How to Clean Car Carpet Without a Machine in 5 Easy Steps

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how to clean car carpet without a machine

Regular car cleaning is necessary but doesn’t have to be costly. Some maintenance work, like carpet cleaning, you can do yourself, instead of having a detailer do it. You don’t even need any machine or cleaning product that detailers use.

You’ve probably been searching how to clean car carpet without a machine. It’s not that hard. Although you may have to manually do some sweeping and scrubbing, it’s not so laborious.

On the plus side, it costs little to nothing, as you can pair your manual labor with the use of a DIY car carpet cleaner made from household items.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial


You don’t have to worry if you don’t have a machine to clean your car carpets. The items listed below can help you achieve clean carpets even without a machine.

1. Broom and Dustpan

A broom and dustpan can substitute a vacuum cleaner when you are going to clean carpet without a machine. Although requiring manual labor, these tools would work just as well as a vacuum cleaner for initially getting rid of dirt and grime accumulated on car carpets.

2. Car Carpet Cleaner Solution

You can make use of a commercial carpet cleaner solution. But if you don’t wanna go out of your way to drive to an auto shop to buy one and would rather not spend money, you can create a homemade car carpet cleaner.

There are different recipes for homemade cleaners, and each can cater to different cleaning needs. So, just choose a recipe or recipes according to your requirements and whatever ingredients you have available.

For spot cleaning tough stains and getting rid of unpleasant odors, a baking soda and warm water solution would work well. If there are caked stains on your carpet, you can use hydrogen peroxide and toothpaste. Grease stains can be removed by paint thinner and salt or cornmeal.

On coffee stains, you can use a glass cleaner. And for bloodstains, laundry starch and cold water would do the trick.

For cleaning the carpets entirely, you can use white vinegar, dish soap, and hot water to leave them stain and odor-free. A solution made of Borax, boiling water, grated soap, and essential oil also works. Both solutions work well, but with the latter solution, you also get an added fragrance and conditioning for your carpets.

3. Nylon Brush or Toothbrush

You can use either of these for spot cleaning prominent and tough stains. When cleaning each of the carpets entirely, you can use the nylon brush.

4. Rag

A rag would come in handy for wiping away the spot cleaners and stains.

5. Spray Bottle

A spray bottle would be used for applying your chosen solution to the carpets when you’re going to wash them.

6. Towels

Towels would be used for blotting away moisture from the carpets after washing them.

Step by Step Instructions


No matter what type of stains you have on your car carpets, you’ll always start by removing the carpets and getting rid of the debris and dirt. But the steps afterwards would depend on what type of stains you need to spot clean and what method you choose for washing.

Just find the steps for the particular stains you have to spot clean and choose a washing method and carefully follow them.

1. Remove the Car Carpets

The right way to start would be to remove the car carpets first. This would allow you to clean much easier, as there wouldn’t be anything getting in the way. This would also prevent the dirt and stains from spreading to other areas, which would be additional work and make the process harder.

When removing a carpet, you should do it carefully, rolling it up to prevent any dirt from the carpet from falling on your car’s interior, then lifting it out. But for the non-removable carpet, you have no choice but to clean it inside. Just make sure it gets completely dried after cleaning.

2. Sweep the Car Carpets


Usually, the next step for cleaning car carpets would be to vacuum them. But since you don’t have a vacuum, you can use a broom and dustpan to sweep out the dirt and debris from the carpets.

3. Prepare Your Carpet Cleaner Solution

This step would depend on what cleaner you would use. If you’re using a commercial car carpet cleaner, prepare and use it according to the product instructions. Some come ready to use, while others have to be diluted first.

If you’re going DIY with your solution, you’re gonna need to combine a couple of ingredients. Below are how you can create spot cleaners depending on what stains are on your carpets, as well as two options for a general carpet cleaner you can choose from.

For Spot Cleaning:

  • Tough stains and odors: combine ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. This will turn out as a runny fizzy paste.
  • Caked stains: create a paste mixture of equal parts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and regular foaming toothpaste.
  • Grease stains: a little amount of paint thinner and some salt or cornmeal
  • Coffee stains: glass cleaner
  • Bloodstains: create a paste mixture using only a bit of laundry starch and cold water.

For Cleaning the Carpets Entirely

  • Method 1: Combine one cup of white vinegar, a bit of dish soap, and one gallon of hot water. This can be tweaked according to your cleaning needs.
  • Method 2: Combine two tablespoons of Borax, two cups of boiling water, three tablespoons of grated soap, and one tablespoon of your chosen essential oil.

4. Spot Clean Prominent Stains

You can get different kinds of stains on your car carpets. Find the DIY spot cleaning process for whatever stain you have on your carpets below:

  • Tough Stains and Odors

Apply the baking soda and warm water paste mixture to the stained areas. Then scrub the stained areas with a nylon brush. You would let the paste sit on the stained areas for 30 minutes and afterwards, wipe it off along with the stains using a rag.

  • Caked Stains

Dab the hydrogen peroxide and toothpaste mixture on the caked stains. Let the paste sit on the stains for a few minutes then scrub the stains away. After scrubbing, wipe off the moisture with a rag.

  • Grease Stains

Over the areas with grease stains, rub a little amount of paint thinner and cover the areas with some salt or cornmeal. Let them sit on the stained areas for a few hours to lift away the grease. After letting them work on the grease stains, sweep off the mixture.

  • Coffee Stains

Getting rid of coffee stains is as easy as simply soaking the stains with a glass cleaner. Leave the cleaner on the stained areas for a few minutes, then wipe the cleaner and stains away.

  • Blood Stains

Apply the laundry starch and cold water paste over the bloodstains and let it sit until it dries. Once it’s finally dry, sweep it off the carpets. Redo the process until there are no longer any bloodstains.

5. Wash the Car Carpets With a Cleaner


Cleaning the entire car carpet without a machine can be done with two DIY options. You can go with the simple but effective method of using vinegar, dish soap, and hot water or the second method that uses Borax, soap, and essential oil.

The only difference in these methods is the ingredients used for the solution; the same steps are applied in the cleaning process, which are as written below:

Spray the solution on the carpets. Then scrub the carpets in a circular motion. This technique works best for getting rid of grime.

After scrubbing, blot the moisture from the carpets with some towels. If there is still moisture, let the carpets air dry.

Do not expose the carpets to direct sunlight but place them in a windy area instead to allow quick drying without discoloration. As for the non-removable carpets, you can leave the car doors open to let them air dry.

If you find that there are still stains on the carpets, repeat the cleaning process until they’re completely clean.


No need to buy, rent a machine or hire a dealer to get your car carpets cleaned. You can DIY car carpet cleaning.

All you’ll need are some things you can just grab from your cabinets at home. Apart from being cheap, cleaning carpets by yourself only involves simple steps. Some DIY cleaners will even do all the work for you once applied.

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