How to Disinfect Carpet Without a Steam Cleaner

How to disinfect carpet without a stream cleaner

I have a toddler and a pet dog. Their playful behavior leads to an accumulation of soil, food stains, urine, fur, hair, and all sorts of dirt.

They frequently urinate at all corners of the house, leaving an unpleasant smell on the carpets.

If you have a carpet, you know what I mean. The funky smell makes the house unbearable.

I have to frequently do a great deal of cleaning to remove the stains and disinfect the carpet.

Over the years, I have been renting out a steam cleaner to help with decontamination and sterilization so that my carpets are odor-free.

With all the expenses in the house, the children’s needs, plus renting a steam cleaner at least twice monthly, adds up and has taken a toll on my pocket.

The option of giving away the dog has crossed my mind since it urinates at every corner of the house.

I was always envious of my next-door neighbor whose house smelled fresh all the time. I had to ask what her secret was and became so impressed that I had 80% of what I needed to keep my house clean daily in the cupboard.

These materials are very cheap and affordable, so it helps me keep my budget in check, and these ingredients are non-toxic, which is a definite plus point.

The products that I’ll share with you here can kill microbes and bacteria that may accumulate on the carpet.

So it’ll be easy to keep a clean and disinfected home that smells pleasant without the need for a steam cleaner.

What can I use to disinfect my carpet?

  1. Baking Soda – Baking soda is readily available in most households as it is used for cooking, cleaning, deodorizing, and also as a disinfectant. It is very versatile as an abrasive hence used to absorb bad odor that lingers on the carpet. It is productive in killing mold, germs, and bacteria.
  2. White Vinegar – Vinegar is a natural, non-toxic cleaning agent that kills bacteria. It helps get rid of foul smells and leaves behind a pleasant fresh scent. It is an acidic solution; therefore, it works best on an alkaline mix such as urine.
  3. Vodka – The alcohol content in vodka can help sterilize and eliminate any bacteria accumulated in the carpet. Vodka is also a natural stain remover, which in this case, means killing two birds with one stone. If you have a stain, either from food or drinks, you can use vodka to remove these blemishes.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide – It is a disinfectant and also a bleaching agent. Hydrogen peroxide should be mixed with equal parts of water to dilute the bleaching effect on colored carpets.

Remember to test the cleaning mixtures on a small area first to be sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the carpet fibers.

Does vinegar sanitize carpet?

Vinegar works to a degree, but one thing to note is vinegar isn’t in the list of EPA -recommended disinfectants. However, it can alter germ-structure and has disinfecting qualities that somewhat help reduce bacteria on the carpet. If you’re inclined to use vinegar, opt for a distilled white vinegar with 6% acetic acid.

To maintain a clean disinfected carpet without using the usual steam cleaner, follow the following methods:

Different ways to disinfect carpets without steam cleaner

The mixtures below are meant to be sprayed over carpet strands. Avoid scrubbing the carpet vigorously as it can damage the fibers.

Some would recommend scrubbing the carpet with a brush, but that is a no-no since liquid can permeate through the padding. This technique is doable on a small area rug, but it’s almost impossible to do inside a home with wall-to-wall carpeting.

If you’re disinfecting a large area, consider using a carpet cleaner that will do the task more efficiently.

Also, avoid oversaturating since excess moisture will lead to mold and mildew formation. Before applying any of these homemade solutions, please vacuum the carpet thoroughly to remove any surface dirt.

If you have pets, consider sprinkling baking soda to remove the odor and also help remove pet hair stuck under strands of fiber.

Method 1: Baking Soda and Salt

Baking soda and salt

Create a non-toxic sweet-smelling disinfectant using the following ingredients:

  • 200 grams of baking soda
  • Two tablespoons of salt (13 grams)
  • One cup of vinegar (250 milliliters)
  • 1-liter spray bottle
  • One cup of warm water (250 ml)
  • 20 drops of Tea Tree oil
  • Latex gloves

Steps to Follow

  1. Put on the latex gloves, as some products may be harsh on the skin
  2. Remove all the furniture, toys, or anything that might get in the way
  3. Spring baking soda evenly on the carpet. Leave it for about thirty minutes to four hours to give it enough time to absorb the odors.
  4. Sprinkle salt on the carpet. This ingredient is a natural cleaning agent. Salt also helps clear away any bacteria or fungi that may be on the carpet.
  5. Mix equal parts of vinegar and corresponding parts of warm water in a spray bottle.
  6. Add approximately 20 drops of tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is also a disinfectant and helps leave a pleasant scent on the carpet. Shake the mixture well then spray the solution on the surface.
  7. Leave it for thirty minutes for it to permeate and then vacuum the carpet to remove the leftover baking soda residue.
  8. Keep windows open so that air will naturally circulate and to prevent mold and mildew from building up.

Method 2: Using a pure, sanitary disinfectant


Vodka isn’t just for happy hour.

The method is straightforward and fun, with ingredients that are readily available in the house. Vodka is a pure sterilizer. It is even used in wounds to eliminate viruses and bacteria. It also works the same way to disinfect carpets.

You will need:

  • Vodka
  • A spray bottle
  • Paper towels or a cloth

Steps to Follow

  1. Clear the carpet area to have full access.
  2. Vacuum it to remove any loose debris.
  3. Spray the of vodka evenly on top of the carpet and leave it for around 30 minutes.
  4. Use paper towels or a clean washrag and pat dry to remove the excess moisture. Do not rub the vodka in, especially when you’re cleaning a stain. Just dub and leave it to dry.

Method 3: Creating a vigorous antiseptic

Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide


You will need:

  • One cup of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • A quarter cup of dishwashing soap
  • Ten drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • A spray bottle
  • Two cups of warm water
  • Funnel
  • Latex gloves

Steps to Follow

  1. Pour baking soda on the carpet and leave it for at least one hour.
  2. Vacuum baking soda out of the carpet.
  3. Wear latex gloves as the hydrogen peroxide can be irritating to the skin.
  4. Use a funnel to put all the remaining ingredients into the spray bottle and shake well.
  5. Spray the solution on top of the carpet evenly (be careful not to spray too much) and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Use paper towels to dry it out.
  7. A faster option is using a wet/dry vacuum.

Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching properties, so make sure to test it on a small area first to check if it has any adverse effects.

Method 4. Vinegar and lemon oil

You will need:

  • One cup of white vinegar
  • Two cups of warm water
  • Two tablespoons of salt
  • 12 drops of lemon oil

Steps to Follow

  1. Using a spray bottle, put the ingredients in and mix well
  2. Spray the solution evenly on the carpet and leave for 30 minutes.
  3. Allow the carpet to dry with ample ventilation then vacuum it. The carpet will be sparkling clean and free from germs.

Lemon oil is a powerful cleaning solution. It has a fresh, natural fragrance that works as a natural deodorant.

Method 5. The baking soda and water solution

You’ll need

  • 200 grams of baking soda
  • Two cups of hot water
  • Few drops of dish soap
  • 15 drops of lavender oil
  • A spray bottle

Steps to follow

  1. Clear the surface dirt that may be on the carpet.
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake thoroughly.
  3. Spray the cleaning solution in on the carpet evenly, and leave it for three to four hours.
  4. Leave the carpet to air dry naturally or vacuum it.

Lavender oil also has disinfecting properties and also leaves a sweet natural fragrance.

Method 6: Using Snow

This is one of the more unconventional methods for removing debris stuck under fibers. Whether or not it sanitizes is debatable. Since this method requires the use of snow, it’s only applicable to small area rugs.

Steps to follow

  1. Take the rug out, hang it on a porch rail or anything sturdy, then beat it with a broom.
  2. Leave it outdoors for 30 minutes for it to assimilate.
  3. Pile snow on top of it, even it out with a broom.
  4. Leave the snow on the carpet for around 20 minutes. The cold air should react with the ammonia content of snow to solidify the particles of dirt within the fiber that should come off.
  5. Remove excess snow from the carpet.
  6. Dry the carpet.

Method 7: Disinfecting Sprays for Carpet

The last method I’ll share is probably the most potent. I’m talking about purchasing carpet cleaning solutions with sanitizing ingredients for carpet. One advantage of these products is its potency for killing bacteria and viruses. However, these items are more expensive than homemade solutions. One such product is the RMR-141 disinfectant spray that works on a multitude of surfaces, hard and soft.

Steps to follow

  1. Vacuum carpet thoroughly to remove any loose debris and contaminants.
  2. Spray product on the carpet and follow the prescribed waiting time.
  3. Leave to dry.

How to disinfect carpet naturally?

Yes, it is possible. The important thing is to know the ingredients capable of killing bacteria. Some that I’ve outlined above include vinegar, vodka, baking soda (for absorbing odors), salt, and hydrogen peroxide. Essentials oils do have disinfecting properties against certain types of bacteria and leave a natural fragrance. If you have allergies to these scents, please avoid using it.

Another way to avoid using toxic chemicals is to vacuum regularly to prevent the accumulation of dirt, which can be germ carriers.

Can I use Lysol to disinfect carpet?

Lysol is a popular brand for manufacturing disinfecting sprays, but can it clean carpet? The answer would be dependent on the product. Lysol has sanitizing products formulated for hard and soft surfaces. However, I haven’t found a Lysol product specifically for disinfecting carpets. If you’ve used Lysol before, their products have a strong, overpowering scent. Even if it can disinfect carpet, the odor would be too strong. I would suggest using a product formulated for sanitizing carpet strands.

About the author: Garrick, the visionary behind Cordless Vacuum Guide, brings over a decade of hands-on expertise in cordless vacuum testing to his insightful reviews showcased on this platform. Beyond his passion for empowering consumers with informed choices, he cherishes precious moments with his family, exploring global cuisines and exploring different horizons with his beloved wife and son. Follow him on Youtube, Tiktok, Facebook, and Instagram.