How to clean carpet with vinegar

Person showing how to clean carpet with vinegar in spray bottle, with cat sat nearby.
(Image credit: Getty)

Carpets withstand a lot of wear and tear, from pet accidents to everyday dirt, so knowing how to clean carpet with vinegar can be a great way to spruce up your carpet when it's looking a little tired. Cleaning can be hard to stay on top of, especially in busy households where daily chores sometimes take the backseat. This is why it is important to find the easiest and most effective ways to combat dirt and stains so that you can save time and ensure your carpet remains in its best condition. If you’re searching for a more extensive guide to vacuuming and floor maintenance, explore how to clean a carpet (opens in new tab)

Homemade solutions are best for this - not only are they inexpensive but they will also help to save on sought-after cupboard space, thanks to their versatility. White vinegar is a useful tool for many different incidents that can occur around the home. From windows to kitchen appliances, this product will be a saving grace in any cleaning kit. Learning how to clean a carpet with baking soda will be handy advice to keep in your arsenal too, as it is a natural, affordable buy that will eradicate stains with ease.

No matter which technique you choose, a vacuum cleaner is an essential component of cleaning any carpet. Staying on top of vacuuming will prevent the build-up of dust, which can lead to discoloration, as well as ensuring your house smells fresh. Take your pick of the best vacuum cleaners (opens in new tab) that will make daily chores that little bit easier. 

Not only is white vinegar an inexpensive option, but it's also tough on bacteria, mildew, and dirt. So, whether you are trying to tackle coffee stains or discoloration from years of use, white vinegar will help to lift dirt and freshen up a space. While using vinegar as a carpet cleaning is simple, we have put together some step-by-step advice that will help you fix your floor with ease. 

How to use white vinegar with dish soap 

What the expert says...

Josh Blackburn, founder of Evolving Home and part-owner of Blackburn Construction, noted that, "Refreshing your carpet is easier than you might think, and you won’t necessarily need fancy and expensive tools. One way to quickly give your carpet a refreshed look is to use a lint roller to swipe away dirt in those areas where it does not seem to go away any other way, or a squeegee, which is perfect to quickly and efficiently sweep away pet hair, not only from carpets but also from furniture."

Perhaps the most common cleaning solution, white vinegar can be used in tandem with dish soap for a convenient method to scrub dirt. This is a universal stain-removal technique that will quickly become your go-to, as these products are readily available and cheap to restock. 

While dish soap is mild and this solution is a safe option, it is always worth testing on an inconspicuous piece of carpet - think in the corner of a room or under furniture. Make sure it’s white vinegar too, rather than apple cider or malt, as this will not leave any additional color or odor. 

Before using any products, chemical or natural, we recommend ensuring the area is vacuumed and clear of any debris that may impede a deep clean. This will also prevent any dirt from becoming embedded into the carpet fibers when you begin scrubbing, so you get the best result from your efforts.

How to clean carpets using baking soda and vinegar 

Ruined your carpet with harsh red wine stains? Or having a hard time potty training a puppy? Some things can be tougher to remove than average juice spills, which is when you should combine multiple cleaning methods to improve your chances of combatting stains. 

Baking soda and white vinegar are the top cupboard essentials that cleaning experts, and households, love. They can be used on a whole host of appliances and surfaces around the home, and mean you can avoid off-the-shelf chemicals. What’s more, when combined they offer a more potent mixture. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and absorbs grease well, while vinegar will help to disinfect an area - great for attacking pet accidents. 

Jar of baking soda on a grey fluffy rug with a person's hand and spoon over the rug.

(Image credit: Getty)

Together, the baking soda and vinegar will create a fizzing chemical reaction that moves the solution throughout the stain, offering you a greater chance of removal. Simply follow the steps below to give your carpet the best chance of returning back to full health. 

  1. Saturate the stain with white vinegar. 
  2. Sprinkle dry baking soda over the area, making sure to cover the whole patch. You should begin to hear a fizzing sound which means the reaction is working. 
  3. Wait until the vinegar has completely dried - preferably overnight. 
  4. Vacuum up the baking soda
  5. Repeat as many times as needed until the stain is removed. 

Is it safe to use vinegar to clean carpet? 

One of the most common concerns before using any cleaning product, natural or not, on a carpet is whether you are going to create more harm than good. Harsh chemicals, such as bleach, can end up discoloring a floor and creating more damage. This can also differ depending on the material, so it is crucial to check with a manufacturer beforehand. 

We also recommend testing any cleaning products in an out-of-sight area and leaving it to settle for 24 hours. This will give any potential reactions enough time to show and will avoid further damage. 

Alternatively, if those pesky stains still aren’t budging, finding the best carpet cleaners (opens in new tab) may be the best option. These will offer a professional, deep clean that will transform the appearance of a carpet, and in turn the rest of your interior.  

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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
  • Founder of Evolving Home, Part-Owner of Blackburn Construction