7 DIY Carpet Cleaners for Treating Whatever Messes Life Throws Your Way
Where there’s a carpet, there’s (eventually) a spill—whether that be from a pet, a child or your own shouting at the TV while watching Real Housewives of Salt Lake City while sipping cabernet. Before splurging on a professional service, you may be able to restore your carpet to its former glory with a simple homemade cleaner. Not only is making your own carpet cleaner a much cheaper solution to hiring a pro, but you’ll feel better knowing every single ingredient in the cleaner you use.
These seven DIY carpet cleaners can tackle a whole spectrum of messes and (just maybe) mean the end for those pricey carpet treatments. We'll start with two of the trickiest stains to tackle—which include more involved processes for removing said spots—before moving on to some simple fixes worth memorizing. Or, at the very least, pinning so you can refer to them the next time spill happens.
1. The DIY Pet Odor and Stain Remover
We had to pull a DIY recipe for you dog and cat owners (especially during seasons where they shed the most!). Becky Rapinchuk of The Organically Clean Home shared with us a no-brainer recipe includes two ingredients everyone has: dish soap and baking soda.
- 2 cups warm water, plus 2 cups warm water for rinsing
- ½ tsp. clear dish soap
- Baking soda (as needed)
Spot clean or clean the whole rug or carpet as you normally would.
Sprinkle the rug or carpet with baking soda to neutralize any odors. Cover the spot and let sit overnight.
Mix a solution of warm water and dish soap. Soak a clean rag or paper towel in the solution, wring it out, then gently blot the stain with it.
Use a clean rag soaked in more warm water to remove any residue. Alternate the soap solution with warm water until the stain has faded.
2. The Easy DIY Carpet Cleaner for Oil Stains
Leave it to The Pioneer Woman to have a recipe for everything—including getting oil stains out of your carpet. (Because, let’s be real: Greasy foods are meant to be eaten in front of the TV. And all too often, they wind up dripping on the floor.) Oil stains are notoriously hard to get rid of, but PW recommends a surprisingly simple fix involving cornstarch, dish soap and water. Based on the magazine’s method, we came up with a simple recipe for restoring our rugs.
- Cornstarch (enough to heavily cover the oil stain)
- 1 tsp. dish soap
- 1 to 2 cups water
- Cool water, for rinsing
Blot as much oil as you can. Liberally sprinkle cornstarch over the stain, pat it on and let it sit for a few hours. The starch should absorb the oil.
Scrape the cornstarch off with an old credit card or butter knife. Vacuum up the excess cornstarch.
Mix dish soap and water in a bowl. Use a washcloth to dab the mixture onto the remaining stain, then rinse the area with cool water until clean.
3. The Ultimate Carpet Cleaner for Removing Red Wine Stains
We were blown away after seeing Coral put several red wine stain removers to the test and shall forever swear by mixing a tablespoon of white vinegar and dish soap with 2 cups of warm water, dabbing it onto the stain, then blotting it up with a dry cloth. Check out the full demo in the video above.
4. The (1-Ingredient!) DIY Coffee Stain Remover
Spilling your latte and having to spend the morning decaffeinated while scrubbing it out of your rug or carpet is right up there with sleeping through your alarm in terms of worst ways to start the day. If you find yourself in this position, blot as much as you can, then reach for the club soda, and you’ll save yourself some serious scrubbing. According Reader’s Digest Home Hacks, simply add a little club soda or carbonated mineral water to the spot and brush clean, and that stain will be lifted in no time.
5. The DIY All-Purpose Cleaner for Carpet Shampooers
If you have a carpet shampooer, you’ll want to try Little House Living author Melissa A. Alink’s three-ingredient carpet cleaner. It’s a simple ratio of about one part dish soap and one part hydrogen peroxide (say, a tablespoon or so of each) to four parts vinegar. She pours all three into the carpet shampooer, filling it the rest of the way with warm water, then uses the machine as she normally would.
“This great recipe will work on most carpets, but as with all cleaners, you will definitely want to do a spot check first to make sure it’s not going to discolor your carpet,” she notes. “If you do have issues with discoloration, leave the peroxide out of the mixture and see if that makes a difference. Also make sure to use a clear or uncolored dish soap in this recipe.”
6. The DIY All-Purpose Spot Treatment
Alink uses the same ingredients from her Carpet Shampooer recipe in her recommended spot treatment. First, she mixes the vinegar, dish soap and hydrogen peroxide with warm water in a bowl. Then, using a brush or old rag, she spot-treats the carpet as needed. (Hot tip: Work from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain.)
Before you get to mixing, though, it’s worth noting that hydrogen peroxide can bleach and discolor a carpet, so it’s best suited for white or light-colored rugs. The pros at Prestige Carpet Cleaners say you should check the bottle to ensure the concentration is 6 percent or less before using it.
6. The DIY 2-Ingredient Spot Treatment
If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide on hand—or you have a dark rug that could get discolored from using said ingredient—there’s a two-ingredient solution worth trying. With just baking soda and vinegar, you can take your take the “ugh” out of your rug.
Alink recommends sprinkling baking soda on the problematic area, then spraying with vinegar and letting the chemical reaction do its magic (literally). Finally, she scrubs the spot with an old brush and uses a wet towel to wipe up any extra soda or vinegar.
7. The DIY Odor-Removing Carpet Cleaner
Melissa Maker (Clean My Space) swears by her one-ingredient carpet cleaning solution, which is known to banish odors all over the home. Yep, you guessed it: baking soda.
Simply sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and let sit for about a half hour so that it can absorb odors and oils. Then, all you have to do is vacuum the rug. It’s that easy.