Let me start off by saying I have personally used this easy homemade carpet cleaner for years and more times than I care to admit. My husband has a tendency to spill anything that’s red (spaghetti, pizza). We have very light carpet, so you can imagine how that turns out!
Now that we have a dog, I use this easy homemade carpet cleaner probably every few weeks.
The best part about this cleaner is it’s cheap and effective. It also is safe for kids and pets!
First, I will share with you the recipe. Then, I will explain to you a little bit about why it works so well!
- White Vinegar (Distilled, must be!)
- Baking Soda
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Scrub Pad
Step One: Clean up any debris first. Pieces of food, excess liquid, or dog bones (lol). Just pick up the area a little bit so all you have is the carpet and the stain or just carpet that needs to be cleaned. You can see in the picture above that Ruger made quit the mess with his bone. He also rain outside in the dirt and came in. The carpet is just dingy looking with some dirt stains.
Step Two: Sprinkle baking soda pretty heavily on stain or just sprinkle all over the carpet if there isn’t a particular stain. You can see in the picture below there is some dirt stains.
Step Three: Make sure your vinegar is in a spray bottle, and spray the entire area that has baking soda on it.
Step Four: Allow that to sit for 30 minutes to an hour. You want it to soak in and dry a bit.
Step Five: If your stain is something that’s really deep like spaghetti, ink, etc this is when you want to pour on some hydrogen peroxide. If you are only using this to refresh your carpet, you don’t need to use the peroxide.
Step Six: Take your scrub pad, and DAB the area. If just using the vinegar/baking soda to refresh carpet, you can scrub it. For stains and using the peroxide too, dab and gently rub the area. You want to make sure to not rub the stain in.
Step Seven: Vacuum the area!
Much better! I used the hydrogen peroxide method on those dark spots. The other areas I did just baking soda/vinegar method and scrubbed. It cleans, refreshes, and deodorizes the carpet too!
When I first used this on a HUGE spaghetti stain (from my husband 🙂 ), he said how in the world did you clean that up? I told him it was all thanks to chemistry and really wasn’t too hard. Now, I will say, it took about three treatments of this for that huge stain. It was very deep and covered a large area! So, you may need to do a few treatments on something heavy duty, but it will get it up.
Now, let’s talk chemistry and why this even works!
Vinegar is acetic acid, chemically. It is ethanol (alcohol) that has been fermented which turns it into an acid. Don’t let the word acid scare you though. It is a very mild, very safe acid. It has some fanastic chemical properties that make it a great cleaning agent, even alone.
Remember my chemist solution for cleaning the microwave? Vinegar heated up was the key to getting all that stuck on food off!
Another amazing chemical is sodium bicarbonate, or baking soda. Baking soda can be used for tons of baking purposes, but is equally good for cleaning. This chemical is alkaline (so the opposite of acid). It does a great job absorbing odors and makes a great scrub.
One of my favorite chemicals! It is a great oxidizer, so it can eliminate stains even on it’s own. Oxidizers have different ranges of potency. Bleach is also an oxidizer, but it is extremely potent and not safe to use. If you spill bleach on something, it will ruin whatever color the fabric is. Hydrogen peroxide doesn’t take the color out of fabric, it isn’t strong enough. So, it makes a great option for stains.
Mixing Baking Soda and Vinegar
Mixing an acid (vinegar) with a base (baking soda) will always have a chemical reaction. That is why when you put them in a bottle together and shake it, the bottle explodes! It produces gases that get trapped inside and have to escape. But when it comes to cleaning solutions, it reacts together to clean and disinfect. It will lighten stains and help lift them from carpet especially.
Like I mentioned previously, sometimes I just want to freshen up my light carpet and remove odor. Using these two together, than vacuuming it up is perfect. I always spray my homemade air freshener around the area afterwards. It will smell so good!
For those heavy stains, adding the oxidizer (hydrogen peroxide) in after you let the baking soda and vinegar sit for awhile, just really clears up the stain. I have also used this on red ink stains (Ruger loves to eat pens) and it took a couple of treatments, but I got it up.
Is this safe for all carpets?
Peroxide is a pretty safe oxidizer, we have used this one brown and green carpets too with success. I would test peroxide out on a small surface first, just to be safe.
Is baking soda harmful to vacuum cleaners?
I have been using this with my vacuum cleaner for many years, and it is an old vacuum. It does well with it. The only thing I would make sure of is to allow this mixture to dry a bit before vacuuming it up. I have a vacuum cleaner that is the filters that I clean, and the container I empty out. It doesn’t have much more to it. Other important tips is to sprinkle baking soda lightly, not in big chunks. When combined with the vinegar, there won’t be much powder residue left with the chemical reaction.
So, if you need some help with carpet stains, I hope you can try out this easy homemade carpet cleaner! It works well on most carpets!
If you enjoy this recipe, stay tuned for the Chemistry Cachet book full of chemistry hacks for cleaning the home!!