Carpet can add an elegant, luxurious feel to your home. However, carpets also become a thriving spot for dirt, dust, crumbs, and bacteria — yuck.
Regular vacuuming is the best way to keep dirt at bay, but sometimes your carpet requires a deeper clean. This can be done quickly using a commercial product. But these often contain toxic chemicals and harsh perfumes.
Instead, why not try to DIY it with some of the best homemade carpet cleaners?
We’ve got eight different homemade carpet cleaners for you to try. Whether you need something for deep cleaning, something to remove gum stains, something for light-colored carpets, and more, we have lots of recipes!
Why Use a Homemade Carpet Cleaner?
Commercial products are effective and not too expensive, but we think homemade carpets cleaners are better. Here’s why:
One of the main reasons to make your own carpet cleaner is to save a few (or many) bucks. True, you can find commercial products at various price points. However, branded products tend to be priced higher.
On the other hand, homemade cleaners often consist of products already in your pantry. Plus, you can buy in bulk, saving you money in the long run.
2. Free of Dangerous Chemicals
Commercial carpet cleaners can be tricky to use since you have to test them before using them. It’s even more challenging if you have a specialized carpet, such as a Persian or shaggy.
We’ve found that you might need to test multiple products before finding “the one.” This is because of certain chemicals or hidden bleaches that discolor and damage the fibers.
However, when you make your own cleaner, you know what you put in it. You can ensure that it’s 100 percent free of bleach that could damage your colored carpet.
3. Better in Family Homes
If you have children, you know how tricky it can be to deep clean the house while the kids are home. This is due to obnoxious fumes or residues that linger in the fibers and can harm your children (1).
Most homemade carpet cleaners, in comparison, are natural and safe to be used around children. Again, you know exactly what goes into the solution, and you can make sure it’s safe.
People who struggle with allergies and asthma have difficulty using certain cleaners. It’s worth mentioning that not all “green” products are necessarily safe. So, people with allergies must be extra cautious about product ingredients when shopping.
Products containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are common triggers for allergies and asthma. They’re also known for causing asthma symptoms in people who don’t usually suffer from respiratory issues (2).
With homemade products, however, you can choose tolerable ingredients.
Best Homemade Carpet Cleaners
After seeing the different reasons why you should make your own carpet cleaner, it’s time to reveal our favorites. Some are original, while others are carpet shampoo and conditioner dupes.
Before using a cleaner, consider the color of your carpet and whether there are stains that need treatment. When cleaning colored carpets, you should always do a spot test to avoid discoloration.
Always start by vacuuming your carpet thoroughly to remove dirt and debris. This will help to make it easier and improve the end results.
If there are any stains or spills, clean these immediately to prevent them from settling. Use a clean cloth to blot any spills, starting from the edges, to avoid spreading.
Never Rub A Spill
Non-Toxic Homemade Spot Cleaner
If you have young children or furry friends, a non-toxic cleaner is the best choice. This recipe is easy to make, and you most likely have everything already.
Here’s what you need:
- Two cups of water
- One cup of distilled white vinegar
- Two teaspoons of salt
- 10 to 15 drops of essential oil (optional)
Homemade Spot Cleaner for Light-Colored Carpets
Light-colored or white carpets are more prone to stains. Luckily, you can use something a bit stronger since there are no patterns or bright colors to worry about.
Here’s what you need:
- 12 ounces of water
- Two ounces of hydrogen peroxide
- Five drops of essential oil (preferably lemon)
Simple Spot Cleaner
If you’ve accidentally spilled fruit juice on your carpet, don’t fret. Try this recipe. Here’s what you need:
- One teaspoon of dish soap (preferably clear to avoid staining)
- One cup warm water
Removing Stains from Colored Carpets
If you have a dark-colored carpet, you might be feeling a bit lost as to how you can remove a stain. However, this next recipe is perfectly safe and effective on colored fibers.
Here’s what you need:
- Cold water
Easy Gum and Wax Remover
Removing gum or wax from a carpet doesn’t need to be complicated. These issues are easily removed using ice and a dull tool.
Heavy-Duty Spot Remover
If you encounter particularly stubborn stains such as blood, use this recipe. Here’s what you need:
- Two ounces of ammonia
- Two ounces of vinegar
- Three gallons of water
- One tablespoon of dish soap
Homemade Carpet Deodorizer
Dirt, dust, and bacteria can cause a buildup of various odors within the fiber of your carpet. You might notice a musty odor or sour smell in the carpeted room.
This method also works wonders on pet accidents such as urine. The two powders will effectively absorb the urine while neutralizing the pungent odor.
Here’s what you need to make an easy carpet deodorizer:
- Eight ounces of corn starch
- Eight ounces of baking soda
- Five crushed bay leaves
Homemade Deep Cleaner for Carpets
The following method is excellent for when you need to deep clean your carpet. You can do this by hand or use a carpet cleaner for the easiest results.
Here’s what you need:
- Two ounces of an all-purpose cleaner, such as Lysol
- One tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent
- One teaspoon of fabric softener
- One scoop of OxiClean
- One gallon of hot water
Cleaning a Carpet Using a Steam Mop
When using a steam mop on carpets, you’ll need a carpet glider to navigate without resistance.
Before using a steam mop on your carpet, we highly recommend you check the manual. The steam might discolor or cause damage — this is especially important if you have a Berber carpet.
One advantage of a steam mop is that it doesn’t require any cleaning solution. All you need to do is fill the water reservoir with tap, distilled, or demineralized water.
A major difference between steam mops and carpet cleaning machines is the amount of moisture left behind. Carpet cleaners will extract most liquids, leaving your carpet nearly dry. However, a steam mop doesn’t have that function — you must dry the carpet thoroughly afterward.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Carpets
Although creating your own cleaning solution at home is easy, you should still be cautious. Certain ingredients should never be used on carpets to avoid damage. Here are a few things to avoid:
- Abrasive tools: Stiff brushes or steel wool should never be used on a carpet. While you might feel inclined to scrub as hard as possible when working on a stain, take a breather. Abrasive tools can damage the fibers and leave them damaged.
- Bleach: If you have colored or dark carpet, avoid bleach. The strong chemicals will discolor the fibers and ruin your carpet.
- Over-wetting: When you’re cleaning your carpet, avoid using too much water. If water soaks into the backing or pad of the carpet, it could shrink (8). Drying the carpet afterward will also become a tremendous job that you should do within 48 hours to avoid mold.