DIY carpet cleaners can remove dirt, grime, blood, food, and drink stains from your carpets and rugs without exposing your loved ones to potentially harmful chemicals. This natural carpet cleaner recipe is so mild that I even feel comfortable using it on our dog beds.
If you have pets, children, and messy boots on your homestead, finding a quality carpet cleaner is likely a top priority. When we moved onto our farm, the house had concrete floors. After being on the land no more than a few days – and during the rainy season, I opted against installing either carpet or hardwood floors.
The upkeep of such floors were just more of a bother than I would want to deal with. But, we have carpeted dog mats and throw rugs that still must be dealt with on a regular basis.
Distilled White Vinegar
Just when you may have thought you knew ALL of the many uses for distilled white vinegar, we are going to throw another one at you. The vinegar not only tackles even the toughest of stains, it works wonders when combatting pet odors.
Because distilled white vinegar is so acidic, it is best to dilute it with lukewarm water. I have found that vinegar is a great deodorizer on pet and protein stains.
Standard table salt will work well in this carpet cleaner, but I usually sprinkle sea salt into the mixture for a more robust cleaning agent. When dealing with a particularly tough stain I generally treat it with salt alone for about 15 minutes, then sweep it away before cleaning the carpet or throw rug.
You can skip adding essential oils to this recipe, but they will leave your carpet smelling clean and fresh naturally long after their application. Always make sure you are aware of any potential allergic reactions the children, pets, and others in your home could have with a particular essential oil before adding it to the mixture.
Lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus essential oils are my favorite to use in natural household cleaning products.
DIY Carpet Cleaner Recipe
- 2 cups salt
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- up to 12 drops essential oils I recommend lavender, lemon, and eucalyptus.
- Pour the water and the distilled white vinegar into a squirt bottle or similar container with a firm fitting lid.
- Pour in the salt.
- Place the lid on the container firmly, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Remove the lid from the container.
- Add in the essential oils if using.
- Place the lid on the container yet again and shake vigorously yet again.
- Always shake the container for about 30 seconds before using.
- This DIY natural carpet cleaner can be squirted directly onto a stained or dirty carpet area. Some folks use this mixture in their carpet steamer or shampooer machine.
- Allow the treated area to dry thoroughly before running the vacuum over it.
- When stored in a dry and cool place this DIY carpet cleaner should remain potent for about 30 days.
- If using this on tough stains, smells, or to help deodorize something that is just generally nasty like a dog bed, I pretreat with a coating of baking soda first. I let the baking soda absorb the odor or stain for about an hour, and then vacuum it away before applying the carpet cleaner.
If you choose to put this solution into your carpet cleaning machine, I recommend using just 1 cup of it at a time, pouring it directly into the reservoir tank, and then filling the tank up to the full line with hot water.
When cleaning a small spot on a rug or other carpeted area (like a covered chair), you can use a toothbrush or thick bristle brush to scrub the stain instead of a vacuum and then rinse it away with a bucket of water or a garden hose. Approximately 1 tablespoon for every six inches of stain is the most common ratio I use when cleaning small stains.
While my DIY all-natural carpet cleaner is not specifically designed as a stain pre-treatment, in my personal experience it does so quite well.
Carpet Cleaning Chemicals
One of the primary reasons folks are opting to either pay a lot of money to buy natural carpet cleaning products or making their own far more cheaply is because of concerns about chemicals in manufactured carpet cleaners.
Naphthalene fumes can be especially dangerous to both children and pets right after a carpet is cleaned with this possible carcinogen. The fumes from this chemical may be able to cause damage to the liver and kidneys.
Other chemicals commonly found in commercially produced carpet cleaners include formaldehyde, acid, pesticides, acetone, and various disinfectants. The heavy concentration of these chemicals could cause a concentrated vapor to develop in the air inside your home.
Simply because a chemical is not listed on the label of the manufactured carpet cleaner does not mean it is not part of the recipe. Due to proprietary laws and a government requirement for manufacturers to only note “chemicals of known concern” on product labels, there can be a lot of missing essential information.
If the federal government thoroughly tested all of the chemicals that are used in cleaning, cosmetics, fragrances, and personal care items, there would most likely be a lot more “known” chemicals that exist.
The Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 is administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency – EPA. The law states that chemical companies cannot be required to prove their products are safe to use unless the EPA can itself prove that a chemical ingredient could pose a health risk.
The Environmental Working Group EPA watchdog organization, maintains that most of the roughly 2,000 applications it receives each year are reviewed and approved in about three weeks – even if no toxicity information is included.
Possible side effects from exposure to carpet cleaning chemicals:
- Lung, nose, and eye irritation
- Asthma attacks
- Coughing and congestion
Unless you splurged and purchased carpet or rugs that were constructed out of only natural materials, it is possible that the synthetic materials used to make the floor covering could detrimentally interact with the store-bought carpet cleaner.
Even if the room being clean was well ventilated and the chemical carpet cleaner was allowed to “air out” and dry enough to walk on before the room is used again, that may not eliminate the potentially toxic fumes completely.