How to clean carpet without a vacuum

How to clean a carpet without a vacuum cleaner
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When cleaning carpets or even area rugs, many of our go-to methods include a vacuum, but you might also want to know how to clean a carpet without a vacuum cleaner. 

What the expert says...

 Bailey Carson, Home Care Expert at Angi, says, "To make sure your carpets feel brand new all year round, it’s worth considering hiring a professional carpet cleaner to do a real deep cleaning. Pros will know exactly what will work best for your carpets and will be able to get any tough stains out. Aim to have your carpets professionally cleaned every six months."

These handy devices make light work of everyday chores, removing lint, crumbs, and even the occasional Lego piece. Not only does this help to make a carpet look visually appealing, but it also contributes to a hygienic home, as it reduces grime and odors. Finding the best vacuum cleaner for your needs is easy, as there are many on the market, including upright models or even smaller handheld variations. 

However, not everyone has access to a vacuum cleaner. Whether it's for space or money-saving reasons, there are many reasons why purchasing a larger appliance may not be necessary. Plus, there's no pressure to make that commitment when there are so many other methods for cleaning carpets without a vacuum. 

Whatever your reason for not owning a vacuum, there are many other techniques, like the best carpet cleaners, to remove dirt and debris from a carpet or rug. The one you choose will depend on your lifestyle and cleaning needs, but rest assured that the following ideas will help you create a sparkling space. 

1. Broom and dustpan

A broom or dustpan will easily dislodge and remove debris from a carpet. Opt for a brush with thick bristles to ensure it drags up any built-in dirt from the pile. Long-handled brooms are great for those suffering from back pain as they prevent you from bending down, while dust pans will be effective for targeting a specific area.  

2. Carpet sweeper  

Many people view carpet sweepers as a thing of the past, but they are still readily available and cost much less than a vacuum. Without requiring electricity, carpet sweepers are a great option for those trying to lower household bills and are incredibly simple to use. 

Using two electrostatic rollers, the sweeper rotates across the floor, picking up dirt as it goes. The collected debris then drops into a dedicated bin that can be emptied over a trash can—just make sure to do this as you go so the carpet sweeper performs as effectively as possible. 

Bailey Carson, Home Care Expert at Angi, recommends that "Carpet sweepers are another great option for a quick clean. They’re also usually smaller than a traditional vacuum, making them easy to maneuver in hard-to-reach places. Like a carpet lint roller, a carpet sweeper is best when you’re in a pinch and need quick, surface-level cleaning."

3. Shaking

One of the simplest ways to clean an area rug is to take it outside and shake it. While this isn’t possible for wall-to-wall carpet, large rugs can accumulate just as much dirt, and they can really benefit from a rigorous jiggle. 

Depending on the size of the rug, place it outside a window or door and shake it out until any debris has fallen. After most of the dirt has been removed, beat with a brush to help loosen any more dust. 

4. Carpet sticky roller 

Lint rollers are a firm favorite in many households - especially those with pets who love to shed their fur on your best garments. A carpet sticky roller works identically but is situated on a long stick, making it easy to roll across a larger area. 

This will be great for households with furry friends or even those with long hair themselves, as it can often mat together and become embedded in a carpet. The sticky surface makes it easy to pick up any lint and can be updated with new rolls as they wear with time. 

5. Steam cleaner

Sanitizing a carpet is just as important as vacuuming away crumbs, which is why a steam cleaner is a great option. It is a versatile device and can be used throughout the home on different types of flooring, meaning it will be a worthwhile investment. 

Bailey also notes that "Steam cleaning is one of the most effective ways to deep clean your carpets. Hot water and high-pressure helps break down over 90% of stuck dirt, bacteria, and other debris, leaving carpets and carpet fibers extra clean."

Using only water, it effectively disinfects carpets without using chemicals, making it a safe and non-toxic option. It is also super safe for use around pets. 

Holly Cockburn
TTR Features Editor, Cleaning

Holly, the former Features Editor of Top Ten Reviews, brings a wealth of experience in creating practical home content. With a background in freelance writing and product copy, she is dedicated to producing thorough features that help readers make the most of their homes and gardens.