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8 Best Homemade Carpet Cleaners: DIY Options to Try

Make your own carpet cleaner with these eight recipes.

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!

Key Takeaways

  • Homemade carpet cleaners are affordable, free of dangerous chemicals, better for family homes, and allergy-friendly.
  • Non-toxic homemade spot cleaner can be made with water, distilled white vinegar, salt, and essential oil (optional).
  • Homemade spot cleaner for light-colored carpets uses water, hydrogen peroxide, and lemon essential oil.
  • Simple spot cleaner is made with just dish soap and warm water for fruit juice spills.

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:

1. Affordable

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.

4. Allergy-Friendly

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.

First Steps

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

Your first instinct might be to rub the spill as hard as possible. However, this will do more harm than good. Rubbing a spill will only work it further into the fibers, making it more difficult to remove. Always blot!
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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)

How to Use

1. Mix the Ingredients

Start by mixing water and vinegar in a spray bottle. Next, add salt and essential oils and mix well.

You can use any essential oil you like. The point is to create a pleasant scent in your carpet. If you like citrus, go for lemon or grapefruit. If you want a calming scent, go for lavender. Just be cautious if you have pets, as many essential oils are toxic to them.

Salt is a mildly abrasive cleaner that works effectively at removing stubborn stains. When combined with vinegar, it creates an unstoppable stain-fighter. This mixture works effectively at removing food stains such as grease and even rust (3).

2. Spray

Locate the grimiest spots on your carpet and give them several good spritzes of your solution. Allow the cleaner to sit on the carpet for a few moments while the ingredients work their magic.

3. Scrub

Get out a carpet brush or any other with stiff bristles and scrub using back and forth motions. Allow the area to dry once you’re done. Then finish off with a vacuum to remove excess solution and particles.

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)

How to Use

1. Mix

In a spray bottle, combine water and hydrogen peroxide. Add the essential oil and give it a good shake to mix well.

2. Treat the Spot

Spray a generous amount of solution directly onto the spot or stain. Allow it to sit for a little while to work.

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent alternative to harsh bleach like chlorine. It works effectively at removing stains such as blood (4). The essential oil will add a fresh scent, and the lemon will further help to break up grease.

3. Scrub

After the solution sits on the stains, use a soft brush to scrub the area until the stains are gone.

4. Rinse

Use a slightly damp cloth to rinse the area. Blot the spot to get rid of the residue left by the stain.

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

How to Use

1. Combine the Ingredients

Start by mixing water and dish soap in a bucket or container. Give it a good mix to combine well.

2. Rub

Dip a sponge in the soapy water and rub the area thoroughly. Try to wring the sponge as much as you can, leaving it moist but not dripping wet.

Continue rubbing until the stain is gone. If the stains are stubborn or dry, leave the solution to sit for 10 minutes before rubbing.

3. Remove Excess Water

Use a clean cloth or towel to blot up excess moisture. You can also use paper towels — just be prepared to use a lot.

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:

  • Salt
  • Cold water

How to Use

1. Remove Moisture from Stain

If the stain is still wet, start by blotting it using a cloth or paper towel. Start at the edges and work your way towards the center of the stain. This will prevent the spot from spreading as you’re blotting.

2. Sprinkle Salt

Sprinkle a generous amount of salt onto the stain. You can use any type of salt for this — fine grain, such as table salt, is very effective. Leave it to sit for up to five minutes.

3. Apply Cold Water

Pour a small amount of cold water onto the salt and scrub using a soft brush. The salt is mildly abrasive and will do most of the work. However, we found that helping it along with a brush creates the best result.

4. Rinse and Blot Dry

Pour additional cold water onto the stain and finish by blotting the dry area. Use a clean cloth or paper towels to remove excess water and salt.

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.

How to Use

1. Apply Ice

Apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas to the gum or wax. Allow it to sit until the substance is frozen solid.


Don’t use ice cubes as these will melt and can cause the gum or wax to become even more difficult to remove.
2. Scrape

Use a dull tool such as a butter knife or spoon to scrape off the gum or wax gently. If it has left a stain, try blotting it with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide on a paper towel. This should lift the stain.

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

How to Use

1. Mix

Combine water, ammonia, vinegar, and dish soap in a large bucket. Give it a slight stir with a spoon to combine well.

Stay Safe

Ammonia can create noxious fumes that can harm your lungs, eyes, and skin. Protect yourself with gloves, goggles, and a plastic apron. Keep the room well-ventilated (5).
2. Treat the Stains

Dip a brush or sponge in the solution and wring out excess moisture. Scrub the stains thoroughly until you see them start to disappear.

You can also pour some of the solution into a spray bottle to make application easier.

3. Rinse

Use a clean sponge dipped in water to rinse excess ammonia off the fibers. Then use a blot and lift motion to get the most out. Finally, dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.

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

How to Use

1. Combine Ingredients

Start by combining all of the ingredients in a container or bowl. You can also mix them in a shaker to make the application easier. However, the bay leaves need to be fine so as not to clog the holes.

2. Apply

Sprinkle the powdery combo in a thin layer on the carpet. Add a little extra on greasy or oily stains. The baking soda and cornstarch absorb spills and odors, while the crushed bay leaves add a nice scent (6).

3. Allow to Work

Leave the powdery solution on the carpet for one to two hours. This will allow the two powders to absorb any odor lingering in your carpet.

4. Vacuum

The baking soda and cornstarch should have dried out any stains and created a form of crust. Once the time is up, use a strong vacuum to remove powder and potential stains.

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

How to Use

1. Combine Ingredients

Begin mixing all ingredients except for the water in a bucket. Mix well until the powdery OxiClean is fully dissolved. Slowly add the hot water — do this slowly to avoid bubbles.

The all-purpose cleaner will help to remove stubborn stains such as grease. OxiClean also helps to lift and dissolve dirt and grime stuck to the carpet fibers.

The fabric softener will add a lovely scent to the carpet while calming the fibers, creating a better result.

2. Add the Cleaner to the Machine

Get out your carpet cleaner. There are multiple devices to use. An excellent choice is the Hoover PowerDash.

Add the solution to the machine’s tank and plug it into an outlet.

Move across the carpet, spraying the solution as you move forward and extracting it when going backward. A carpet cleaner is an excellent tool for deep cleaning carpets since they leave your carpet nearly dry.

If you don’t have a carpet cleaner, you can rent one from your local home improvement store.

You can also use this solution by hand — simply dip a soft brush in the solution and work it into the carpet. Rinse with a damp sponge and finish by drying the entire carpet using towels and a fan.

Cleaning a Carpet Using a Steam Mop

Steam mops are excellent tools for disinfecting surfaces and removing grime (7). However, this tool is best used on hard surfaces such as tiles and countertops.

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.


What is the Best Homemade Carpet Stain Remover?

The best homemade carpet stain remover combines vinegar, water, and baking soda. Mix all the ingredients in a bottle and spray it liberally onto the stain. Then, dab the stain with a paper towel until it lifts.

How Can I Deep Clean My Carpet At Home?

The best way to deep clean your carpet at home is to mix white vinegar with water in a spray bottle and coat the stain. Dab it clean and watch as the blemish starts disappears. If you need extra punch, try adding baking soda to the mix.

How Long Do You Leave Baking Soda and Vinegar on Carpet?

You should leave baking soda and vinegar on your carpet for no more than 20 to 60 minutes. Any longer, and the cleaning solution damages the carpet fibers and backing.

Does Shaving Foam Clean Carpets?

Shaving foam does clean carpets and is fast becoming a popular option among home cleaning remedies.

Can I Put Fabric Softener In My Carpet Cleaner?

You can put fabric softener in your carpet cleaner. Add half a cup of softener to every reservoir refill, which helps separate the carpet fibers and loosens the pet dander, making it easier to vacuum.

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About the Author

Amy Anthony

Amy Anthony is a cleaning expert, author, and contributing writer for Oh So Spotless, a leading online resource for all things related to cleaning, organizing, and maintaining a spotless home. With over 15 years of experience in the cleaning industry, Amy has gained extensive knowledge and expertise that have made her a trusted authority on best practices, efficient techniques, and innovative cleaning solutions.