There are many benefits to making your own carpet cleaner. For one, it’s an inexpensive alternative to branded cleaning products or professional cleaning services. If you already have common household staples like vinegar, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid in your home, then you’ve got pretty much everything you need to make your own carpet cleaning solution.
Cleaning your carpet regularly (instead of just spot cleaning to remove the occasional carpet stain) is imperative, especially if you have kids, as it can help prevent common respiratory illnesses and health problems associated with bacteria, fungi, mold, and other harmful elements and organisms that are normally found in dirty carpets.
To get you started on making your own homemade carpet cleaner, we’ve compiled some useful recipes and tips to help you keep your investment clean and to ensure a healthier home.
Recipes for Homemade Carpet Cleaners
Once you have the ingredients you need for your homemade carpet cleaner, you’ll need to know the exact measurements for each. Here are some recipes you can try out.
Dishwashing Liquid, Vinegar, and Baking Soda
- small spray bottle
- 1 tsp. dishwashing liquid
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 tsp. baking soda
Combine dishwashing liquid, vinegar, and warm water in a spray bottle. Then, carefully add the baking soda into the bottle, mix the solution, and quickly screw on the top before the foam from the chemical reaction rises and spills out.
Another variation of this recipe uses white vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and water—either one would work well. It all depends on what you have on hand.
How to Use:
After vacuuming your carpet, spray your cleaner onto the soiled areas and gently rub it with the abrasive side of your sponge. Rub the dry towel gently on the spot (using dabbing and wiping motions) until it’s completely clean.
For spot cleaning mild stains, mix white vinegar and baking soda until it becomes a paste, then carefully rub the mixture on the stain using an old toothbrush. Leave to dry. Don’t forget to vacuum up the remaining bits of baking soda off your carpet once the paste has dried.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used on wine or chocolate stains, which are tougher to remove.
Dishwashing Liquid, Vinegar, Ammonia, and Solvents
Whether you have a synthetic carpet or one made with natural fibers like wool and silk, these solutions should do the trick:
- Dishwashing Liquid Solution: Mix ¼ teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap with 1 cup of lukewarm water for synthetic carpets; use just 1 teaspoon for natural fiber carpets.
- Vinegar Solution: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water for synthetic carpets; ¼ cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of water for natural-fiber carpets.
- Ammonia Solution: This only applies to fiber carpets. Just a mix of 1 tablespoon of clear household ammonia and ½ cup of lukewarm water will do wonders for your carpet.
- Solvent Solution: You can use either an oil solvent or any non-acetone nail polish remover to remove stains from both types of carpets.
How to Use:
Spray the solution onto any problem areas. Rub the solution in and buff the dirt out with a dry cloth.
Vinegar, Salt, and Lavender Essential Oil
Want to go all natural? You’ll need only three ingredients:
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
The white vinegar and salt are a great combination for removing stains, while the lavender essential oil helps combat smells and eliminate bacteria and viruses.
In a spray bottle, mix vinegar and two cups of water, then add the salt and lavender oil into the mixture. Shake the bottle to ensure that all your ingredients are well-combined.
How to Use:
This solution is also great for spot cleaning, so spray and rub as needed to remove tough stains without ruining your carpet.
Baking Soda, Cornstarch, and Borax
You may also want to try this homemade carpet cleaning solution that uses eco-friendly ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups baking soda
- ½ cup cornstarch
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. whole cloves
- 1 tbsp. Borax (optional)
- sprinkle-top container
The bay leaves and whole cloves add fragrance to your carpet and offer antibacterial cleaning powers. And while Borax is not actually eco-friendly, it’s a common component found in many store-bought cleaning solutions and can give your solution an extra ounce of power.
Start off by measuring the ingredients and adding them to a blender, then put it on a low pulse setting until the cleaner reaches an even consistency. Pour it into a sprinkle-top container.
How to Use:
Sprinkle a generous amount of it all over the carpet with a mesh strainer. Let it sit for at least two hours or overnight. Once the mixture settles in and absorbs the dirt, you can now vacuum your carpet.
Brown Sugar and Lemon Peels
Another homemade carpet cleaner that has eco-friendly ingredients is the homemade lemon enzyme cleaner. It uses brown sugar to help mask the odor from your carpet and lemon peels to cleanse and deodorize your carpet. You can make one with the following items:
- 2 liter plastic bottle
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 300 grams lemon peels or citrus scraps
- 1 liter tap water
To use, simply pour the sugar and add the lemon peels and water into the plastic bottle. Put the lid on it and shake it, then slightly release the lid so it’s only half closed tight. After three months, strain the concentrated solution through a muslin cloth and store.
How to Use:
Transfer just enough of it to a plastic container and dilute it with a little more water. You can use a toothbrush or dry cloth to transfer some of the solution onto the carpet and soak any minor to moderate stains.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Lemon Essential Oil
- hydrogen peroxide bottle (50% solution, 50% water)
- 5 drops of lemon essential oil
- spray bottle
Hydrogen peroxide uses oxygen to break bonds between bacteria, dirt, and the surface of your carpet, while the lemon essential oil helps release the sticky particles on it.
Use a bottle of hydrogen peroxide with only ⅓ of the substance in left it, then fill the remaining ⅔ of the bottle with water. Add 5 drops of lemon essential oil to the mixture and give the bottle a light shake. Transfer the solution into a spray bottle.
How to Use:
Generously spray the mixture on your carpet. After setting the mixture for a minute or so, use a scrub brush to loosen its fibers. Finally, wipe the carpet with a rag to blot out any liquid.
Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar
- hydrogen peroxide
- white vinegar
- 2 spray bottles
These substances eliminate germs and other bacteria by disinfecting areas and neutralizing odors. However, when you mix them together, they create a weak form of pre-acetic acid that can be dangerous when inhaled or absorbed by your skin. Therefore, it’s best to have them in separate bottles and use them one at a time when cleaning your carpet—and of course, wear gloves!
How to Use:
Pour the substances in separate (preferably labeled) spray bottles. Targeting the stain, spray one substance right after the other. After that, let your carpet absorb both solutions but don’t rub the stain. Instead, blot it with a paper towel or clean cloth.
Glycerin and Baking Soda
- 2 tsp. eucalyptus oil
- 2 tsp. glycerin
- 2 tbsp. vinegar
- 2 tbsp. baking soda
- 2 tbsp. methylated spirits
Glycerin is a sweet, clear, odorless liquid at room temperature. It’s also an acid that serves as a good solvent and absorbent, which makes it very effective in removing stains. On the other hand, baking (bicarbonate) soda eliminates the foul smell from your carpet. All you have to do is pour all ingredients into a spray bottle and shake it well to mix the ingredients together.
How to Use:
Spray the mixture on carpet stains and rub them with a pantyhose. If you want to clean your whole carpet, cover your broom head with a pantyhose, spray the mixture on it, and then sweep the floor.
Tips for Using Homemade Carpet Cleaners
Here are some tips to keep in mind when using homemade carpet cleaners:
- Be very, very cautious when using any homemade solution on handcrafted antique rugs. When in doubt, seek professional advice or opt for professional carpet cleaning services.
- Even with all-natural ingredients, you want to make sure that the substances you’re using won’t come into contact with your eyes or skin to avoid irritation.
- Don’t allow your children or your pets to step on the carpet while you’re cleaning it, especially if you’re using hydrogen peroxide. It’s poisonous and can be harmful if accidentally ingested.
- Conduct a spot test with your homemade cleaner and check your carpet for any signs of color bleeding before proceeding.
- You can also use a steam cleaner in conjunction with your chosen cleaning solution.
- If using a steam cleaner, read the manual to check if you can use it along with your cleaning mixture. This is to prevent future defects, and to ensure that you don’t void your warranty.
- You can also use your homemade carpet cleaner to clean your furniture, sinks, your car’s interior, and other upholstery.
By cleaning your carpet regularly with a homemade carpet cleaning solution, you’ll not only save money, but also safeguard the health and wellness of your family. Using readily available household staples is also better for the environment, making it a win-win situation for Mother Nature and your household.