Mud poses a cleaning conundrum when it comes to carpeting: Improper cleaning may spread the mess around, but waiting until the mud dries may also result in dirt in other areas of the carpet if it gets tracked around. Ultimately, waiting until the mud dries allows you pick most of it up without cleaners or chemicals of any kind; follow up with a mild soap treatment.
If the mud is so messy that large clumps of it are on the carpet, lift the larger chunks away with a paper towel or by grabbing them with a rubber glove. Resist the desire to wipe away the rest of the mud, as it may push the mud deeper into the carpet or spread the stain around. Instead, wait until the area dries completely, reminding others to stay away from the area in the meantime. Block the area off, if necessary, to keep pets and young children away.
Once the mud has morphed into dirt, vacuum the area, allowing the vacuum cleaner to sit over each dirty spot for at least several seconds to pick up sunken debris. Vacuum from several different angles to pick up all the dirt. If you still see some dirt clinging to the carpet fibers, grab a large plastic spoon or a gift card and rub the fibers back and forth to loosen the stuck-on debris. Vacuum the loosened material.
Wash It Away
Dish soap helps remove any remaining dirt stuck on the carpet fibers. Mix a squirt of liquid dish soap into a cup of warm water; then dip a white cloth into the liquid. Blot the dirty spots, holding the cloth atop the carpet for several seconds each time. Check the cloth frequently and rotate it to prevent putting dirt back onto the carpet. Wipe the area again with a rinsed white cloth; then blot up as much moisture as possible with a fresh white cloth.
A mixture of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle helps remove any remaining residue tracked in from outdoors. Spray the affected area; then blot the spot with a dry white cloth. Continue blotting and dabbing, checking the cloth frequently for absorbed dirt. Rotate to a fresh area of the cloth as it becomes dirty.