Purchasing carpet cleaner is often something that falls to the wayside, especially if you forget to add it to your shopping list. However, the last thing you want is to run out of carpet cleaning solutions when there’s a big spill at home!
Ran out of carpet cleaner and wondering what can I use? There are many DIY recipes for cleaning your carpet, including affordable homemade options. So long as you remember to wear appropriate safety gear, dilute your solution, and spot test your mixture first, you can clean your carpets quickly.
But what matters when it comes time to create a carpet cleaner solution, and what should you keep in mind before you set to work cleaning? Let’s take a look at some helpful tips, recipes, and some frequently asked questions now.
Will Using DIY Carpet Cleaner Solutions Damage My Carpet Cleaner?
While it can be useful to clean your carpet right when it gets stained, you should always keep in mind that not all DIY carpet cleaner solutions are good for your carpet. You should know what your carpet or rug is made out of as well before diving into DIY remedies.
DIY carpet cleaner solutions can potentially damage both your carpet and carpet cleaner, such as a steam vacuum or other tool. There are methods that can prevent this damage, such as diluting your product or using certain techniques for rubbing in the DIY recipe.
Caution should always be used when cleaning any rug or floor textile, especially if you don’t know what it is made out of. Many carpets these days have stain-resistant additions or chemicals put in place by the manufacturer to help out with wear and tear. You may remove some of these additions if you’re not careful!
Some DIY ingredients that may potentially damage your carpet include:
- Bleach. Bleach is known to be too powerful for many textiles, including carpet. It can even dye or otherwise discolor your carpet with very little effort. Avoid bleach in your DIY solutions!
- Fabric Softener. While these ingredients can be used on your carpet, they must be diluted or otherwise mixed with water. Using these cleaning agents on their own is not what they were designed for, and your carpet won’t like it.
- Dishwasher Detergent. Given that dishwasher detergent is made for your dishes, not for your carpet, it is unlikely that it will be of much use to you in a DIY carpet cleaning solution. There are many harsh chemicals found in these soaps that are more likely to damage your textiles.
Carpets and rugs are more complicated to clean than you think! If you run out of carpet cleaner solutions, there are options for you, but always do your research beforehand. And follow these next few tips as well!
Is Water Dilution Important When It Comes to DIY Carpet Cleaner Solutions?
Let’s say that you’ve gathered some potential DIY cleaning solutions from around your home. What can you do with these ingredients now? The number one thing you should do, no matter what you’ve gathered? Take the time to dilute them with water.
Water dilution is key to cleaning your carpet with anything other than carpet cleaner. You must dilute, or else many chemicals are too powerful for your textiles. You will not only potentially damage your rug, but also your rug cleaner or steam vacuum!
Dilution may make your homemade solution feel less potent or powerful, but having a weaker solution is better than one that is too powerful. You don’t want to permanently damage your carpet over a stain that could be removed after a quick trip to the grocery store!
Always Spot Test First!
One of the best ways to see if your DIY solution will work on your carpet is to perform a spot test. Use a clean cloth and dip it into the cleaner, then rub or wipe the cleaner into your carpet. Choose an inconspicuous spot, even if it doesn’t have a stain on it, such as a bit of carpet under a piece of furniture.
If you find that the carpet changes texture, color, or is different in any way after you use the DIY cleaner, I recommend changing your ingredients or adding more water to the mixture. Spot testing is a quick step that will ensure your carpet doesn’t get damaged during this cleaning process!
Don’t Forget Safety
If you are working with potentially foreign chemicals and cleaning products, safety should always come first. Be sure to wear gloves and protective eye coverings when working with certain products, especially if you aren’t sure of their overall potency.
Watch out for water around wires and electric outlets; be sure not to get any liquid where it doesn’t belong. Using a spray bottle or other form of cleaning product distribution may be useful during this time as well. Safety is key, both for your carpet and your body!
7 Best DIY Carpet Cleaner Solutions for Home Use
Looking for some of the best DIY carpet cleaner solutions for home use? Look no further! We’ve got some of the best options for you if you’re in a pinch and out of carpet cleaner. Read on to learn more, and always be sure to follow instructions before jumping in.
There are many cost-effective solutions to carpet cleaners, including this one from a DIY youtube channel. All of these cleaning ingredients should be things you have at home or can easily purchase for little money!
The most important ingredients in this solution are LA’s Totally Awesome cleaners. You will need the liquid degreaser, as well as the oxygen-based cleaner. You can use OxiClean instead, but the LA Totally Awesome brand is an affordable alternative.
Mix the following ingredients for use in your steam vacuum or carpet cleaner:
- 1 gallon hot water
- 2 tablespoons non bleach laundry detergent
- ¼ cup LA’s Totally Awesome Solution
- 1 scoop OxiClean or other oxygen based cleaner
Mix the solution all together until it is fully combined, then add to your steam vacuum or other carpet cleaner. You may need to duplicate the recipe if you are planning on cleaning a large area. This solution can also be combined with homemade spot treatment remedies and more.
This DIY recipe is perfect for cleaning efficiently as well as safely. It should not damage your rug, carpet, or other textile, and is a perfect solution for both last-minute cleaning and long-term carpet cleaning options.
2. Vinegar, Water, and Baking Soda Solution (Best for Pet Urine)
If you don’t have very many cleaners around the house, you can use something as simple as vinegar, water, and baking soda to get the job done. This can be especially useful if you are struggling to remove cat or dog urine from your carpet.
Combine the following ingredients together:
- ½ gallon hot water
- ¼ gallon white vinegar
You will sprinkle your baking soda over the affected area and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Then, put your vinegar and hot water solution into your steam vacuum or spray it onto your baking soda carpet area. Let it saturate the stain, then wipe clean or vacuum the area.
Allow the area to fully dry. While vinegar may not smell the best, it is an important cleaning agent when dealing with pet urine stains. Be sure to measure correctly, as the acid or basic ratios are key when dealing with textiles. You don’t want it too much one way or the other in case it damages the fibers!
3. Laundry Detergent and Fabric Softener
Laundry detergent can be a key player in many homemade carpet cleaners. Keep in mind that you should only ever use bleach free detergents and high efficiency laundry soap if you plan on using it in conjunction with a steam vacuum or carpet cleaning tool.
Mix the following ingredients together:
- ½ gallon hot water
- 2 tablespoons laundry detergent (bleach free and HE)
- 1 tablespoon fabric softener
Add this mixture to your steam vacuum or dab it onto your stain until it is saturated. Fabric softener can add a pleasant scent to your carpet, but be sure not to use too much. Fabric softener often damages rugs or can leave them feeling very different texturally!
4. Hydrogen Peroxide and OxiClean Solution
Originally created by Mom 4 Real, this hydrogen peroxide and OxiClean solution may help you get the job done without needing to break the bank. There are some adjustments I have chosen to make to this recipe, but you can view the original one here.
Given the recipe’s original call for Dawn dish soap and a large amount of fabric softener, I have adjusted so that you will not risk staining or damaging your carpet with the heavy amount of dyes found commonly in these products. Always keep in mind that you should get dye free soaps when DIYing!
Combine the following ingredients:
- ¾ gallon hot water
- 1 cup hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup fabric softener
- 1 tablespoon OxiClean or oxygen cleaner
- ⅛ cup clear and dye free dish soap
Mix this solution until thoroughly combined. You will then add 2 ounces of this cleaning solution to your machine in addition to even more hot water. It will feel as though it is fairly diluted, but you don’t need much in order to clean your carpets with ease! Don’t forget to spot test.
5. Fabric Softener with Water
You can use just fabric softener and hot water on your carpets. Keep in mind that you will not need very much fabric softener to accomplish this, and it is more likely to leave your carpet smelling good than nice and clean. However, it can be a quick fix for you, especially if you have a steam vacuum or carpet cleaner!
Combine these two ingredients fully:
- ½ gallon hot water
- ¼ cup fabric softener
Again, be sure not to use too much fabric softener, as the textile materials in your rug are much more complicated than your traditional clothing. However, this solution can be useful for surface stains!
6. Essential Oils Solution
You can make a carpet cleaning solution with essential oils and baking soda! Keep in mind that some essential oils can be harmful to your pets, even if you have allowed the oils to fully dry. Some of these include tea tree and eucalyptus oils. Do your research before trying this cleaner out!
Combine the following ingredients well:
- 2 cups baking soda
- 10-15 drops of essential oils, your choice
You will sprinkle this mixture onto your carpet and allow it to rest at least an hour. Then vacuum as you normally would, or use your steam vacuum or carpet cleaner to thoroughly clean up the solution. The baking soda should soak up many common stains.
Some essential oils that would work well in this scenario include:
- wild orange
- tea tree
- clary sage
Have fun creating your own essential oil blends, and keep in mind that some oils have natural cleaning properties. You may end up creating a perfect cleaning blend!
7. Window Cleaner Solution
You can indeed use glass or window cleaners on your carpet, especially if it is all you have lying around. Keep in mind however that dilution is key so that you don’t get anything too harmful soaking into your textiles or rug fibers.
Mix the following into a spray bottle:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 cup Windex or window cleaner
Spray this solution onto any stain on your carpet. Allow it to soak for 15 minutes, then dab away with a dry cloth. You can vacuum as you normally would, or use your steam vacuum for even more helpful cleaning effects.
The ammonia in window cleaners is what is commonly helpful for cleaning your carpet. It also shouldn’t leave very much residue or odd texture on your carpet, but be sure to dilute just in case! You can also add essential oils to this mixture in case you don’t like the smell.
DIY Carpet Cleaning FAQS
Still have questions regarding DIY carpet cleaning? Wondering what is safe to use in certain steam cleaners or vacuums? Read on to learn more about some of the most frequently asked questions in DIY carpet cleaning!
Can I Use Laundry Detergent in My Bissell Carpet Cleaner?
You can use laundry detergent in your Bissell carpet cleaner or other steam vacuum cleaner- but there are some things to keep in mind before you get to cleaning. Make sure you are using an HE or high efficiency detergent, as these are less likely to foam or bubble while in use.
You should also always dilute your laundry soap thoroughly so that none of the harsh chemicals soak into your machine or carpet. However, laundry detergent has been proven fairly safe for use in carpet cleaners such as Bissell brands, and safe for use on your floor textiles.
Can I Use Bleach Detergents in My Carpet Cleaners?
Bleach detergents aren’t recommended for use in DIY carpet cleaners or cleaning solutions given their ability to alter the color of your carpet or rug. Bleach should rarely ever be used on textiles, especially textiles with dye or coloring in them.
Even diluted bleach detergents have the possibility of dulling your carpet, or otherwise bleach staining them. Fabric safe bleach is also not recommended for use in DIY carpet cleaners. Your carpet has many more complicated aspects to it- stick with carpet-safe products instead of bleach!
Can I Use Dishwasher Detergent in My Carpet Cleaner?
Dishwasher detergent is not recommended for use in your carpet cleaner or steam vacuum. This is due to the chemical makeup of most dishwasher detergents as well as the fact that many products have added dyes that could damage your carpet.
If you are in a pinch, using clear dish soap may be an option for some spot treatment options, but most dish cleaning products foam up or otherwise have too many suds to be a particularly effective carpet cleaning product.
What DIY Carpet Cleaning Solutions are Not Pet Friendly?
Once your cleaning solution is dry, it should be safe for pets to walk on your carpet or rug again. However, you should never let your pets onto a carpet that is damp with foreign chemicals. This includes DIY solutions made with laundry soap, essential oils, fabric softener, and any other commercial cleaners.
Vinegar, baking soda, and water are usually safe for pets, though they will not enjoy the smell. Tea tree oil and some other essential oils are toxic for both cats and dogs to inhale, so avoid using these when cleaning your carpet entirely.
What is More Effective, DIY or Professional Carpet Cleaners?
Given the amount of dilution required for the majority of DIY cleaners, professional or commercial grade carpet cleaners are usually always more effective. However, these types of cleaners can get expensive, especially if you find yourself cleaning your carpets often.
A DIY cleaner may work in a pinch, or as a form of routine cleaning so that you don’t ever have any built-up or set-in stains. However, professional carpet cleaners are designed for rugs and carpets, as well as carpet cleaning machines. You will never have to worry about these products being effective!
Creating a DIY carpet cleaner solution is possible, but it takes more finesse than you might expect. Remember to always wear protective gloves when working with any foreign products, and be sure to dilute and spot test your mixture before using it on the bulk of your carpet!
Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.