If you have carpet or area rugs in your home, chances are, you worry about stains. Accidents happen. This is especially true if you've got kids, pets, or entertain on a regular basis. Luckily, you don't need to spend a fortune on fancy products to keep your carpet looking fresh and new. DIY carpet cleaners work just as well, and most of them can be made from ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
Although you can purchase carpet cleaners from the store, many of them are overpriced. They can also leave soapy residue and chemicals behind. Why bother? This article will walk you through how to easily and inexpensively make your own DIY carpet cleaner. To make things easier, we've organized our favorites by carpet fiber to make sure you're using the best fit for your home.
To get started, grab an empty spray bottle to mix, dispense, and store your DIY carpet cleaner.
It's also important to check with your manufacturer's guidelines to make sure the cleaner you're using falls within the guidelines of their warranty.
Most carpets on the market today come with excellent, built-in, stain protection. This means stains are easier to remove than ever before. In fact, many times stains can be removed by simply blotting the area with a cloth dampened with a little bit of warm water. Since water is cheap, convenient, and chemical-free, we suggest starting here. Remove as much of the stain as possible. Move on to the extra power of a carpet cleaner only if necessary after the initial blot.
Distilled white vinegar used to be regulated the kitchen for use in salads and marinades. Those days are over. Savvy consumers are discovering that vinegar is also good for everything from cleaning your barbecue grill to your TV screen. Therefore, it should come as no surprise to learn that vinegar is perfect for cleaning your carpet cleaner, too.
1 cup distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
Nearly everyone has a bottle of dish soap located somewhere near their kitchen sink. And like, vinegar, there are plenty of uses for it outside the kitchen.
½ cup dish soap
2 cups water
Tip: If you're running low on dish soap, try substituting bleach-free laundry soap.
You're unlikely to have a jug of oil solvent in the kitchen cupboard, but there's a good chance you have one in your garage. If not, use non-acetone nail polish remover for our next recipe.
Oil solvent or non-acetone nail polish remover
This is a one ingredient solution. Solvents should not be mixed with water.
Tip: Solvents are extremely powerful. If your carpet isn't solution-dyed, they could remove some of your carpet's color. Perform a test on a small piece of carpet to make sure it won't discolor. If you don't have any remnants left over from your installation, perform your test in the far corner of your bedroom closet or pick another location where the test spot isn't likely to be seen.
Also be sure to use the least amount of solvent as possible. If applied too generously it may trickle down and eat through the backing of your carpet. You'll also be doing yourself a favor because of all of our DIY carpet cleaning solutions, this one has the most powerful odor. The more you use, the longer the aroma will take to dissipate.
1 ½ cup distilled white vinegar
1 ½ cup water
2 teaspoons dish soap
2 cups water
The recipe and instructions for solvent carpet cleaner for natural fibers are the same as they are for synthetic fibers (above).
Yes, technique matters. There's a right and wrong way to use carpet cleaner. Often when an accident occurs you spring into panic mode, which can result in making the stain worse. Don't let that happen. Here are the Do's and Don'ts of removing carpet stains.
Saturate the stained area with carpet cleaner
We know. When you have an accident your first instinct is to douse the area with carpet cleaner. But if you saturate your carpet with cleaner it will be virtually impossible remove it. The residue will coat your carpet, attracting dirt and oil. This will eventually lead to dark, dirty spots in the area where the stain used to be.
Also, cleaners, particularly the kind you purchase in the stores, can be heavy. They weigh down your carpet fibers. This means they will no longer be fluffy and stand up tall. It's a similar effect to using too much styling product on your hair.
Apply a small amount of carpet cleaner from your spray bottle directly to you light-colored towel. This helps you control the amount of cleaner you use and make sure you aren't saturating the area.
Don't scrub. Scrubbing forces the stain downward and grinds it deeper into the carpet, making it more difficult to remove.
Blot the stain with a light colored towel dampened with warm water or carpet cleaner. As you blot, the stain will travel upward, into the towel. Keep repeating until the stain is gone and the towel comes up clean.
Let stains sit too long. The longer a substance sits on your carpet, the more difficult it will be to remove. Even stains that would be relatively easy to deal with can set into your carpet fiber if left untreated for too long.
Address spills and accidents right away and liquids are still wet whenever possible. There's no time like the present when it comes to maintaining your carpet.
Now that you know how to make and use your own DIY carpet cleaners you'll be prepared for anything that happens. So let the kids make their messes and let the dogs romp around. You've got this!