How to Clean Car Carpet (Step-by-Step Instructions)

Regular car cleaning is essential, but it does not have to be expensive. You can undertake certain maintenance work yourself, such as carpet cleaning, rather than hiring a detailer. You don’t even need any machine or cleaning product that detailers use.

You’ve most likely looked into how to clean automobile carpets without a machine. It’s not that difficult. 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.

Preparation for cleaning 

You do not need to be concerned if you do not have a machine to clean your automobile carpets. Even if you don’t have a machine, the products mentioned below can help you get clean carpets.

1. Dustpan and Broom

When cleaning a carpet without a machine, a broom and dustpan can be used in place of a vacuum cleaner. Although they require physical labor, these gadgets would perform just as effectively as a vacuum cleaner to remove dirt and grime from automobile carpets.

2. Carpet Cleaner for Cars

A professional carpet cleaning solution can be used. If you don’t want to go out of your way to travel to an auto shop to get one and don’t want to spend money, you may make your own vehicle carpet cleaner.

There are several homemade cleaner recipes available, each of which may meet a variety of cleaning requirements. So, simply select a recipe or recipes based on your needs and the ingredients you have on hand.

Baking soda and warm water mix would be effective for removing difficult stains and bad smells. You may use hydrogen peroxide and toothpaste to remove caked stains from your carpet. Grease stains can be removed using paint thinner and salt or cornmeal.

A glass cleaner can be used to remove coffee stains. And for bloodstains, laundry powder and cold water would do the thing.

To completely clean the carpets, use white vinegar, dish soap, and hot water to remove any stains and odors. A solution comprised of Borax, hot water, grated soap, and essential oil also works. Both methods work well, but the latter provides additional aroma and conditioning for your carpets.

3. Toothbrush or Nylon Brush

You can use either of them to remove stubborn and visible stains. You may use the nylon brush to thoroughly clean each carpet.

4. Rag

A cloth would be useful for removing the spot cleaners and stains.

5. Spray Bottle

When you’re ready to wash the carpets, use a spray bottle to apply your selected solution.

6. Towels Towels would be used to wipe moisture from the carpets after they had been washed.

Instructions for cleaning step by step

Regardless of the sort of stain on your automobile carpets, you’ll always start by removing the carpets and eliminating the debris and filth. However, the subsequent procedures will be determined by the type of stains to be spot cleaned and the washing technique used.

Just locate the methods for the exact stains you have to spot clean and pick a washing technique and carefully follow them.

 Step 1: Organizing the Mess

Cleaning a messy place may be difficult, especially in a compact space like a vehicle. Begin by cleaning up any rubbish on the floor and in the cup holders. Taking out little stuff like coins, toys, and the like will also make cleaning simpler.

Using a car organizer is a wonderful method to maintain your automobile well-organized. There are several options available based on the size you want. Some are designed to be draped over the seats and feature many pockets of varying sizes.

Newer automobile models may feature compartments designed specifically for organizations. These are commonly found in family vehicles.

 Step 2: Removing the Mats

Remove and set aside any floor mats in your vehicle. We’ll fix these up later. However, you may prepare the mats by shaking them vigorously to dislodge dirt and dust.

This stage is dependent on the cleaning you use. If you’re using a commercial automobile carpet cleaner, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. Some are ready to use, while others must first be diluted.

Below are ways you may develop spot cleaners based on what stains are on your carpets.

Car Carpet Cleaning
Car Carpet Cleaning

For Dirt and Mud

Set dirt and mud are often easy to remove and do not require any special treatments. Fill a gallon bucket halfway with boiling water. After that, add one cup of white vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. Vinegar acid is good for cutting through grime and oil.

Mix until fully blended, then soak the stain with a cloth or sponge dipped in the solution. Scrub in circular strokes with a firm brush. Finally, use a clean cloth or paper towels to wipe the area dry.

For Beverage Spills

Unexpected bumps, quick twists, and unexpected stops can all result in a few mishaps. Fortunately, stains like coffee and soda are readily cleaned with cold water and paper towels.

Saturate the stain with cold water, then wipe it dry with paper towels or a cloth. Allow time for the area to dry. Hot water should be avoided since it can fix the stain, making it much more difficult to remove.

For Grease Stains

Greasy stains on the carpet might be unpleasant, but they are readily removed. Scrub the stain using a cotton cloth and a little bit of paint thinner in circular movements. Blot excess paint thinner with a paper towel.

For Ink Stains

Nobody enjoys finding ink stains on their vehicle carpet, but if you have children, this may be a common occurrence. Don’t add another worry to your list; this one is simple to eliminate.

Begin by spraying the stain with hair spray and sprinkling a little amount of table salt immediately on it. Before drying the area with a towel, massage it with a moist cloth in circular motions.

For Vomiting Stains

In a car, vomiting may be a genuine challenge. Someone may be feeling ill as a result of a late-night or just vehicle sick. In either case, vomit should be cleaned as soon as possible since it can leave an unpleasant stench and harm the carpet.

We recommend using a can or bottle of ordinary club soda for this. Apply it to the affected region and scrub in circular movements with a moist towel. The soda bubbles will assist lift the stain, allowing you to remove it easily.

When you’re finished, use a towel or cloth to dry the area.

If you’re concerned about the stink, mix a paste using equal parts water and baking soda. Apply it to the affected region and let it rest for up to 12 hours. Baking soda is an excellent odor absorber.

Scrub it softly with a cloth or brush before wiping it away with a moist towel.

For Tough Stains

Some stains are highly stubborn and difficult to remove, necessitating the use of more powerful treatment. Combine equal amounts of 3% hydrogen peroxide and non-gel toothpaste.

Hydrogen peroxide is a gentle bleach that successfully breaks down color molecules in stains. Mix the two ingredients until paste forms, then apply it over the stain and leave it for five minutes.

Rub the paste into the stain with a rag or an old cloth. Finally, blot the excess paste away with a paper towel or cloth.

For Blood Stains

If you’ve been in an accident and some blood has spilled on your car carpet, you may remove it using laundry starch.

Laundry starch is commonly used to give clothes body and protect them from filth. It is, nevertheless, highly good in removing stains from the carpet.

In a small container or dish, combine equal parts starch and cold water and stir until solid paste forms. Then apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for 30 minutes. Finally, use a moist towel to clean the area and wipe away any excess.

For Pet Odors

Borax is often used in the home for a variety of applications, including stain cleaning and insect control. Borax is a powder that is alkaline and is a salt of boric acid.

Simply sprinkle a little coating of borax over the entire carpet to eradicate pet odors. Allow it to rest for up to an hour to absorb and neutralize any strong odors.

Then vacuum the entire area to remove any remaining powder. To remove the extra powder, wipe with a wet cloth.

If you don’t have any borax, you may easily substitute baking soda. Baking soda is also great for absorbing and neutralizing smells.

The whitish powder contains alkali. When it comes into touch with acidic or alkaline molecules, however, it brings them together in a neutral state.

Step 3: Vacuuming the Interior

If you don’t have a cordless or portable vacuum, attempt to park near an outlet or use an extension cable. To vacuum the carpet and get beneath the seats, utilize the different attachments, such as the crevice tool.

For a thorough clean, pay particular attention to corners and edges and reach beneath the pedals.

Car Carpet Cleaning
Car Carpet Cleaning

Step 4: Choosing the Shampoo

To successfully clean the carpet, use an excellent automobile carpet shampoo or cleaner. We strongly advise you to use a specialist cleaning, such as this one from Chemical Guys.

If you can’t get your hands on a commercial product, laundry detergent will suffice.

Step 5: Cleaning the Carpet

Begin by reading the manufacturer’s directions for the carpet cleaner. If it’s a spray, sprinkle it immediately on the affected region. Dilute concentrations as needed; do so in a spray bottle for convenient application.

Allow the product to sit for the duration specified. The cleaner should then be worked into the carpet with a hard brush. To remove stains, grime, and grease, use circular strokes.

If your carpet is exceptionally filthy, a steam cleaner or carpet cleaning equipment can provide an additional thorough clean. Alternatively, use a portable carpet cleaner with a compact attachment that fits inside the car, such as the Bissell SpotClean.

These will inject water and shampoo deep into the carpet’s fibers. They will next use powerful suction to remove the surplus water, leaving you with a practically dry finish.

Step 6: Rinsing

Wipe away excess water and cleaner with a moist towel after washing the carpet. Try to get as much shampoo out as you can.

Step 7: Drying the Car

One of the most critical aspects of utilizing a leather conditioner—and cleaning your treasured seats in general, according to Varela—is allowing them to set. Translation? You might not want to clean your car seats just before a long road trip. “You should let your automobile air dry for at least one hour, but three to four hours is preferable,” he advises.

Conclusion and Tips

Cleaning the carpet in your automobile isn’t as tough as some people believe. You may do the task without worry by following a few simple procedures and utilizing the proper goods and tools. Here are a few more pointers to achieve excellent results:


  • Scrubbing using circular motions: The most effective way to scrub is to utilize circular motions. This will aid in the penetration of the cleaning chemical into the fibers and the removal of stains and grime. You may be missing dirt by scrubbing back and forth.
  • Take your time: If you’re in a hurry, leave the vehicle carpet till later. This operation might take many hours depending on how unclean it is, so make sure you have the time. Consider giving the soiled areas an additional scrub before washing and drying the carpet. Set stains may be difficult to remove, especially if they have been cleansed and dried but not completely gone.
  • Test: Before using any product or home cure, give it a quick spot test in an inconspicuous region. Apply it, give it a little massage and let it for a few minutes — if there are any symptoms of damage or discoloration, discontinue using it.
  • Keep yourself safe: If you’re working with chemicals like hydrogen peroxide, you must keep yourself safe. Although hydrogen peroxide is not as dangerous as other bleaches, it can irritate and burn delicate skin. Wear gloves and keep the car properly ventilated while working.
Car Carpet Cleaning
Car Carpet Cleaning

There’s no need to buy, rent, or employ a dealer to get your automobile carpets cleaned. You can DIY automobile carpet cleaning.

All you’ll need are a few items from your own kitchen cupboards. Apart from being inexpensive, cleaning carpets yourself requires only a few easy procedures. Once applied, some DIY cleaners will even perform all of the jobs for you.

Was this guide on how to clean vehicle carpets without a machine helpful? We appreciate your comments and invite you to share this post.

Joyce He

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