How to clean a carpet with baking soda

How to clean a carpet with baking soda
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have unsightly stains on your carpet or want to give it a quick refresh, learning how to clean a carpet with baking soda will be your new favorite trick. While there might be plenty of products on the market to help get your carpet in top condition, these can often be expensive and contain harsh chemicals. 

A natural and affordable alternative is baking soda. This is a versatile household essential that can be used in a multitude of different ways. Baking soda doesn’t include any harmful chemicals, making it safe to use frequently and around pets. It also acts as a deodorizer, eradicating pungent smells that can occur after years of use or individual accidents.

It's also easy to use, simply requiring one of the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab) to remove the powder from a carpet. Using a good quality vacuum cleaner will help maintain the quality of the flooring, as regular maintenance will keep dust and bad odors at bay.

Knowing how to how to clean a carpet (opens in new tab) properly will also improve health and wellbeing, especially for those with allergies. Pet hair can be a huge trigger for people sensitive to animals, so regularly vacuuming will create a more hygienic environment. 

If you’re looking to protect your home investments, regular maintenance is the easiest way to prolong the life of a carpet. Cleaning as you go will help you avoid splurging on a brand new floor in the future after stains and everyday wear have made their impact. 

How to remove greasy stains with baking soda 

Grease is notoriously hard to remove, no matter whether you're trying to lift it from clothing, work surfaces, or flooring. Many common household spillages, such as oil or wax, can produce a residue that's trickier to manage than just be simply soaking it up with a sponge. This requires a bit more elbow grease, but is nothing to fear as baking soda is still a fast and efficient remedy. 

Simply follow these step-by-step tips when at-home disasters take hold to get your carpet looking and smelling fresh. 

You will need:

  • Baking soda 
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towel 
  • Vacuum cleaner

Then, simply follow these step-by-step instructions to lift that sticky stain. 

  1. Use a paper towel or microfiber cloth to blot the stain, making sure to avoid any rubbing or swiping motions. 
  2. Sprinkle dry baking soda liberally over the mark and allow it to sit overnight. The longer you allow it to sit, the more it will absorb. 
  3. In the morning, vacuum the baking soda up.
  4. Repeat this as many times as needed, however it should work on the first try. 

How to remove non-greasy stains with baking soda 

There's nothing more frustrating than knocking over a glass of red wine or your morning coffee – especially if these errant spills land on your carpet. However, the good news is that non-greasy stains like these are easier to remove. With the absence of an underlying residue, baking soda can be used to soak up the liquid quickly. 

As with any stains, the best advice is to act quickly to avoid the stain from becoming embedded into carpet fibers. This can sometimes cause a panic, but it always helps to take a step back to assess how to best target the spill. The good news is that baking soda is great for a wide range of accidents, but the method may differ slightly to ensure you get the best out of your hard work. So, when non-greasy mishaps do occur, give the following steps a try. 

You will need:

  • Baking soda 
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towel 
  • Spray bottle
  •  Vacuum cleaner

Woman and toddler looking at vacuum cleaner on a grey carpet.

(Image credit: Getty)

Then follow these handy steps to erase the unfortunate spill from your carpet.

  1. Use a paper towel or microfiber cloth to blot the stain. Focus on removing any standing liquid and make sure to dab, not rub. 
  2. Sprinkle baking soda over the affected area.
  3. Using a spray bottle, mist the area with hot water so that it is damp. 
  4. Allow it to sit for a few hours, ensuring it remains damp. 
  5. Vacuum the baking soda up.
  6. Repeat as necessary

Is baking soda safe for a vacuum cleaner?  

What the expert says...

Todd Manegold, General Manager of Tineco in North America, says, "Both pre-filters and HEPA filters may be washed with water (but must be fully dry prior to use).  We recommend that pre-filters are replaced every 3-6 months and HEPA filters every 12 months, depending on use.  The regular maintenance of the unit will keep the unit fresh and ensure the unit achieves its best cleaning performance."

Vacuum cleaners play a significant role in how you can use baking soda as a detergent, as vacuuming is the easiest way to remove the remaining powder. This machine already tends to be one of the hardest working appliances in any household and everyday use can already have an impact on its functionality over time, so it's vital to make sure your vacuum is in top condition. This will prevent you from having to source a premature replacement, which can be costly and inconvenient. 

Many vacuums will be compatible with fine dust particles, so you don’t need to worry when it comes to cleaning up any leftover baking soda. However, for some machines that don’t have a bag, these tiny fragments can end up harming the motor. 

Although baking soda is a reliable and common household cleaning solution, it's worth taking extra care before trying it at home. Always check the manufacturer's guide to see if small particles could have a negative impact on your device’s service before vacuuming anything potentially damaging. 

For models with vacuum bags, it's wise to regularly change them to avoid musty smells caused by a build-up of grime. While this should be done every few months, or more often with increased use, try to replace it after using baking soda to keep your appliance and carpet fresh. 

You should keep on top of cleaning filters too, as they can be a source of dirt. Not only can they result in a musty-smelling environment, but you can also experience an under-performing vacuum. Most are reusable so can be rinsed easily, as recommended by Todd Manegold from Tineco, saving you time and money spent replacing machines. 

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Holly is the Features Editor at Top Ten Reviews where she focuses on creating informative, how-to advice. She has a degree in English Literature and previously worked as a copywriter at Howdens, specializing in kitchens and trend-led interiors. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her exploring the best London bars and brunch spots, or planning the next budget-friendly city break. 

With contributions from