It’s inevitable; your carpet is going to become dirty, no matter how hard you try to keep it clean. Your kids and pets, along with those who forget to take off their shoes, track dirt into your home.

While this may initially go unnoticed, when enough grime gets into your carpet it can become hard to hide. If you don’t have a steam cleaner, and can’t afford to rent one, there are ways to clean carpet by hand. Here are five tips for how to clean carpet by hand without a machine.

How To Clean your Carpet
Carpet is a popular flooring choice because it adds an air of warmth and is so soft underfoot. It’s also an excellent option for allergy sufferers, as carpet fibers can hold on to allergens, reducing the amount of dust in the air. However, dirty and stained carpeting won’t improve the looks of your home, nor will it help with your resale value or getting your security deposit returned. That’s why it’s important to know how to clean carpet properly.

How Often Should You Clean Your Carpet?
When it comes to routine maintenance, you should clean high-traffic areas once or twice a week, assuming you live in an active home. For areas with less use, every other week should suffice.
Everyday Carpet Cleaning Tips
You’ll need two things: a vacuum and baking soda.

Lightly sprinkle the baking soda on your carpet before you vacuum to neutralize any unpleasant odors. Additionally, address any spills or stains as soon as they happen to prevent them from setting in and ruining your carpets.
Deep-Cleaning Carpet Tips
There are four main types of carpeting that you’ll find in a home: Berber, nylon, olefin or wool. When determining how to clean your carpet, you need to know which material you’re working with. The material will decide what products you use and which solutions should be avoided at all costs. There are two methods for cleaning a carpet.

  1. Using a carpet-cleaning machine
    You can rent professional-grade carpet cleaners at many grocery or hardware stores. The machine should be labeled with user instructions, as well as the recommended cleaning products. Before cleaning your carpet with a machine, you need to do three things:
    Make sure you’ve properly budgeted the time to clean your carpet and let it dry thoroughly. (You’ll probably need a full weekend.)
    Check to be certain that the machine and product you select are safe to use on your carpeting.
    Perform a spot test on a small inconspicuous area. Let this dry completely before cleaning all of your carpet so you can ensure there won’t be any discoloration or other damage.
  2. Calling a professional carpet- cleaning service
    If you’re not certain what material your carpeting is made of, it’s a good idea to call a professional like ServiceMaster Clean. After all, carpet isn’t something you can easily replace if it’s ruined by the wrong cleaning agent. Better to be safe than sorry.

A carpet-cleaning professional will be better able to determine what your carpet is made from and find a product that will be less likely to result in damage.

Unfortunately, there’s no simple DIY hack for a detailed carpet cleaning. However, you can get your DIY fix by learning how to clean area rugs at home.