7 Recipes on What to Put in a Carpet Cleaner

What to Put in a Carpet Cleaner

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Deep cleaning your carpets from time to time can prolong the life of your carpet, keep it hygienic, and help remove tough stains. Vacuuming enables you to remove dirt that builds up in the carpet but using a carpet cleaner occasionally takes the cleaning process to the next level.

Fortunately, using a carpet cleaner is easy, so there is no need to hire professional carpet cleaning services. When it comes to the actual cleaner you use with a carpet cleaning machine, you have quite a few options, especially if you consider making a homemade carpet cleaner.

There are several reasons why using a homemade carpet cleaning solution can be beneficial. This article will teach you what to put in a carpet cleaner by exploring seven different DIY carpet cleaning recipes and answering some common questions about carpet cleaners.

The Options Explained: Homemade vs Commercial Cleaners

Why Should You Use a Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution?

Using a natural carpet cleaner can be highly effective at removing carpet stains, deodorising, and sanitising your carpets. Aside from their cleaning capability, there are several other benefits to using a homemade carpet cleaner with your steam cleaner.

  1. Homemade carpet cleaners can be more affordable to make. You might even have the supplies needed in your kitchen and pantry already.
  2. Homemade carpet shampoo is non-toxic and free from harmful chemicals. Using a non-toxic cleaner not only makes it less likely to damage your carpet but also makes it safer for use in homes with small kids and pets and has fewer lingering fumes.
  3. Many commercial cleaning products for carpets contain VOCs, which trigger asthma and allergies. This makes homemade carpet shampoo better for people who suffer from allergies.
  4. Lastly, homemade carpet cleaners are also more environmentally friendly due to their lack of chemical ingredients.

When Should You Use a Commercial Carpet Cleaning Solution?

Alright, so now that you know about all the benefits of using homemade carpet cleaners, are there any reasons to choose a commercial product instead? Actually, yes.

If you’ve tried a couple of homemade carpet cleaners and they haven’t worked, you may want to use a professional product. Commercial products contain highly specialised formulas that can cater more to specific materials. In some cases, this makes them work more effectively.

You may also want to use a commercial product if you are short on time and don’t want to mix up a recipe yourself. Remember, if you use a commercial product, you know how to use a carpet cleaner.

Homemade Carpet-Cleaning Solutions: 7 Simple Recipes

Following are seven simple recipes for some of the best carpet cleaners you can easily make at home. Aside from the actual ingredients, all you need is a bowl or large bucket to mix and, of course, a carpet cleaning machine.

Additionally, we strongly recommend you perform a spot test on your carpet in an inconspicuous area before applying a new cleaner. Some cleaners are so effective at removing stains that they could lift colour from your carpet fibres as well.

Option 1: Homemade Carpet Shampoo: Detergent and Softener

This homemade carpet shampoo recipe is similar to professional cleaning solutions. It shampoos and conditions your carpet during the cleaning process and does a superior job removing both stains and odours.


  • 2 tbsp liquid laundry detergent
  • 1 tsp fabric softener
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose cleaner
  • One scoop Oxiclean
  • 3.8 litres hot water


  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bucket and stir thoroughly.
  2. Carefully add the mixture to the tank on your carpet cleaning machine and follow the instructions specific to your machine.
  3. If you choose to use extra hot water close to boiling, you can also try mixing the ingredients minus the water, adding it to your machine, and then topping off the tank with the water if this makes the process more manageable.

Option 2: Homemade Cleaner for Synthetic Carpets: White Vinegar and Salt

This carpet shampoo option could be your best bet if you are looking for an all-natural, non-toxic cleaner. It is good for use in homes with small children or pets and great for synthetic carpet fibres. Most homes today have carpets with synthetic fibres due to their advanced durability and enhanced stain resistance.

This option can also be put in a spray bottle to target specific areas on your carpet or spray car interior.


  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cup hot water
  • 10-15 drops essential oil (we like clean scents like lemon, calming lavender, or fresh mint or pine)
  • 2 tsp table salt (leave out if you are adding the mixture to a shampooing machine)


  1. To make this carpet shampoo mix the ingredients in a bucket, add them to your machine’s reservoir, and proceed with the standard operating instructions.
  2. If you choose to use this cleaner as a spray, you can skip the bucket and mix the solution directly in the bottle.
  3. Shake well and then spray the cleaner on specifically dirty areas on your carpet, or use it to spray other upholstery on furniture or inside your car.

Option 3: Homemade Citrus Enzyme Cleaner

Many professional carpet cleaning solutions boast of having added enzyme power. This homemade carpet shampoo option provides you with the same cleaning power. This option is good for stains and odour removal, but it takes considerable time to make, so you will have to plan to utilise this highly effective method. We like to use this cleaner as a pretreatment before shampooing your carpets.


  • 7 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-quart water
  • 1 1/2 cup orange peels and lemon peels


Vacuuming the carpet
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake vigorously.
  2. Loosen the bottle’s cap halfway to release the eventual gas that will build up.
  3. Make sure you do not skip this step as it could lead to an explosive, sticky mess.
  4. Once mixed, leave the solution to sit for three months. We know this is a long time if you are looking to deep clean your carpets, but it’ll be worth the wait. You’ll see.
  5. After waiting the allotted amount of time, spray the cleaning solution on high traffic areas on your carpet.
  6. Let it dry, and then vacuum it up.

Option 4: DIY Carpet Cleaner for Light Coloured Carpets: Hydrogen Peroxide and Lemon

This option is a simple lemon-scented carpet cleaner with hydrogen peroxide. While this carpet shampoo is highly effective at lifting deep, stubborn stains, it should only be used on light coloured carpets. The hydrogen peroxide is so effective at lifting stains that it can easily suck the colour out of your carpet fibres and leave a mark similar to a bleach spot. Do not use this carpet cleaner on the dark coloured carpet.


  • 3/4 cup hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp liquid dish soap
  • Five drops of lemon essential oil (feel free to substitute a different scent if you want)


  1. Creating this cleaning solution only requires mixing the ingredients, stirring, and adding them to your carpet cleaning machine.
  2. You can also use this mixture for spot cleaning-resistant stains or pretreating your carpet before steam cleaning them.
  3. Just add the mixture to a bottle and spray areas in need.

Option 5: Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution for Pet Stains and Odours: Vinegar and Baking Soda

It is highly likely that you already have all the ingredients needed to make this all-purpose cleaner that can also be used as a carpet cleaner. It is perfect for homes with pets as it removes odours and cleans pet urine. It can also help clean up blood, old carpet stains and mould.


  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 cups warm water


  1. All you have to do is mix up the ingredients and add them to your carpet cleaning machine.
  2. Considering how this is an all-purpose cleaner, you can also use it for spot cleaning with a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the stain, wait five minutes, and blot with paper towels.
  4. If you do not get the desired results the first time, repeat the process until you do.

Option 6: Extra-Strength Shampoo Cleaning Solution: Ammonia and Rubbing Alcohol

If you are looking for a stronger cleaning solution, this extra-strength ammonia-based carpet cleaner could be just the thing. This cleaner is so powerful you’ll want to make sure you wear gloves as ammonia can be harmful to your skin, lungs, and eyes. It can also damage some materials, so you should first test a small inconspicuous spot on your carpet. You can also use this cleaner for mopping floors and cleaning residue in bathrooms.


  • 1 tsp liquid dish soap
  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • 2 tbsp ammonia
  • 5 drops essential oil (preferably lemon)
  • Hot water


  1. Wearing protective gear, mix all of the ingredients in a large bucket minus the hot water.
  2. Stir it enough that the dish soap thoroughly mixes into the solution.
  3. Then, add the mixture to your machine’s reservoir and top it off with hot water.

Option 7: Homemade Stain Soak: Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda

While this cleaning solution is not used inside your carpet cleaning machine, it makes a great pretreatment option for your carpet. We recommend using this as a preliminary step to using your carpet steam cleaner or a quick clean-up method for accidental spills and messes.


  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp liquid dish soap
  • 1/2 cup hydrogen peroxide


  1. If a spill has just occurred, blot up any excess liquid with a paper towel. Do not rub the mess, or you can push the spill further into the carpet’s fibres.
  2. Then, sprinkle the affected area with baking soda. The baking soda will help to absorb the spill and suck it out of the carpet.
  3. Next, mix the liquid dish soap with the hydrogen peroxide in a small bowl.
  4. Pour the solution over the top of the spill or stain and gently rub it with paper towels, a clean cloth, or a soft brush. This helps the mixture better permeate the stain.
  5. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and then vacuum up the solution. Ideally, the stain or mess will come up right along with the baking soda.
  6. If needed, repeat the process one or two more times until you achieve the desired results.

Other Things to Consider

Aside from the cleaning method that you are going to use for your carpets, there are other things you have to consider to make sure you get the best results.

Powdered Cleaners

Similar to the method we just described above, powdered homemade cleaners can be quite effective at cleaning up spills or messes at the moment. Tackling a mess when it occurs significantly reduces the chances of a stain developing and can also help prolong the time between deep cleanings.

  1. Sprinkle corn starch or baking soda over a fresh spill and let the powder absorb the mess.
  2. When the area is completely dry, vacuum up the powder, and most of the stain should lift with it. This method is even effective on trickier spills like wine or even nail polish.

Carpet Cleaning Pro Tips

Now that you know all about cleaner options, there are just a few things we think you should know that will help the cleaning process go as smoothly as possible.

  1. Use your vacuum cleaner to remove any loose dirt and debris before you begin.
  2. Always spot test a small part of your carpet first.
  3. Change the water frequently. Dirty water will not clean anything.
  4. Give floors plenty of time to dry before using the room as normal.
  5. Pretreat stains to give the steam cleaner a head start
  6. Try different recipes until you find the homemade cleaners that work best for you and your home.
  7. Avoid saturating the carpet while you clean. Excess water will spread stains and can lead to the development of mould.
  8. Do not use stiff wired brushes or tools to damage the carpet’s appearance when cleaning a stain. Instead, use a soft carpet brush.

How Often Should You Deep Clean Your Carpets?

Deep cleaning carpets depends on a few things but should typically be done once or twice per year. However, you may not have to steam clean your entire carpet every time. Sometimes, steam cleaning high traffic areas will suffice. If you have a large family, lots of visitors, or pets, you may want to clean your carpets deep a bit more frequently.

Also, how often you use your vacuum cleaner will affect how often your carpets need to be deep cleaned. Vacuuming frequently can prolong the time between cleanings.

DIY Carpet Cleaning Made Easy

After reading, you should be well aware that commercial carpet cleaning products are not your only option with a carpet cleaning machine. If you are not comfortable using carpet cleaners due to the chemicals they contain, you can always make your own. Several DIY cleaning solutions are completely safe and effective. You have to find the one that best suits your needs.

There are quite a few reasons why making a homemade cleaning solution could benefit you and the life of your carpet overall. Just remember, if one of the solutions does not work as well as you would have liked, try another one. Different solutions are better suited to different stains, so it may take a couple of tries to figure out which cleaner is best for use in your home.

Which homemade cleaner will you try first? Have you tried some of the recipes listed above? How was your experience? Do you have other tips that you’d like to share with others, especially those that are beginners? We’d like to hear them! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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