Wondering how to make homemade carpet cleaner—and how difficult it is to do so? I was wondering the same thing after reading the foreign sounding ingredients on the backside of a store-bought bottle. Now that I know how easy it is to make your own carpet cleaner, I’m never going back to anything else.
It’s a Good Idea to Make Your Own Carpet Cleaner
Most of us have a bottle of spray carpet cleaner stored with our other cleaning supplies. These products promise to get out a wide variety of stains on all types of carpet and upholstery. Isn’t this a lofty claim? How can one product get out every carpet stain? Isn’t there a difference between mud and ink? Would the same product get out blood and milk? What magical solution removes stains from wine AND grape juice? Ok- that may be a bad example.
Instead of using the same product on every different type of stain, you may consider using household products to create your own cleaner to target particular kinds of stain. You may find you are more able to remove the unwanted spot with these homemade concoctions.
Maybe you are happy with your store-bought carpet cleaner. For the type of traffic you receive on your carpet, your store-bought cleaner works well. But have you ever run out of carpet stain cleaner at an inconvenient time? What if the neighbor kid’s cherry Kool-Aid is spreading on your light colored rug, and you don’t have time to run to the store? You may need to rely on household cleaners to get the stain out before it sets.
Top Related Article: How to Use a Carpet Cleaner
Another reason to consider making your own carpet cleaner is that sometimes a solution you make will be less toxic and harmful to the residents of your house than some cleaners you purchase at the store. Take a moment to look at the ingredients and warnings on some of the detergents in your cabinet. Which products recommend that you wear gloves while using? Do you? Have you looked up what kind of effects some of those 13-syllable words can have on our health and our environment? Sometimes homemade recipes can be better for us than what we purchase at the store. Know what you are doing though. Mixing some solutions (even natural ones) can lead to a toxic or dangerous situation.
What follows first are general recipes for products you can make out of household products to use for general cleaning and freshening of carpets. After those recipes, read on to discover which household chemicals work on specific stains. Regardless, you will be happy to find out how to make your own carpet cleaner.
The Recipes: how to make homemade carpet cleaner
There are a variety of recipes available for carpet cleaners. Many can be made with household products. Some are pastes or dry solutions while others are liquids. Some are treatments to freshen your carpet, while others attempt to get out stains.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Odor-fighting
In a container, place two cups baking soda, ½ cup cornstarch, 1-tablespoon soap flakes or powder, 30 drops of lemon (or another citrus) essential oil, and 30 drops of tea tree essential oil. Stir the mixture until a damp powder forms. Let the mixture sit for several hours for the powder to soak up some of the wetness of the oils. Sprinkle the solution over your carpet, upholstery, or mattress. Let the powder sit on the surface for at least an hour before vacuuming. Enjoy a fresh-smelling room.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Carpet Cleaning Machines
Although most manufacturer instructions recommend purchasing and using their own liquid solution in their machines, some disregard those instructions. Many times the solution is expensive, and for those trying to watch every penny, making a homemade solution makes the most sense.
If you are trying to remove the every-day soil from your carpet, consider mixing equal parts white vinegar with warm water. Add the mixed solution to your carpet cleaning machines.
Does this simple solution not seem to cut it? Are your carpets still dingy? Try this solution:
Fill the water reservoir one-half full of warm water. Add one cup of rubbing alcohol and one capful of Lysol concentrate in with the water. Fill the rest of the container with white vinegar.
Another carpet cleaning solution includes ammonia in its list of ingredients. Add three teaspoons of clear dishwashing liquid, ¼ cup of ammonia, and ¼ cup of vinegar to two or three gallons of water. Be careful when cleaning with ammonia. Make sure you are using it in a well-ventilated area.
Related Article: Lightweight Vacuum Cleaners
Many homemade solutions include OxiClean. Consider trying this one. In a bucket, combine two tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent, ¼ of all-purpose liquid cleaner, one scoop of OxiClean, one teaspoon of fabric softener, and one gallon of hot water. Mix the solution and run this through your carpet cleaning machine.
Another ingredient people swear by is hydrogen peroxide. Consider making this recipe for your carpet cleaning machine. Merely pour ¾ cup of hydrogen peroxide in the receptacle. Add 1 ½ cups of water and five drops of lemon essential oil.
It should go without saying that it is essential to do a spot test before cleaning your entire carpet with any cleaner, homemade or store bought. This is especially true if you are using the previous recipe that lists hydrogen peroxide as an ingredient. To test, pick an inconspicuous area of the carpet. Consider a spot that will always be covered with a piece of furniture. Spray the cleaner on the section of the carpet. Wait 24 hours. After one day, check the spot for color changes or other damage. If you notice a color change, even a slight one, do not use the cleaner on the rest of your carpets.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Stain Fighting Powers
No matter if you use a commercial carpet cleaner or a homemade recipe, it is important to remember the following techniques when trying to remove a stain from your carpet.
- Blot the spill.
- Work from the outside edge of the stain to the inside.
- If the spill just happened, use a clean cloth or paper towels and push down on the liquid to soak it up.
- After your liquid is absorbed in paper towels or cloth towels, spray your cleaner on the stain. Allow the cleaner to sit for fifteen minutes.
- Begin the blotting process again.
Hopefully, this time as you blot, you will see more of the stain leaving the carpet.
What NOT to Do When You Spill on Carpet
Do not throw a fit. Life’s too short to sweat over a spot on the rug. Instead of crying, consider quoting Shakespeare, and say: “Out, damn spot!” It’s ok to cuss because you are quoting Shakespeare while you do it, and because of this, the cussing doesn’t count.
Next, remember NOT to rub the spot vigorously back and forth. This motion will spread the stain to a larger area. Aggressively rubbing the area can also cause the carpet fibers to break down, and besides a stain, you will now have a damaged circle of carpet. Rubbing the area will also cause the stain to infiltrate the carpet fibers more than if you had blotted them out in the first place.
So far, we have discussed general carpet cleaning tips and recipes for cleaners. But wouldn’t specific ingredients fight against stains better than others? Stain fighting uses chemistry, so instead of spraying any combination of ingredients on the spot on the carpet, why not pinpoint which would be best for your situation? Read on to discover some of the best practices to get out specific stains.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Beer and Wine
Use either club soda or vinegar and water to get out stains from beer and wine. Instead of pouring club soda directly on the spot, pour some of the soda on a clean cloth. Use this cloth to blot the area stained with beer or wine, keeping in mind to work from the outside of the stain to the center. If this doesn’t work, spray a mixture of white vinegar and water onto the area. Use a clean sponge or rag to soak up the liquid from the carpet.
Even after you think you have gotten all the liquid out of the carpet, get another clean, dry towel to place over the area. Press it down with something substantial, like a stack of phone books. (After you are finished with the phone books to get out the stain, consider recycling them. You really don’t need to keep phone books around anymore.)
Related: Best Canister Vacuums
Oddly enough, some sources say that red wine stains can be removed by pouring white wine on it. Obviously, these sources may not be accurate. All that wine in the house and access to the internet often can lead to inaccurate articles and other shenanigans.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Blood
Hopefully, you never end up with blood stains on your carpet. If you do, it is a good idea to be prepared. First, loosen up the dried blood with a carpet cleaning detergent. Blot the cleaning solution from the area. Next add hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain. Dab the hydrogen peroxide with a clean cloth to remove the liquid and hopefully the blood with it.
Lemon juice can also be used for those pesky and prevalent blood stains. The natural acidity in lemon juice works as a bleaching agent. The added benefit of using lemon juice is that it will leave your house smelling fresh and clean, but having a fresh smelling home is the least of your problems if you have blood on your carpet.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Grease
Another tricky substance to remove from carpet is grease. To help remove grease stains, use dishwashing soap that is marketed to cut through grease, such as Dawn. Spray a water/detergent solution to the area and dab up the excess with a clean, dry cloth. You may need to repeat this process several times to get the grease out of your carpet.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Gum
Gum can be tricky to remove from any soft surface. If you find yourself with gum on your carpet or upholstery, head to the freezer for an ice cube. Apply the ice directly to the gum and wait for it to freeze. Once the gum is frozen, it should be easier to remove the sticky substance from the carpet fibers.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Candle Wax
Candle wax on your carpet or any other soft surface should be no cause for alarm. Place a clean, light-colored towel over the wax and press the area with a heated iron. The heat from the iron will melt the wax and allow you to scrape it off the carpet fibers using a butter knife. Do not place the iron directly on the carpet. You could melt your polyester carpet, and then you will wish that you just would have left the wax on your carpet in the first place.
Related: Best Commercial Vacuum Cleaner
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Coffee or Tea
Some say pouring beer directly over a coffee or tea spill will remove the stain. This seems like a waste of beer to me.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Ink
Other sources say applying a paste made of milk and cornstarch to an inky area can clear up stains. Apparently, cornstarch can also be used on oil stains as well.
Many of my childhood memories involve my Grandma carrying around a can of WD-40, but I don’t remember her using it to clean her carpets. Apparently, ink stains can be removed with this miracle substance.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Vomit
At the risk of being gross, the best cleaner to use is entirely dependent on the last meal the person who vomited ate. Sorry for going there. Since most of us don’t have access to the pink powder grade school custodians use to clean up vomit, we have to rely on baking soda. First, wipe up most of the vomit with paper towels, and then sprinkle baking soda over the affected area. Dab the area with a paper towel and then vacuum.
Related: Best Robot Vacuum
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Remove Rust
Placing a paste made with baking soda and water over rust stains can help leave your carpet as clean as can be.
How to make homemade carpet cleaner: Water-soluble Stains
Water-soluble stains, such as stains involving mud, some beverages, or food that melts can be removed with a solution made of water and white vinegar.
Is there anything more satisfying than removing a stubborn stain? Does it make you feel like Wonder Woman or Super Man? No? Well, me either. That would be ridiculous.