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How To Clean a Car Carpet Without a Vacuum

If you use your car on a regular basis, it’s normal for it to get dirty. But if you’re working on a budget and prefer to clean your car at home without paying for a car detailing service, there are many ways to get the job done. Even if you don’t possess a vacuum, all you’ll need is a bit of elbow grease and cleaning accessories.

Claening car carpets without vacuum

Here are 9 steps to clean a car carpet without a vacuum:

  1. Prepare your cleaning equipment.
  2. Ensure your car isn’t parked directly in the sun.
  3. Remove all the carpets and rugs.
  4. Use a broom to rid the carpets of debris.
  5. Spray down the mats with a cleaning solution.
  6. Scrub the carpets with a brush.
  7. Use a toothpick to clean out the crevices
  8. Use a cloth to wipe down the carpets.
  9. Allow the carpets to dry before putting them back.

In the rest of this article, I’ll go through these tips to make sure that your car comes out looking brand new. Remember that to keep your vehicle in pristine condition, you’ll need to clean it regularly using the correct procedures.

1. Prepare Your Cleaning Equipment

cleaning equipment for car

You’ll need a few things before you can start cleaning your car. Even if you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can use many other things to get your vehicle sparkling clean.

Here is a list of all the cleaning equipment you’ll need to clean your car without a vacuum:

  • Carpet cleaner
  • Thick-bristle brush
  • Dustpan and brush
  • Toothpick
  • Microfiber cloths
  • A bucket
  • Spray bottle

You’ll need an effective carpet cleaner here, so check out this Chemical Guys Foaming Citrus Fabric Clean Carpet & Upholstery Shampoo. It smells great, and you can even use it on the rest of your car if you feel like the whole interior needs a deep clean. It also has no toxic ingredients, so it’s safe to use around pets.

A decent thick-bristle brush will also do wonders for your car’s carpets. Applying pressure (along with your soapy cleaner) will enable you to get all that dirt and grime out quickly. The results might get a bit brown – especially if your car is filthy – but it’s worth it.

This Konex Nylon Fiber Utility Cleaning Brush is an excellent choice for those on a budget. It has firm bristles that enable you to scrub any surface, and they’re stiff enough that a bit of pressure won’t damage the brush.

If you don’t have any carpet cleaner, you can easily make your own. In fact, it might be more economical to do so. Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make your own carpet cleaner:

  • Lemon juice
  • House cleaner
  • Baking soda
  • Laundry detergent

Just mix it all up in a spray bottle, and you have the perfect homemade carpet cleaner. Baking soda is an excellent cleaner for many things – you can even use it to get stains out of your clothes.

Just remember, only use the juice of half a lemon per spray bottle. Lemon juice is fairly acidic, so you don’t want to use too much since this might discolor the carpet. Additionally, don’t use a vinegar solution unless you have white carpets since it might take its toll on darker carpets.

Once you have all your cleaning equipment ready, you can start the carpet cleaning process, and this is where the elbow grease comes in!

2. Ensure Your Car Isn’t Parked Directly in the Sun

Car parking on garage

You may think it’s acceptable to clean your car when it’s sitting in the sun, especially if it’s a beautiful day and you want to be in the sun yourself. However, this is not recommended in any circumstances.

This is because the heat from the sun will quickly dry out your soapy cleaning fluid, making the carpets dry out before you’ve even had time to clean them properly. This may even leave marks on the mats, and you wouldn’t want that!

Ensure that you’ve parked your car somewhere shaded, which should give you enough time to clean the carpets without having to rush the process.

3. Remove All the Carpets and Rugs

Removed carpets on car

If you have removable carpets and rugs, you’ll need to take them out of the car. If you’re not planning to clean your entire car and only want to give the carpets a clean, this is the best solution. If you don’t remove your carpets, you’ll end up getting soap suds everywhere – and you’ll be forced to clean the rest of your car.

However, if your car carpets aren’t removable, just take extra care not to be too messy with the soap. If you have any loose rugs in your car, then you can remove those and take care of the rest inside the car.

4. Use a Broom To Rid the Carpets of Debris

A broom for car

Since you don’t have a vacuum, you’ll need to use a broom for the next part. Gather up your carpets and give them a good shake outside the car before you start since this will take care of any loose dust and debris before you get started.

You should try your best at this stage to get rid of any dirt and dust on the carpets. This will enable you to scrub it more effectively in the next few steps. If you don’t want your driveway to get covered in dirt, you can always put down a tarp or an old sheet so you can gather up the dust when you’re finished cleaning.

5. Spray Down the Mats With a Cleaning Solution

Red car mats

You’ll need to have your cleaning solution (either commercial or homemade) here, ready in a spray bottle. Using a spray bottle rather than just pouring the solution directly on the carpets enables you to get into the tiny crevices and access more areas while also being economical.

Follow the steps below to spray your cleaning solution:

  1. Give the spray bottle a good shake. You’ll need to make sure that the mixture is nice and foamy before you begin.
  2. Take your spray bottle and spray it all over the carpets outside. You’ll need to ensure you’re holding the bottle quite close to the mats if it’s windy.
  3. To clean the interior floors, spray the mixture all over the crevices and surface area. Ensure that you get into all those crevices since dirt can quickly accumulate there.
  4. When you are satisfied that every area has been covered, leave it to soak for a few minutes. This will give the cleaning agents a chance to start working on your carpets, making it easier for you to scrub them clean in the next step.

Leaving it to soak will save you a bit of time when you’re on your knees scrubbing the carpets. It will also give the cleaning chemicals time to work their magic on your dirty carpets.

6. Scrub the Carpets With a Brush

Scrubbing car carpets

Now it’s time for that elbow grease! This step might take five minutes, or even close to half an hour, depending on how dirty your car is. If it’s grim, you may need to repeat this step 2 or 3 times, so make sure you have enough time set aside if this is the case.

For this step, you’ll need a bucket of warm water to rinse off the brush from time to time. Follow the steps below to scrub your carpets clean:

  1. Dip the brush into the bucket of water. Make sure that the water is warm enough since cold water won’t do a very good cleaning job.
  2. Start scrubbing. Scrub your carpets in a circular motion, applying enough pressure on the brush that it effectively cleans everything, even the ingrained dirt and dust.
  3. The more you scrub, the foamier it should get. At this stage, the soap might start to turn brown. No need to worry, though, as this is a good thing. That’s all the dirt and grime that’s stuck to your car’s carpets, so it means your cleaning method is working.
  4. Dip your brush back into the water bucket. Repeat the process until you feel you’ve got all the dirt off. At this point, your carpets should start looking clean.

By the end of this process, the bucket of water will probably be brown. You may not have realized how dirty your car really was, but at least you’re getting it clean.

7. Use a Toothpick To Clean Out the Crevices

Getting a toothpick for crevices

Now it’s time to get into those nooks and crannies. There probably won’t be any small crevices on the carpets you’ve removed from the car. However, inside the car, on the floor, and under the seats, there will likely be many little bits that you’ll have missed with the scrubbing brush.

Dip the toothpick in the cleaning solution and use it to get into those crevices. Make sure you don’t miss anything below the seats since these areas often get neglected. Use the brush to get rid of the dirt that pops up, and don’t stop until you know all those nooks are clean.

CarCareReport dot com is owner of this article and was first posted on Sep 12, 2022 and was updated on ..

8. Use a Cloth To Wipe Down the Carpets

Hand holding a cloth for wiping

For this step, you’ll need a few microfiber cloths. You can use any kind of cloth, but microfiber cloths are much better for cleaning since they lift grime off the surface and trap it in the fibers.

A pressure hose might work better when rinsing soap from the carpets, but if you don’t have one, microfiber cloths will work just fine.

These Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths are reusable, so it’s just a one-time purchase that you can keep using time and time again. They come in many different colors and are super absorbent on many surfaces.

Now, follow the steps below to use your microfiber cloths to clean your carpets:

  1. Dip your cloth in cold water and start wiping down the carpets. You’ll need to ensure the fabric is wet enough to pick up all the soap.
  2. Continue dipping your cloth and wiping until all the external carpets have been cleaned. If there are any soap residues left over, you can repeat the process.
  3. Now you can do the same thing with the interior floors. Make sure you’re getting the cloth inside all the crevices. Avoid using too much water when wiping your car’s floors, especially when wiping under the seats.
  4. Repeat this process until all the soap is gone. Any soap residue you miss will make the carpets sticky and unsightly, so double-check everything before finishing.

If needed, you can use more than one cloth – especially if your car is really dirty. Don’t worry, those microfiber cloths are reusable, so use as many as you need.

First published on Sep 12, 2022 by

9. Allow the Carpets To Dry Before Putting Them Back

Hang car carpets to dry

You’ll need to make sure all the carpets you removed are spotless and dry before placing them back in the car. If you don’t do this, it will take much longer for everything to dry.

If you want, you can put the exterior carpets in the sun until they are completely dry. You can park your car in the sun for the interior to dry and leave the doors open until the process is finished.

Either way, you probably don’t want to drive in a wet vehicle. If you’ve managed to get water in other parts of your car, it won’t make driving a fun experience – so have the patience at this stage and wait for everything to dry.

Once you’re confident everything is dry, you can return the carpets inside the car. Make sure you’ve placed everything back where it should be. Now you can step back and admire your work.

Key Takeaways

Cleaning your car without a vacuum cleaner is certainly possible; it just takes a bit of extra work. If you don’t fancy taking your vehicle for a detailing service, doing it yourself at home is perfectly acceptable. Not having access to a vacuum shouldn’t stand in the way of clean living.

When done correctly, your car will be sparkling clean like never before. Remember to clean your vehicle regularly since there are several essential benefits to cleaning it often.

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