How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home – Simple Instructions

With this article you will learn how to dry clean a carpet at home - from preparing your own cleaning solutions to using unexpected tricks
Last updatedLast updated: March 08, 2022
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It is cumbersome to clean a dirty carpet at home if it is thick and heavy. Such a carpet requires deep cleaning with shampoo or steam and while the latter helps to remove pests, it takes a long time to dry and a wet carpet provides a thriving ground for mold and mildew. You can clean a carpet at home if it is moderately dirty. The process is simple, fast and it will save you money.

In this article, we are going to provide a step-by-step guide on how to dry clean carpet at home with methods that require minimal or no moisture. One DIY cleaning method which offers a safe and natural solution involves the use of vinegar and baking soda. Another affordable option you can use is encapsulation which requires little moisture. You could also use a dry compound or snow to effectively clean your carpet at home.

Before Cleaning

How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home - Simple Instructions

It is important to vacuum your carpet before applying a dry cleaning product to remove pet hair, loose dirt and debris. The best vacuum for pet hair will remove loose particles to allow the carpet dry cleaner to settle into the fibers later and dislodge embedded debris. Vacuuming the carpet before you dry clean it also saves money by reducing the amount of cleaner required for thorough cleaning.

You will also need to gather the ingredients needed to dry clean your carpet. This includes a broom or brush with soft bristles to spread the mixture evenly.

Tools and Solutions

It is important to have the tools you will need ready to dry clean a rug at home to save time. Some tools such as encapsulant, dry compound and stain pretreatment spray will depend on the method you use to dry clean a carpet. However, tools like a soft-bristled brush or broom and a vacuum cleaner are applicable in all dry cleaning carpeting methods.

How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home without Vacuum

You will be surprised to learn that there is dry cleaning carpeting that does not require a vacuum to yield great results.

Baking soda and vinegar

How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home - Simple Instructions

If you are wondering how to dry clean a rug at home affordable, consider baking soda and vinegar which are natural and inexpensive ingredients. Baking soda is a deodorizer that absorbs grease and odor, and vinegar is an acetic acid disinfectant that dissolves grease and dirt and can also kill bacteria.

The first step is to blot up the grease with a cloth rag or a white paper towel that will not transfer color to your carpet. Avoid rubbing the stains to prevent them from spreading further.

Next, sprinkle a generous amount of dry baking soda on top of the stains to cover them and to absorb oil and grease. Some people prefer applying vinegar first and then adding baking soda.

Use white vinegar that will not discolor your carpet. Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar gradually to the dry baking soda. You will notice it fizzle into a paste.

Apply more vinegar, allowing for a few seconds, until there is no more baking soda. Use your fingers or a soft-bristled brush to gently spread and scrub the paste and then leave it overnight to dry completely.

Once the paste has solidified and dried, remove it using broom or dry towel.

You could also vacuum this paste if you have the proper device. It is important to choose the right vacuum to avoid damaging the carpet. For instance, you can find the best vacuums for shag carpets that are specifically designed to clean the soft and luxurious fibers.

To reduce stains, spot clean them by scraping with a soft-bristled brush or by blotting them with a paper towel as soon as you notice them.

Dry Cleaning Carpeting and Rugs with Vacuum

In this section, we will discuss various ways of how to dry clean a rug or carpet at home with vacuum.

Using encapsulant

How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home - Simple Instructions

Encapsulation is similar to shampooing but it uses an acrylic polymer which is crystallized to remove grease and dirt from the carpet.

Start by vacuuming the whole carpet to remove dirt and loose debris, paying special attention to the stained spots and the areas that are often used. This prevents the debris from embedding into the carpet.

Dilute the encapsulating solution with hot water, using the proper ratio that is recommended by the manufacturer to prevent damaging the carpet. Pour the mixture in a pump sprayer. Although an encapsulant is a liquid cleaner, it is a dry cleaning method that uses little moisture to remove stubborn stains. You can purchase encapsulating solutions online or in general stores.

The next step is to spray the encapsulant on the carpet to slightly wet it. Hold the nozzle near the carpet, approximately 6 inches away, and spray sparing and evenly starting from one side of the carpet to the other. Apply more of the mixture on dirty and stained areas and then blot up to avoid soaking the carpet with the mixture.

Leave the encapsulant mixture on the carpet to work for about 15 minutes so it can loosen grime and stains. Do not step on the carpet during this period. Some people use a fan to make the carpet dry faster. After 15 minutes, rub the mixture into the entire carpet using a scrub brush or a groom with a long handle and soft bristles to bring stubborn dirt to the surface and vacuum it later.

Remove the remaining dirt with a vacuum. The result is a lighter and clean carpet. If that is not the case, consider using a more powerful vacuum or adding more encapsulant for thorough dry cleaning carpeting. Alternatively, you can get Capture Carpet & Rug Dry Cleaner, a carpet cleaner that provides great value for money and one you can use safely on all types of carpets including code S fabric and wool. The dry carpet cleaning solution is available in 4-pound and 8-pound sizes, and the smaller size cleans up to 400 square feet.

Using dry cleaning compound

How to Dry Clean Carpet at Home - Simple Instructions

Choose a dry cleaning compound that is easy to use.

Vacuum the carpet to remove dust and other particles trapped among the fibers.

To easily remove tough stains, spray a stain pretreatment product by misting it lightly on the carpet to soften grime and dirt before applying the dry cleaning compound. Stain pretreatment is available in spray bottles with triggers that you press while pointing them to the carpet to apply the product. You can buy it online along with a dry cleaning compound. Some pretreatment spray dry cleaning kits are available with a brush and sifter.

Check the prescribed amount of the compound. Scoop the compound with a cup or kitchen sifter and then sprinkle it over the carpet gradually to dust the powder evenly. Sprinkle more powder on the soiled spots and deep stains and use a scrub brush with soft bristles to scrub along the surface of the carpet in a back and forth movement. Be gentle to avoid tear and wear. You can also scrub with an upholstery brush or with a carpet brush that comes with a threaded handle that allows you to scrub while standing for greater comfort.

Leave the compound for the recommended period so it can absorb all the lodged dirt and grime. You can use a thistle brush to squeeze the compound deeper into the carpet. Allow time for it to dry completely to prevent proliferation of bacteria and fungi Trusted Source Environmental Services | Background | Environmental Guidelines | Guidelines Library | Infection Control Background information in the Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008) www.cdc.gov , and then vacuum up the carpet thoroughly to remove the dry cleaning compound. You might need to repeat the process multiple times for heavy carpets or difficult stains.

The above are the step-by-step instructions on how to dry clean a rug at home using a dry compound.

Using snow

Handwoven, high pile and vintage rugs need extra caution because they are too delicate to be cleaned conventionally or with a standard vacuum.
However, you can find the best vacuum for high pile carpet that will remove the dirt and allergens hiding in the high fibers. These products are available in different types, sizes and designs to match your needs and personal preferences.

In addition to your high pile rug, you will need dry powder snow and a broom for this method on how to dry clean carpet at home without vacuum.

Roll up the rug to avoid spreading dirt in your house and then unroll it outside on a cold day.

Shake it off to remove loose dirt and debris and leave it outside for 30 minutes to a few hours so it can adjust to the temperature.

Place the rug upside down on 3 to 5 inches of snow so the snow can trap all the dirt and dust that will fall out.

Use the flat side of the broom to spread the dry snow evenly on the whole exposed surface of the rug while it is upside down. The little ammonia present in the snow reacts with cold air to solidify grime and dirt and make it fall out. Once you have beaten the snow several times, let it freeze on the rug for approximately 15 minutes and then brush it off before flipping over the carpet so it lays right-side up. As you flip it, you will notice the dirt deposits on the snow so make sure you move and place the rug on a clean patch of snow.

Pat the snow several times on this side of the carpet to remove dirt and debris and let it sit for 15 minutes.

You will know your carpet is clean when you pat it and no longer see any dirt on the snow. Shake off the excess snow and hang the carpet for 30 minutes to an hour in a place where it can dry after the snow sublimates. Due to the cold weather, the snow will transform into vapor without moistening the carpet.

Roll up the dry carpet and take it indoors.

Carpets retain allergens at different rates owing to their construction and cleaning regime Trusted Source Influence of wear, pile height, and cleaning method on removal of mite allergen from carpet Carpet is a major sink for house dust mite allergen. Vacuum extraction methods have been shown to reduce concentrations of such allergen in dust, but the influence of carpet construction and cleaning parameters on the efficiency of extraction is poorly understood. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov . This is why we recommend choosing the right vacuum cleaner for the type of carpet you have since some are fluffier and more delicate than others.

Homemade dry carpet cleaner

This simple recipe is popular in guides on how to dry clean a rug at home. It uses the odor-absorbing baking soda and borax and cornstarch which are effective against dirt and stains. Cloves are used for scent, and you can substitute them with dried bay leaves or cinnamon for a pleasant aroma.

Ingredients:

1 cup of baking soda

1 cup of cornstarch

1 cup of borax

1 tablespoon of cloves

Vacuum the carpet to get rid of loose dirt.

Mix all the ingredients in a food processor and then place the resultant powdered mixture in a spice jar or a can with a shaker.

Sprinkle a generous mixture of the ingredients over the carpet and use a brush with soft bristles to spread the powder uniformly across the surface and within the fibers for better coverage. Wait for a few hours to allow the mixture to settle into the fibers and then rub the surface of the carpet gently with a brush.

Vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove the DIY dry carpet cleaner.

You can also use this mixture to spot clean your carpet. Blot the wet stain on the carpet and add the dry mixture for up to 10 minutes to absorb the moisture and to prevent the stains from setting within the fibers. The removal of moisture will also prevent mold and mildew.

This is a simple and inexpensive dry cleaning carpeting formula that you can make at home and it also absorbs odor to create a fresh atmosphere. Baking soda odor-absorbing properties also make it a common ingredient in manufactured products such as Arm & Hammer Pet Fresh Formula Dry Carpet Cleaner which has high ratings for its fresh scent as well as its effectiveness in eliminating allergens, stains and pet odor.

Final Thoughts

We have provided several dry cleaning carpeting solutions that will remove dirt, debris and allergens in your home. These are affordable and safe methods that require little or no moisture so your carpet does not take a long period to dry. Some methods use ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar which are readily available at home and some use the free snow in your backyard. We have also included a DIY formula of how to clean carpet at home that will also add a nice fragrance of cinnamon, cloves or bay leaves. You will also find the best vacuums recommended for specific types of carpets to reduce tear and wear. Remember to vacuum before you dry clean a rug at home to ease and speed up the process.

References

1.
Environmental Services | Background | Environmental Guidelines | Guidelines Library | Infection Control
Background information in the Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008)
2.
Influence of wear, pile height, and cleaning method on removal of mite allergen from carpet
Carpet is a major sink for house dust mite allergen. Vacuum extraction methods have been shown to reduce concentrations of such allergen in dust, but the influence of carpet construction and cleaning parameters on the efficiency of extraction is poorly understood.
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