How to Disinfect Carpet Without Steam Cleaner (7 Options)

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It sounds gross, but many toilet seats are cleaner than carpets. Dead skin cells, pet dander, and spilled food are all feasting grounds for bacteria, causing them to multiply out of control.

Steam cleaners are one of the most recommended ways to deep-clean and disinfect carpets. But let’s face it—buying or renting a steam cleaner is a big investment. 

So, if you don’t mind putting a little time and elbow grease into disinfecting your carpets, we’ll show you tested strategies for how to disinfect carpet without steam cleaners.

The Best Disinfecting Ingredients for Carpets

Most of the strategies we’ll share with you use natural products. Below are the reasons these products work.

1. White Vinegar

White vinegar is effective at killing and preventing the growth of some food-related pathogenic bacteria. Distilled white vinegar is among the best type of vinegar for its antibacterial properties, as it’ll kill E. coli, salmonella, and listeria monocytogenes.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda does a good job of neutralizing odors and digging up dirt because of its abrasiveness. According to a study on the antibacterial properties of baking soda, it’s most effective when combined with the detergent sodium dodecyl sulfate. 

3. Salt

Salt contains some bacteria-killing powers, as indicated in research that showed it reduced the amount of bacterial contamination on natural casings. Nevertheless, it’s best to pair salt with other antibacterial products to maximize your carpet cleaning.

4. Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a well-known antimicrobial product that can prevent the growth of certain bacteria and kill some microorganisms. It can also kill viruses, fungi, and spores. However, take care when using hydrogen peroxide on your carpet, as it may bleach the fibers.

5. Vodka

Vodka makes some viruses and bacteria die by inactivating their proteins. Furthermore, it’s an effective tool for removing carpet stains. The higher the vodka proof, the better it’ll disinfect your carpet. 

7 Ways to Disinfect Your Carpet Without a Steam Cleaner

Without further ado, below are seven effective strategies you can implement, including the ingredients and the process, when figuring out how to disinfect carpet without steam cleaners.

1. Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide Mixture

You can enjoy watching this solution bubble up as it digs in and kills the bacteria in your carpet.


  • Baking soda (as much as needed)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (1 cup)
  • Dish soap (¼ cup)
  • Eucalyptus essential oil (10 drops)
  • Warm water (2 cups)
  • Spray bottle
  • Latex gloves
  • Towels
  • Funnel


  1. Sprinkle baking soda onto your carpet.
  2. After 1+ hours, vacuum the baking soda.
  3. Put on latex gloves and mix all the ingredients (except the baking soda), pouring them into a spray bottle using a funnel.
  4. Evenly spray the mixture onto your carpet.
  5. After 30 minutes, use towels to pat it dry.

2. Lemon Oil and Vinegar Mixture

A refreshing way to make your home smell good as you disinfect your carpet.


  • White vinegar (1 cup)
  • Warm water (2 cups)
  • Salt (two tablespoons)
  • Lemon oil (12 drops)
  • Spray bottle


  1. Mix the ingredients and place them in a spray bottle.
  2. Spread the solution across your carpet.
  3. After 30 minutes or longer, vacuum the carpet once it’s dry.

3. Salt and Baking Soda Mixture

Salt and baking soda combine in this traditional disinfecting solution.


  • Baking soda (200 grams)
  • Salt (13 grams)
  • Vinegar (1 cup)
  • Warm water (1 cup)
  • Tea tree oil (20 drops)
  • Spray bottle


  1. Pour baking soda evenly over your carpet, leaving it on for 30 minutes to four hours.
  2. Add salt over the baking soda.
  3. Mix vinegar, warm water, and tea tree oil before spraying it over your carpet.
  4. After 30 minutes, vacuum to remove the baking soda and salt.

4. Vodka Mixture

If you can spare some precious vodka, this is an excellent germ-fighting solution.


  • Vodka
  • Spray bottle
  • Cloth


  1. Spray undiluted vodka evenly onto your carpet.
  2. After 30 minutes, pat your carpet dry with a cloth or paper towel. Don't rub the vodka into the rug if you’re trying to remove a stain.

5. Baking Soda and Dish Soap Mixture

Get your carpet sudsy and bacteria-free with this lavender-smelling solution.


  • Baking soda (200 grams)
  • Hot water (2 cups)
  • Dish soap (a few drops)
  • Lavender oil (15 drops)
  • Spray bottle


  1. Mix all ingredients into the spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mixture onto your carpet and let it sit.
  3. After a minimum of three hours, vacuum the dried baking soda.

6. Disinfecting Product

Countless carpet disinfectors exist on the market, and each one comes with its recommendations for application and how long to leave it on. However, below are the general steps you’ll follow when using a store-bought carpet disinfectant. This product sanitizes and disinfects carpets at the same time.


  1. Vacuum your carpet.
  2. Apply the product.
  3. Open a window and let the product air dry.

7. Apply Snow

Using snow for disinfecting carpets is not only unconventional, but it’s debatable how effective it is. However, snow contains ammonia from fertilizer and manure, which can help small dirt particles stick together. 


  • Snow


  1. Set your carpet outside and let it sit for 30 minutes to get cold.
  2. Place a layer of snow on top of the carpet.
  3. After 20 minutes, shake the snow out of the carpet.
  4. Let the carpet dry in your house and vacuum off the dirt.

What About Lysol?

Lysol might be able to clean your carpet, but we don’t recommend it for the following reasons:

  • You’d need to use a lot of it
  • It has a strong fragrance

So, if there’s a particular spot on your carpet you want to disinfect, and Lysol is your only option, it’s likely fine to use it as a one-time treatment. However, carpets require deep cleaning all over to remove germs, so using one of the strategies we talked about here is likely a better choice.

Are You Ready to Disinfect Your Carpet?

If you’re on the fence about whether to disinfect your carpet, the answer is easy—do it, but you don’t have to spend money on a steam cleaner. In fact, there are plenty of methods to disinfect a carpet.

By using one of the strategies we talked about here regarding how to disinfect carpet without steam cleaners, you’ll be on your way to an effective and potentially all-natural carpet cleanse.

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