signature whiff, try adding a few drops of essential oil to the spray. Secondly, for even better cleaning power, add a little salt to your solution. The grains help fight stains. 


Oh yeah, Borax. Sacha Baron Cohen. Brilliant. No, not him. It’s a white powdery substance that’s been used in cleaning for years. Chemistry boffins will tell you it’s sodium borate. All you need to know is that it can be fab for getting rid of carpet stains. 

Combine with equal parts salt and vinegar into a paste which you can apply with gloves to any stained areas. Leave the pasted area to dry, whereupon you can vacuum clean.


Yes, you read that right. Snow is an amazing tool for DIY carpet cleaning. It’s best to use it on carpet that you can move outside, so a rug rather than a broadloom carpet is your best bet. If you’re lucky enough to live where snow falls, when the place goes Narnia, get your rug out and lay it face down in the snow. 

Apply pressure to the back of the rug so that the fibres really get a good contact with the white stuff. Then leave it for 30 minutes or so. Give it a good old shake. Then leave in the sun to dry. Your rug will be much much cleaner. 

How come? It’s the ammonia in snow that picks up the dirt and gives the fibres a good cleansing. Snow joke.

Naturally the best

For more information on carpets and cheap carpet cleaning, contact the experts. They’ll make sure you’re using the right gear for the job. 

Most of the foregoing techniques benefit not just your pocket. They also benefit the carpet, being gentle and non-abrasive methods of restoring it to its former glory. Most even benefit the planet, being super-green. Whatever colour your carpet is.