May 24, 2024

Freshen Up Carpets and Remove Stains Without a Carpet Cleaner

Do you have a dingy, dirty carpet left over from people wearing shoes in the house over the winter?  Don’t want to pay for a carpet cleaning service or purchase or rent a carpet cleaner? Need to freshen things up but aren’t sure where to start?

If you have smaller carpeted rooms in your home or a carpeted staircase that needs cleaning, this method will work for you. It won’t cost much to order these items, and it won’t take long to freshen your rugs.

Please keep in mind that this method should be tested carefully on a hidden patch of your rug before proceeding. Once you’re confident that the rug won’t stain from the treatment, you can proceed.

Carpet cleaning products to gather up or purchase

  • Vacuum
  • OxiClean powder
  • Windex
  • Baking soda
  • Handheld scrub brush
  • Cleaning rags and bucket
  • Box fans if you don’t already own them, one or two per room is good
  • Lemon, lavender or another favorite essential oil (optional)
  • White cotton socks, several pairs

Arm & Hammer 33200-84104 Baking Soda, 16 oz (Pack of 24)

Hanes womens Value, Crew Soft Moisture-wicking Socks, Available in 10 and 14-packs

DIY Carpet Cleaning Preliminaries

Choose a week to clean your carpets when it’s going to be sunny and warm. Mold grows in dark, damp places but sunlight deters mold and dries it up. So make sure you check the weather before proceeding.

NOTE: If your home has dry heat in the winter, you can also clean your carpets in winter. A combo of running fans and heat cranked up a bit higher than normal will help your carpet dry out quickly.

It’s more common, however, to clean your carpet in the late spring or summer, with the windows open and a few floor fans running.

At-home carpet cleaning process

Clear the floor as much as you possibly can. Move chairs and furniture, place items up on tables and out of the way.

Start by vacuuming your carpet including the corners. Use a small brush to dislodge dirt from cracks nooks and crannies, or attach the vacuum cleaner tools to reach those out of the way places.

Try to determine what type of material your carpet or rug is made of. Most carpets these days are nylon which is fairly easy to clean. You may have some cotton or wool rugs around, these require a different approach.

Test a patch of your carpet or rug using Windex and a brush and blotting cloth to clean it. If it stains or becomes discolored you may not want to use the Windex. But Windex generally does work for a standard nylon carpet without affecting the color.

If you have pets or if your rug is especially grungy, start with a baking soda treatment. Sprinkle the baking soda evenly over the entire rug. Walk all over it with your socks on, grinding it into the carpet with your feet as best you can. Use the scrub brush for stubborn areas.

Let the baking soda sit so that it can absorb to the carpet fibers for at least a half an hour, maybe longer.

Vacuum up the baking soda, again using the tool to get in the corners and cracks.

Next, you can choose between an OxyClean scrub of your carpet, and a Windex wipe-down. Choose the Windex for less dirty rugs. Choose the OxyClean if you’ve got quite a few stains, some discoloration, and pet smells.

Cleaning your carpet with Windex.

The Windex rug cleaning method is pretty simple. First, open your windows for some ventilation. Put on some thick cotton socks. Begin in a far corner of the room, spraying Windex over the rug, then rubbing it into the carpet fibers with your sock-covered feet. You’re basically going to be doing a kind of skate move over your rugs to scrub in the Windex.

Be sure to coat the rug evenly with a light spraying of Windex. You don’t have to saturate the rug; in fact, it’s better not to. As you cover more ground, your socks will become wetter and you won’t have to spray as much Windex. Go over those difficult spots a few extra times. Do this for the entire carpeted room.

Now change your socks to a dry, clean pair – again, white cotton is best. Rub your feet over the entire rug once again; the idea is to blot some of the excess Windex. When you’re done, wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water, then moisturize.

Windex is ammonia-based. If you’re sensitive to ammonia or prefer not to let an ammonia solution come into contact with your feet, you can use a scrub brush and a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands, instead.

Cleaning your carpet with OxyClean.

OxyClean is a powerful, all-purpose stain remover. It’s made with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, and some other cleaning agents. If you’ve ever used OxyClean on your car’s upholstery, you know what a good job it does with stain removal.

Start by adding about a cup of OxyClean powder to a bucket of hot water. Swish to mix. Let the OxyClean dissolve. Grab a scrub brush and start in a far corner. Dip the brush into the cleaning solution. Shake off excess water. Work the bristles of the brush into the carpet fibers.

Try not to saturate the carpet. You’ll want to get it just clean enough to smell fresh and look a bit brighter, as well as remove any stains. This requires just a small amount of the cleaner, so that it will dry fast.

When you’re finished scrubbing your rug fibers, put on a pair of white cotton socks and skate your feet over the rug to help it dry. If you’ve made it too wet in some parts, use cotton towels to blot.

How to dry your carpet after cleaning

To dry your carpet quickly, position two fans at the floor and run them on high to keep the air circulating. It shouldn’t take more than a day for your freshly cleaned carpets to dry in a well-heated room, or on a warm, sunny day with the windows open.

Don’t Ever Want to Risk Cleaning Your Own Carpet? This is a Job Best Handled by a Professional.

Bob Hunt of Hunt Interior Services in Milford, NJ does NOT endorse this information. Their company cleans carpets the right way, the professional way, and the non-risky way. They  use environmentally safe detergents  and green cleaning methods with all of their valued customers.

Schedule your home or office carpet cleaning with Bob this spring. Call 908-995-2290.  Or email

Learn more on their website at

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