How to Clean Carpet

From pet stains to spilled juice, here's how you can clean your carpet without calling in a professional.

Young blond woman cleaning a carpet in front of a gray sofa

Young blond woman cleaning a carpet in front of a gray sofa

Young blond woman cleaning a carpet in front of a gray sofa with a rag at home

Photo by: Ljupco Smokovski

Ljupco Smokovski

Wall-to-wall carpet is a popular option for flooring, but spills and day-to-day foot traffic can make it look dingy. Knowing how to clean carpet will help it look good and last longer. Routine maintenance is the first step to a clean carpet. Vacuuming regularly is key. Experts recommend vacuuming two or three times a week to remove daily dirt and debris. Part of your regular maintenance will include removing stains that happen from day to day, when the kids spill grape juice or the dog throws up on the berber carpet. You can use a store-bought stain remover or make your own from ingredients in your kitchen. Here how to clean carpet stains, by type.

Oils (grease, crayon, makeup)

Scrape off as much of the stain as you can. Use a towel or cloth to put rubbing alcohol on the soiled area. Blot with a clean towel. For a deep stain, you may need to repeat the process a couple of times.


Here’s how to get rust stains out of carpet. Put lemon juice on the rust stain. Sprinkle with cream of tartar. Rub in the solution and let it sit 15 to 30 minutes or until the rust is gone. Blot the area with a towel or cloth soaked in clean water. Don’t scrub or you may spread the rust stain. Dry the area with a towel.

Organic (blood, berries, fruit juice)

Pour a capful or two of hydrogen peroxide directly on the stain. Use the 3-percent solution available at drugstores. Let sit for 5 minutes, then dab with a soft cloth or sponge dipped in clean water. Use a towel to dry the area.


Let the mud dry. Break it up into small pieces and vacuum. Mix a few drops of liquid dish soap with warm water and put on the soiled area. Dab with a sponge or soft cloth. Use a towel to dry the area.

Pet urine

If you have a cat or dog, you have to know how to get pet stains out of carpet. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup warm water and put in a spray bottle. Spray on soiled area. Let sit for 5 minutes, then blot with a clean cloth. For extra cleaning power, sprinkle baking soda on the stain and then clean with the water/vinegar mixture.

Ketchup and other acidic materials

Mix 1 tablespoon of ammonia with 1 cup of warm water and put in a spray bottle. Spritz cleaning solution on stain. Blot excess liquid out of carpet with a clean towel. Repeat until stain is gone. As a backup: Clean with hydrogen peroxide. (See above.)

At least once a year, you’ll need to deep clean your carpet. Renting a steam-cleaning machine that puts hot, soapy water on the carpet and then extracts it thoroughly is the best way to clean carpet.

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