How to Clean a Carpet Without a Vacuum: Sweepers, Brooms, and More

These age-old methods still clean thoroughly

Person using a broom to sweep an area rug

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

When it's time to clean a carpeted room or even a large area rug, it's common to turn to an upright or canister vacuum. But what if you don't have a vacuum, it's broken, or someone in your household is asleep and you don't want to make noise? Cleaning a carpet without a vacuum cleaner is possible. There are ways to sweep some carpets clean, for example. Read on for other effective solutions to help you clean your carpet minus a machine.

  • 01 of 07

    Broom and Dustpan

    Person using a broom and dustpan to clean and area rug mess

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Sweep a carpet with the right broom, dustpan, and a bit of elbow grease to remove dirt and debris. The bottom of the broom should have stiff bristles like Libman's Precision Angle Broom to effectively loosen and lift away the dirt from the carpet pile. You can use a small dustpan or one with a handle to reduce the need to bend.

    Start at one end or corner of the carpet and work toward the other end to avoid missing areas. Use short, quick strokes. If debris begins to pile up, sweep it into the dustpan before you reach the end of the job.

    When using a broom and dustpan to clean a carpet, plan on dusting after the carpet is cleaned. Using a broom will cause dust to become airborne and float freely in the air, resulting in the need to dust furniture and shelves as a final task, but do so after the dust has settled back down.


    You can clean a fluffy carpet without a vacuum by using these methods. You may need go another step to refresh the fluff after sweeping or brushing, though. Try lightly spraying flattened areas and blowing them out with a hair dryer. Don't leave the carpet wet or damp.

  • 02 of 07

    Carpet Sweeper

    Person using a carpet sweeper to clean a rug

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    A manual carpet sweeper is a great cleaning tool to have on hand. The difference between a carpet sweeper and a vacuum is that a sweeper does not require electricity. There are other benefits of a sweeper: Tt costs much less than a vacuum, there are no settings to deal with, and it is quick and simple to use. The only con about a carpet sweeper is that it might be tough to maneuver on high-pile carpeting and as a result, it can leave dirt and debris behind that a vacuum would normally pick up.

    Operated with the same motions you would use with an automatic vacuum, the sweepers work on carpet using two or more electrostatic rollers that travel over the carpet to pick up dust, pet hair, and debris. The collected dirt drops into the attached bin until you empty it over a trash can. Most sweepers can be used on carpets as well as on hard surface floors.

  • 03 of 07

    Carpet and Rug Beater

    Person using a carpet beater

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    If you can take your carpet or rug outside and hang it over a clothesline, porch railing, fence, or even heavy furniture, a carpet and rug beater will remove an amazing amount of dirt. Often made of rattan, a rug beater has a sturdy handle and a wide paddle at the end. Start at the top of the carpet and take out all of your frustrations as you see the dust fly away. Be sure to beat both sides of the carpet for the best results.

    You can also use the rug beater to fluff and remove dust from upholstered furniture cushions.


    If you have an old tennis racket, put it to use as a carpet beater. It will work great and you might even improve your backhand swing.

  • 04 of 07

    Stiff-bristled Scrub Brush

    Person using a scrub brush to clean a rug

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    If you want to clean your carpet by hand, use a stiff-bristled scrub brush to remove dust and debris. It's best if you can move the carpet outside and hang it over a sturdy support. Start at the top and methodically work your way down the surface of the carpet pile using short, quick strokes. Clean away hair and debris from the brush often while you are cleaning the carpet.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Carpet Sticky Roller

    Person using a sticky roller to clean a rug

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    A carpet sticky roller works on carpet just like a lint roller pulls lint and hair away from clothes. The long handle makes cleaning easy and the wide roller has sticky sheets that can be peeled off and tossed as they become coated with dirt. This is an ideal tool to be able to clean carpet stairs without having to lug around a heavy vacuum. The rollers are also particularly useful for capturing pet hair from carpets and upholstery.


    Don't leave a carpet lint roller on the carpet for long periods (hours or days). The sticky substance on the roller might leave a residue on the fibers where it is resting.

  • 06 of 07


    Person shaking a rug outdoors

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    For small rugs and especially fluffy carpets, an open door or window and a good shaking will work wonders to remove dust and dirt. After shaking, beat the rug on a sturdy railing to help loosen even more dirt.

  • 07 of 07

    Wash the Rug

    Person cleaning a throw rug in the washer

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Unless your rug has a tag that clearly states it should be dry-cleaned or spot cleaned only, most throw rugs can be washed, even those with a rubber backing.

    A front-loading washer or top-loading washer without a center agitator works best for rugs to prevent damage during the final spin. If the rug is too large for your washer, visit a laundromat where the machines have more capacity for big items.