I have 4 kids, 2 dogs and our house has carpet. It's a lot of work to feed my fresh-smelling-house obsession so vacuuming and carpet shampooing are common tasks for me. Today I've stockpiled a handful of my favorite homemade carpet cleaning tips using household items that you probably already have. You can sprinkle these on your carpet to clean, deodorize, kill fleas, remove pet stains and so on.
Not only is opting for a simple household item easy & cheap... it's safer and eco-friendly!
Baking Soda - I get giant bags of this from Costco. I use it in the fridge/freezer to trap odors, in the kids baths to help rid diaper rash, in their stinky shoes overnight, as well as when I vacuum or shampoo the carpet. Baking soda is non-toxic and absorbs odor so incredibly practical to use anywhere. Laundry, cat litter boxes, on toothpaste... the list is endless! But for carpets here are some tips:
- To deodorize carpet: Liberally sprinkle baking soda over carpets before you vacuum. Let it sit for at least 15-20 mins. and then vacuum it up. I like to sprinkle the carpet before I go to bed and then vacuum it up in the morning.
Bonus! Baking soda can kill fleas so before you rush out and buy chemical carpet powder, give this a try!
- To fast dry & absorb leftover dirt after shampooing: After you've shampooed your carpets and have allowed them to dry for several hours, sprinkle baking soda over the slightly damp areas to finish off/speed up drying and grab anything the shampooer left behind. Just be careful to not do this on too wet carpet or you'll have a harder time getting the baking soda up. This helps big time with those pesky spots that you think you've shampooed away but creep back up after a few weeks.
I generally shampoo the carpet in the morning on a warm day. Then I will sprinkle the carpet with baking soda before I go to bed and sit overnight (giving the carpets the day to dry naturally). When I wake up, I vacuum up the baking soda. My carpets get much cleaner w/this extra step.
Salt - You can sprinkle salt on a wine stain (will help absorb the liquid) as well as sprinkle on your carpet (let sit overnight) to brighten colors or kill fleas.
Cornstarch - Much like baking soda, cornstarch has a myriad of uses (here are a few you may not know about). To freshen carpets, sprinkle cornstarch on your carpet and let sit for at least 15 mins before you vacuum. Then vacuum as usual.
Borax - lightly spray your carpet with water then sprinkle it with borax. Let it dry then vacuum up. In addition to freshening your carpets, Borax can help with pests such as ants, fleas and roaches!
Vinegar- If you don't have an enzyme cleaner for pet (or kid) urine, douse the spot with vinegar! Yes vinegar has a yucky smell too but it will disappear after a day or two, unlike the pee pee. I will often make my own soap for my carpet shampooer to tackle pet stains. I use about a cup of distilled white vinegar, 1/4 cup laundry soap and a gallon or so of water (or however much the shampooer bladder will hold). If your doing it by hand, use a towel to absorb as much of the urine as possible first then sprinkle a good amount of vinegar over the spot. After 20 mins, blot it with a towel then let it dry.
Disclaimer: always do a patch test!