How To Clean Carpet With Vinegar (Without Damaging It!)

carpet cleaning vinegar

If you’ve been looking for a quick carpet cleaning remedy, chances are that you’ve probably heard of people using vinegar. Using vinegar to clean carpets can be effective, but only if you know how to use it correctly. 

One of the reasons why people become interested in using vinegar to clean their carpets is because it’s a common household item that most of us have stored in our kitchen cupboards. Therefore, it’s easy to access for those times where you can’t go out and buy carpet cleaning products.

If you’re wondering how to clean carpet with vinegar, you’ll want to carry on reading below. We’ve put together a detailed guide that takes you through the necessary steps on how to use vinegar to clean carpets and avoid causing any damage.

Does Vinegar Stain Carpet?

Before we get into the step by step guide on how to clean your carpet with vinegar, we should address one of the most common concerns that people have about using it.

Will vinegar stain carpets?

The answer is that it’s possible for the vinegar to damage carpets. That’s why we recommend that you use a small quantity of vinegar on a carpeted area that doesn’t get noticed as much. Dampen a cloth with vinegar and rub it gently onto a small area on your carpet.

Leave it for a few minutes before using a clean cloth to soak it up in a blotting motion. You should then come back to assess that carpeted area after 24 hours to inspect if the vinegar has altered the color or texture of your carpet.

If it has caused damage, it’s best to avoid using vinegar on your carpets. However, there are no changes, you can feel more confident about going ahead and applying it to larger areas of your carpet.

How To Clean Your Carpet With Vinegar

Vacuum The Carpet

When it comes to any type of carpet cleaning method, one of the first steps that should be taken is to vacuum the surface. Using a high-quality vacuum is an effective way to remove debris and dirt on the surface, as well as dirt that has become lodged deep inside your carpets.

Putting vinegar onto a carpet that’s too dirty could cause the debris to break down and cause more stains. So, be sure to thoroughly vacuum your carpet before applying vinegar to it.

If you’re busy during the day and want your floors to be vacuumed by the time you get home so you can start applying vinegar, you may want to consider robot vacuums for carpets.

Robot vacuums can take care of cleaning dirt and debris from your carpets so that you can save time and energy and start removing stains using vinegar to get the job done quicker.

Dyson V7 Animal Pro+


Dyson’s V7 Animal Pro+ is a fantastic vacuum to use for cleaning carpets as it has a direct-drive cleaner head that’s able to send bristles deep down into carpets for a more thorough cleanse.

Furthermore, it converts into a handheld vacuum which is fantastic for letting you reach edges and corners of your carpet that are more difficult to access with the standard vacuum head.

  • Accessory tools included
  • Cleans carpets deeply
  • Converts into a handheld vacuum
  • Battery life is short
  • Emptying dirt can be tricky
  • Trigger button has to be held down for suction power

Making Your Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Once you’ve made sure that your carpet has been properly vacuumed, it’s time to make your vinegar cleaning solution. This is a critical phase of using vinegar to clean carpets because if you don’t dilute it correctly, it’s likely to cause damage.

Mix 3-4 cups of white vinegar with regular dish soap and warm water in a bucket. Use a small quantity of the solution on an area of your carpet that doesn’t get noticed as much to make sure that you’ve got the right mixture of white vinegar with water and dish soap.

Cleaning Carpets With Vinegar 

When you’re happy with the solution, grab either a brush or a cloth and dip it into the bucket. If the stain that you’re trying to remove looks like it will be tough to remove, using a brush may be a more effective tool.

Regardless of whether you use a brush or a soft cloth, make sure that you scrub the stain in linear motions and a gentle fashion. Be sure to take your time and not rush through this process because being too rough with scrubbing your carpet with vinegar can cause damage.

Removing Moisture

If you were using vinegar to remove stains from a rug that can be picked up, we recommend that you take it outdoors and hose it down with water after you’ve finished scrubbing. This will ensure that you remove any vinegar that has gotten deep down into the carpets. After you’ve hosed the rug down, you can rinse and air dry it outdoors.

When you’re using vinegar to get rid of stains on carpets that can’t be removed, you can simply grab a clean cloth that has been dampened with water. Use the cloth over the same area that you scrubbed and be gentle with rinsing the vinegar solution in linear motions.

Now that you’ve done your best to remove the vinegar solution from your carpet, you’ll want to let it dry properly. This can be achieved by setting up fans that are pointing on the damp area and keeping windows open so that the room stays well ventilated with air.

You want to aim to dry the area as quickly as possible to prevent the vinegar from mixing with the water and potentially leaving a larger stain. 

How To Steam Clean Carpet With Vinegar 

If you have a steam cleaner or are planning to use one, you can combine it with vinegar to remove especially tough stains. Follow the instructions for your steam cleaner on how to add a carpet cleaning solution and replace that solution with white vinegar.

For instances where you want to use vinegar with a steam cleaner across your entire carpet, you’ll need a machine that comes with plenty of suction power. This is because steam cleaners with powerful suction ensure that the excess moisture from the vinegar can be properly dried up to get rid of the smell quicker.

Steam cleaners that have weaker suction power will mean that the smell of vinegar may linger for longer until the floors are properly dried. However, when vinegar is used in small quantities and areas, the smell usually dissipates quickly as the smaller area can dry quicker.

Bissell Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine


Bissell’s Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine features 2 large tanks with each of them having a capacity of 1.75 gallons of water. As a result, it’s an excellent option for cleaning entire rooms without having to refill.

We were impressed with the large power brush that has been fitted as it enables you to achieve deeper cleans. There’s also lots of suction power to make sure that your carpets can be dried in no time.

  • 2-tank capacity
  • Power brush for deep cleaning
  • Dries up moisture quickly
  • Can be prone to leaking
  • Hose attachment isn’t so great for upholstery
  • The plastic handle is a little flimsy

Vinegar On Carpets As a Deodorizer

As we mentioned above, the smell of vinegar can dissipate pretty quickly, so long as the area dries up. For cases where you want to remove a stain from your carpet that’s causing a smell, such as an accident from a pet, vinegar can be an effective remedy. 

Simply combine one tablespoon of vinegar with one tablespoon of baking soda along with two cups of warm water. Put the solution into a spray bottle and shake to mix all the ingredients. Once the solution has stopped bubbling, spray a small quantity onto the affected area.

There will be an initial smell of vinegar but that smell will soon disappear, along with the odor that was there before once the area has properly dried.

Other Tips Keeping Carpets Clean

Cleaning Hairs From Carpets

When it comes to cleaning human or pet or pet hair from your carpets, one of the best things you can use is a vacuum. In particular, a vacuum that has been specifically made for removing pet hair that works effectively on carpets.

Trying to remove hair by hand can be very time consuming and using the wrong type of vacuum can lead to hair getting tangled. This can result in you wasting time on unclogging your vacuum.

Therefore, it’s best to stick with a vacuum that has been designed to work with carpets and deal with long hairs properly. We’ve left a suggested vacuum for pet hair on carpets for you to check out below.

Shark APEX DuoClean Vacuum


Shark’s APEX DuoClean Vacuum features a dual brush roll system that works effectively to provide carpets with a deep clean. We liked how this brush roll also automatically cleans itself to remove pet hairs.

With the advanced swivel steering system, you can have an easy time maneuvering the vacuum on your carpets.

  • Self-cleaning brush roll
  • Advanced swivel steering
  • Deep cleans carpets
  • Releases hot air from the rear
  • Doesn’t stand up on its own
  • Louder than some were hoping

Deep Cleaning Carpets

For those of you interested in achieving a deeper clean for your carpets, using a steam cleaning machine is one of the best options. They only need to be used a few times every year but each time you use one, it can leave your carpets looking new.

Follow the instructions on how to properly use the steam cleaner before you start filling it up. Generally, these machines work by filling them with a cleaning solution and water. As mentioned earlier, you can mix water and vinegar to remove tough stains.

It may also be a good idea to test out the steam cleaner on a smaller area to make sure that it doesn’t cause any damage.

When you’re happy that the steam cleaner is safe for cleaning your carpets, you can go ahead and start cleaning the entire area. Afterward, be sure that you keep your windows open so that the carpet can dry properly.

Ensuring that the carpet dries properly and quickly is important to make sure that excess moisture doesn’t get stuck in your carpet as it can lead to mold development. The steam cleaner below can be a great option to consider for deep cleaning your carpets.

McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner


The McCulloch MC1375 Steam Cleaner comes with 4 bar pressure which makes it effective at deep cleaning carpets. You can use this machine to deep clean your carpets without using harmful chemicals.

We liked how the water tank has a capacity of 48 ounces and can be warmed up in approximately 10 minutes for you to use for 90 continuous minutes.

  • 90 minutes of continuous use
  • Large water tank
  • 4 bar pressure
  • Accessories don’t work so well
  • Can be a little tricky to maneuver
  • No low water warning


That concludes our post on how you can clean carpets using vinegar. Be sure to follow the tips mentioned throughout this post to make sure that you can effectively clean your carpets without causing them to become damaged. Using vinegar can be a cost-effective method for cleaning carpets, but only if it’s used in the correct ways.

We hope that we’ve provided you with all the information you need to ensure that you feel more confident about using vinegar to remove tough stains.

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