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How to Remove Ground In Dirt From Carpets [3 Methods]

Written by Kaylee Barber |

how to get ground in dirt out of carpet

Are you struggling to clean dirt from your carpet? Here are three methods for removing ground in dirt and refreshing your carpet’s appearance.

It’s inevitable that carpets get dirty. Vacuuming, taking off your shoes, and washing pet’s paws can delay it, but in the long-term every carpet suffers from ground in dirt.

Once dirt has been pushed deep in carpet fibres, your vacuum won’t be able to remove it. Instead, you’ll need a more targeted cleaning method. Here are three examples that can remove ground in dirt.

Important: Carpets vary in material and design, so it’s important to test any new cleaning method on a small patch of hidden carpet before using it on a wider area. Wait at least 24 hours to check that the carpet’s colour hasn’t been affected.

1. Clean the Affected Area With Washing Up Liquid

One of the easiest ways to clean ground in dirt is with a mixture of washing up liquid and water.

You don’t need much washing up liquid for this. A quarter teaspoon of washing up liquid added to around 250ml of plain water is plenty. You should also give the floor a quick vacuum before you start to get rid of loose dirt.

Once you’ve made the solution, add a small amount to a clean, white cloth and start using it to gently work the affected carpet fibres. Start from the outside and work inwards to prevent the stain from spreading further. We don’t recommend spraying the mixture on the carpet directly, as you don’t want to oversaturate it.

When you’ve covered the whole area, let the washing up liquid sit in the carpet for 3-5 minutes, before blotting it up with a different dry cloth (make sure it’s white). Always blot a carpet rather than rub to prevent damage.

To get rid of any remaining solution and dirt, give the area a rinse with cold water and blot it dry again with a different cloth. Then allow the area to fully air dry before covering it.

Finally, when the patch of carpet is completely dry, give it another vacuum.

Tip: You can also use a commercial carpet cleaning product for this method. These are more expensive than using washing up liquid though – and may not be any more effective.

2. Clean Dirt With White Vinegar

White vinegar is another DIY cleaning product that you can use to clean carpets. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Vacuum the patch of dirt to remove any loose debris. This makes it easier for the white vinegar to work.
  2. Create a white vinegar solution by combining it with water in a 1:3 ratio (i.e. three parts water, one part white vinegar.)
  3. Use a spray bottle to apply the white vinegar to your carpet. You don’t want to oversaturate the carpet – just spray until the area is damp, not wet.
  4. Allow the solution to sit in the carpet for around five minutes.
  5. Blot up the vinegar with a white microfibre cloth. As we mentioned in the previous section, always blot – never rub!
  6. Let the carpet completely air dry. Once it’s dry, vacuum the area again.

3. Rent a Carpet Cleaning Machine

The two DIY tips above are great for treating small patches of ground in dirt, but they are inefficient for cleaning large areas of carpet. They also provide a gentle clean that might not get deep into the fibres.

So, if your carpet has patches of heavy soiling or is covered in ground in dirt, then you’ll probably need a carpet cleaning machine. These provide a much deeper clean that can break down patches of dirt and leave your carpet looking refreshed.

The good news is that you probably won’t need to buy a carpet cleaner. Most people only clean their carpets once every 1-2 years, so it’s more cost efficient to rent one. In the UK, this usually costs around £25 for a day of usage.

Before you begin, make sure that your carpet is suitable for deep cleaning. Most carpets are, but you should check with the manufacturer to avoid damage and potentially invalidating your warranty.

Next, you should thoroughly read the instructions for your carpet cleaning machine. Every machine works slightly differently, although you’ll usually be applying a pre-treatment before slowly rolling the machine over the affected area to remove dirt.

Once you’ve finished cleaning the carpet, open all the windows and doors to help the carpet dry faster.

Tip: You may also want to consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. These companies have access to higher-quality and more effective machines, along with the expertise to remove even the most ground in dirt.

Tips for Preventing Ground In Dirt

Prevention is always better than a cure, so here are some tips for minimising the amount of dirt that gets stuck in your carpet:

  • Always take your shoes off at the front door and ask guests to do the same. This prevents the majority of ground in dirt from entering your home.
  • Add doormats to the front and back doors to catch dirt before it enters the home.
  • Vacuum your carpet twice per week. This removes most dirt before it can become ground into the carpet.
  • Clean dirty patches as you find them, rather than waiting for a big occasional clean. The longer dirt is in your carpet, the deeper it’ll be ground into the fibres.


Ground in dirt can be difficult to remove from carpets – but the methods above should help you to remove even the most stubborn patches of dirt.

If you’re not sure which method to try, we recommend using the washing up liquid method first. This is a cheap and easy carpet cleaning technique that can be very effective at removing dirt.

Remember to test any cleaning method on a small patch of hidden carpet though! You don’t want to use a method on a large area, only to find that it’s caused discolouration or damage.

Do you have any questions about how to remove ground in dirt from carpets? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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