There are many ways you can clean your carpet using everyday items lying around the house. Store-bought products can contain harsh chemicals that are damaging to the environment. Brand names can also be quite costly and you may not need a professional carpet cleaner just yet. Why go through all the fuss when you can whip up something that works just as well? Whether you’re on a budget, or simply looking for a greener solution, the following are 6 do-it-yourself tricks for your carpet cleaning conundrum.
Soap and Water
By far one of the easiest ways to clean your carpet with a DIY remedy is the tried and true solution of soap and water. Surprisingly, the best soap to use is dish detergent (and any mom should have plenty of that lying around). You may not be able to lift some stains with just soap, but most simple spills can be mopped with this easy solution.
This cheap trick will only set you back the cost of the dish detergent, which you can get at any dollar store. Mix up a strong solution with 1/4 tsp. (1.25 ml) of soap and 1 cup of warm water. For best results, use the solution in a spray bottle and a sturdy brush to scrub the stain out.
Even though it may sound like a chemical, Borax is listed by the MSDS as a health hazard of 1 (similar to that of baking soda and salt). You can find Borax
in the laundry aisle of majors grocers and big-box stores like Walmart and Target. It is usually sold under the name “20 mule team.”
If you cannot find it locally, you can always purchase it on Amazon
for $3-4 a box. Borax is a great product because it can also be combined with other household cleaning items (like laundry detergent) to boost their cleaning power.
In order to create a solution similar to what a professional carpet cleaner would use, you need to mix the Borax with a few other ingredients. Combine 1/4 cup equal parts of the following to get your carpet sparkling: Borax, table salt, and white vinegar. Rub the paste into the carpet and let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it up.
Moms aren’t just using this home staple for baking. If your little ones have decided to color on the carpet, a great way to remove ink and marker stains is with cornstarch. Mix equal parts of milk and cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the solution liberally to the stain and allow the homemade concoction to dry for a few hours. Vacuum it up and repeat if necessary. Cornstarch is also great for soaking up oil and other greasy stains. You probably have some in your cabinet, but if not, a box of cornstarch usually runs between $1-2.
When a stain is fresh (your child spilled it in front of you vs. they hid it from you) club soda can work wonders. It is also known to lift particularly heavy stains, like a dropped bowl of Spaghetti-O’s or the red wine you spilled from recouping. Always use plain club soda without any flavors or coloring. Grab a bottle for $1-2 and just keep it under your sink for emergencies.
When the spill happens, gently blot away the excess liquid, then douse the area with club soda. The intent is to dilute the stain and loosen the color of it from the carpet. Press the area with clean paper towels to lift the liquids from the fibers. Continue to blot the area until the stain disappears.
If you have a quick spill like ketchup or wine, table salt can do the trick. Remove anything excess from the stain, grab your table salt, and cover the area. Let the stain dry for about 10 minutes and vacuum up the excess salt. Repeat as often as necessary.
If your child decides to toss their pizza on the floor, have no fear, salt can help you here too. For greasy and oily stains, you can mix a solution of 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and scrub it hard into the stain. Dab off excess liquid and let dry.
Perhaps the superhero of natural carpet cleaning agents, vinegar is the most versatile of all home products. Depending on the stain, you may want to mix it with some of the following:
- Light Stains: 2 tbsp. salt and 1/4 cup of white vinegar should do the trick. Let the solution dry completely, then vacuum.
- Dark Stains: Add 2 tbsp. of Borax to the light stain mix. Let dry and vacuum.
- Ground-in Stains: Combine 1 tbsp. of vinegar with 1 tbsp. of cornstarch. Rub the solution into the stain using a dry cloth and let it sit for two days, then vacuum.
Laundry detergent can also be added to varying vinegar solutions depending on the stain and type of liquid.
You don’t need a professional carpet cleaner to fight the never-ending bought of spills a mom can face—you just have to be smart. Thankfully, going green is not only safe, it’s cost effective. A DIY carpet cleaning solution can be a quick and simple way to tackle a stain and get on with your day.