Even the best-kept carpet benefits from a deep cleaning from time to time. From pet odors to spilled soft drinks, everyday life means messes, odors and stains on carpets. Instead of using chemicals to clean the carpet, whip up your own heavy-duty cleaners to keep flooring its freshest.
Foaming Stain Remover
Inexpensive shaving cream foam also happens to be a great all-purpose stain remover and is excellent at removing greasy or oily spots in particular. Pick a shaving cream that's white and that doesn't have lotions or similar additives, as these may leave behind a residue or stain the carpet. Test the foam in an inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't stain the carpet, then apply to just about any type of stain. Blot up the cream after 15 minutes with a damp, white, lint-free cloth. Afterwards, spray or pour on equal parts white vinegar and water, using just enough to wet the area, not soak it. The vinegar also helps remove odors. Blot the spot with a dry, white cloth after another 10 minutes or so.
Ink-Based Stain Remover
Rubbing alcohol is an exceptional stain remover for ink spots left behind by leaky pens or permanent markers. Wet a white, lint-free cloth with rubbing alcohol, then dab the stain. Rotate the cloth frequently to a fresh area once the cloth absorbs some of the ink to avoid spreading the stain. Likewise, dab – don't rub – the spot or the mess could get worse. Keep dabbing with a fresh part of the alcohol-soaked cloth until the stain vanishes.
Wine and Juice Remover
Red wine and dark fruit juices are the bane of white carpets everywhere. Clean up those unsightly spots by sprinkling table salt on a fresh, still-wet stain. If the stain has dried, pour on a small amount of club soda to soak the area instead. In some cases, the club soda will completely remove the stain. Dab up excess liquid and apply more club soda, if necessary, then sprinkle the area with salt. The salt will absorb some of the liquid, taking the wine or juice pigment with it. Vacuum the salt once it dries. If any stain remains after trying club soda and salt, moisten the stain with vinegar, sprinkle on a powdered laundry detergent or baking soda and wait several minutes. Add just enough water to make the carpet fibers damp without soaking through to the floor, then blot with a white cloth. Don't rub the stain or it may spread.
Carpet Cleaner Solution
Since putting a carpet into a washing machine isn't an option, cleaning it with a water-based cleaner or steamer is the best way to give those funky fibers a thorough cleaning. Make your own carpet cleaning fluid by mixing equal parts warm water and white vinegar in a bucket. Check the machine's instructions to determine how hot the water should be for optimal cleaning. Add 10 drops or so of a pleasant-smelling essential oil, such as lemon, peppermint or sweet orange, then swish the bucket gently to blend ingredients. Pour the solution into the carpet cleaner. Vacuum the entire carpet, then sprinkle it with baking soda. Run the carpet cleaner according to the manufacturer's instructions. The vinegar will react with the baking soda, helping loosen any caked-on materials. If necessary, do a second cleaning with fresh vinegar and water, skipping the baking soda, to remove any residues left behind.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.