Shampooing carpets certainly gives them a deep cleaning, but shampooing is not ideal for weekly carpet cleanings. Dirt, dust, pollen, pet dander, allergens and many types of microorganisms can find their way into the fibers of the carpet. Rather than your regular vacuuming, try using a homemade dry carpet cleaner to keep your carpet fresh in between shampooing.
What to Use
The basics of dry carpet cleaning are to use powdered-form cleaning substances that absorb odors and moisture while loosening dirt. Baking soda is the main ingredient in a homemade dry carpet cleaner. Borax or cornstarch can be added to the baking soda to enhance its cleaning and absorption properties. These ingredients are safe for home use.
According to easy-homemade-recipes.com, a combination of four parts baking soda and one part cornstarch is infused with bay leaves and cloves, both of which promote health through their antimicrobial properties. From this recipe, it is easy to see room for slight variations.
A simple dry carpet-cleaning recipe can use the same base of four parts baking soda and one part cornstarch. Then you can add one-half part of dry Borax powder for extra cleaning power. For scents, consider adding dry herbs, such as sage or mint, or essential oils to your recipe.
Since essential oils are "wet," mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil--lavender, sage, lemon, orange, mint, Ylang-Ylang, etc.--into your recipe and stir well. Spread your carpet cleaning mixture out onto a tray to dry, then store it in a sealed container until you are ready to use it.
How to Apply
You will want to evenly spread your homemade dry carpet cleaner over the carpet. You can use a cup or a spoon to sprinkle it around, or a sifter, strainer or large shaker to get an even layer over the carpet.
Let the dry carpet cleaner sit for a few hours, or even overnight to really deodorize and freshen the carpet. The baking soda, cornstarch and Borax will have enough time to absorb moisture and odors deep into the carpet. It will also loosen some of the dirt particles trapped in the rug.
When to Vacuum Up
By the next morning your carpet is ready for vacuuming. Vacuum over the carpet in slow, even rows. Vacuum the entire rug then vacuum across the rug again, perpendicular to the first vacuuming. This second vacuuming will further help to loosen the carpet fibers and vacuum up trapped dirt, all without water. Keep your supply of dry carpet cleaner handy for monthly or biweekly dry carpet cleaning.