How To Clean a Rug Without a Steam Cleaner: Tried and Tested Procedures

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Because they are very versatile when it comes to cleaning inside the house, steam cleaners are quite expensive.

This is also the reason why not a lot of households own one.

You can borrow it from a rental company for a fee, but you can also just look for other means to clean your rugs.

Why not get back to the basics of how to clean a rug without a steam cleaner?

Rugs and carpets have been around even before the first machines were invented.

Hence, you will find plenty of tried and tested procedures for keeping them clean.

How Do You Clean a Rug Without a Steam Cleaner?

Here are a few effective ways of cleaning a rug without a steam cleaner or any machines:


One way to clean a rug is to wash it manually, brush it gently with soap and water, and hang it out in the sun to drip and dry.

If it is too heavy, you don’t have to go at it alone.

Who says you can’t call a friend or anyone in your family?

Washing a rug with someone and carrying it out together to dry in the sun is an excellent way to make the chore a fun weekend exercise.

Rugs come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some, but not all, can be machine-washed.

Check the label to see if your rug can be cleaned without a steam cleaning machine

Check the labels for appropriate washing instructions for the type of rug that you have.

For your convenience, we have compiled step-by-step instructions in the following section for washing a rug and cleaning it without any steam cleaners.


The most common way of cleaning a rug to remove surface dust and dirt is brushing or sweeping.

A hand broom or a broad-headed brush with soft bristles and a long handle can do the trick.

Some brushes may have stiff bristles that can loosen the knots on woven rugs, so be careful about the type of brush you plan to use.


Combine brushing and sweeping with some vacuuming if you have a vacuum cleaner at home, but limit vacuuming to once every few weeks.

Too much vacuuming can ruin a beautifully knit or woven rug by suctioning its fibers and loosening its knots.

If your vacuum catches some fringed borders, turn it off immediately.

Doing so will stop the vacuum from pulling the warp threads, which are the rug’s foundation.

Once a part of the warp threads gets pulled into the vacuum, you may severely damage your carpet.


The oldest trick in the book for cleaning rugs is by beating them with a stick or broom handle.

If the rug is light enough to be hung on a clothesline, take it outside and start beating the dust and dirt out of it.

If it is too heavy to hang, ask someone to help you.

Otherwise, raise portions of the rug from the floor and start beating the raised portion downwards.

Notice how the dust and dirt collect on the floor.

After doing one side of the rug, flip it over, and start beating the other side.

You can repeat this process by flipping it several times until all the dust and dirt falls off from the rug.

How To Clean a Rug Without a Steam Cleaner: Step by Step Guide

Sometimes, you might accidentally spill some wine or any colored liquid that can leave stains on your rug.

When this happens, you don’t have to clean or wash the whole rug.

Concentrate on the area where the stains are, and continue with the following steps.

Additionally, odors stick to rugs all the time, and washing them is your only option.

If you want to add another machine to your arsenal, consider using air purifiers for odor elimination.

Step 1: Collect some tools and cleaning supplies.

To successfully remove freshly spilled food or liquid stains from a rug, here’s what you have to prepare:

  • Some rug soap or any mild detergent
  • A small bucket
  • A sponge
  • A brush with soft bristles
  • A clean, white piece of linen or cotton cloth
  • Some clean, warm water

Here are some optional items to add to this list:

  • A pair of cleaning gloves
  • A garden hose with access to a nearby tap
  • A wet and dry vacuum cleaner

Consider using protective cleaning gloves if you don’t want your hands to get dirty and wet or if you want to protect your skin against harsh detergents.

A garden hose connected to a water source can help you rinse the rug and get rid of the soap in no time.

If you don’t have a garden hose, prepare some extra buckets of rinsing water, or use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to get rid of the soap with less water.

tips on how to clean a rug without a steam cleaner

Step 2: Brush off all visible dirt and debris.

If you’ve spilled some food onto the rug, or if your pet unwittingly tracked some dirt on it, use a brush with soft bristles to gently scrape off all visible dirt and debris.

Be careful not to brush too far from the dirty area, as the brush will only spread the stains and make it worse.

If you have a vacuum cleaner, thoroughly suction the dirt and debris from the rug on both sides.

It is essential that you remove every last bit of dirt and debris.

Step 3: Prepare your cleaning mixture.

Every cleaning soap has a specific set of instructions for mixing. You can usually find them on the label of the container.

Follow the included instructions so that the mixture is not too harsh for the material of your rug.

If you use dish soap or laundry detergent, dilute them in water for easy rinsing.

Avoid using hot water for your mixture because it can ruin the color or shrink down carpet fibers.

Step 4: Test for color-fastness.

It may be your first time to wash a particular rug, and you don’t know whether washing can cause it to bleed out its colors.

Pick out a small portion of the rug, preferably one in its corners, for testing your cleaning solution.

Apply the solution using the soft-bristled brush in gentle strokes.

After several strokes, use a white piece of cloth to wipe the testing area.

If no color comes from the rug with every wipe and your white cloth stays clean, the dye used is colorfast.

This means you can proceed with the next step.

Otherwise, if the white piece of cloth absorbs some colors, stop what you’re doing and have your carpet professionally cleaned instead.

Step 5: Wash and rinse the rug.

Go ahead and use your mixture to wash the stained portion until you get rid of all the stains.

Continue with the gentle brush strokes when rinsing with warm water until all the soap is gone.

If you are outdoors, use the garden hose for a continuous rinse while brushing, but keep in mind that soaking the rug with water makes it heavier for you to hang and dry.

Do the same when washing and rinsing the whole rug.

Step 6: Hang and let it dry.

A good day to wash a whole rug is when the sun is up.

The sun not only dries your soaked rug but also disinfects it by killing off embedded microorganisms.

If you have a rug that can lose its vibrant colors under the sun, hang it under a shaded area with a steady breeze.

How Can I Clean My Rug at Home?

Sometimes, there can be rug stains that cannot be removed by simple washing with soap and water.

In such cases, you can use baking soda to remove tough stains from your rug.

Follow the same procedure for washing, and sprinkle some baking soda over the stained area while brushing with the cleaning solution.

Let the baking soda and soap dry so that the baking soda can absorb all of the stains.

Rinse the area only after it has completely dried.

Be careful when using this procedure, as not all rugs have colorfast dyes, remember to test first.


Learning how to clean a rug without a steam cleaner may sound like a lot of work, but you can turn it into a fun activity.

Machines like steam cleaners and vacuums make cleaning tasks a lot easier, but where is the challenge in that?

Share the experience with your kids and have a fun day outdoors by teaching them how to clean a rug without using any machines.

It can be a great bonding activity; plus, it gives you and your bunch some exercise.

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