As some of you may know, I recently moved into a new place. As we ALL know, new places usually need a good scrub when we move in! As this one has carpeting in the bedrooms that looked a bit on the older side, I thought they could do with a good shampoo. BUT i absolutely did not want to use some toxic carpet cleaner that would then off-gas into our bedrooms later, and transfer around on our feet. Yuck.
So, there began my experiment with DIY carpet cleaner for carpet shampoo machines like the Rug Doctor. I rented mine from Safeway for about $25, and was looking at the shampoos, which would cost me an extra $15-20 all said and done, even if I was comfortable using them. So not only does this recipe eliminate toxins from your carpets, it saves you QUITE a bit of cash as well.
There are two steps to this process, one being a carpet cleaner, and the other being a rinse. Please do NOT mix the two sets of ingredients hoping to save yourself time. They will cancel each other out, creating something about as good as water (which does an ok job too, but then, why are you bothering mixing anything up and spending the money?).
As always, please spot test if you have darker or coloured carpets. Although these ingredients ARE natural, they may indeed strip certain dyes to a small degree.
First, mix in a large bucket about one part liquid castille soap to about 20 parts water. You could even use less if you are being super economical. Around there. Guesstimate, you don’t have to measure things out exactly! Fill up the cleaner reservoir, and go to town on that carpet. You should not get an overwhelming amount of suds.
If you run out of cleaner, just mix up another batch and add. However, it is important to note that you will have to completely empty the reservoir of cleaner BEFORE you add the rinse. Failure to do so will again result in the inert substance I described above. If possible, even rinse the last remainder of cleaner out with water so no residue is left. That being said, don’t add a whole whack-load of cleaner if you only have a bit of carpet left, or you will waste a bunch.
Mix about one part white vinegar to about four parts water. If you desire a scent, add 10-20 drops of the essential oil of your choice (I recommend lavender, any citrus, citronella, or rose). Add to resevoir. Go right over your carpets again with this. Do not be concerned about your carpets smelling like vinegar, the smell will quickly dissipate.
Unfortunately, in the exhausted stupor that comes with moving with a toddler, I did not have the foresight to take a before and after picture of my carpet. But you will not BELIEVE the yucky dirt that came out in the discard water. Holy momma, I am glad I cleaned those suckers!!
Some folks clean their carpet just with the vinegar solution, skipping the soap step. I wanted to make sure mine got super clean, as I wasn’t sure about what had happened on them prior to me being there. But, if you want just a light cleaning, you could definitely skip the soap and just do the vinegar step!
And there you have it! Carpet cleaning is backbreaking work, but at least this way you know you won’t be breathing in any toxic fumes while you’re at it!
NOTE: Some of you may be concerned about manufacturer warnings to not use any other products other than their lines, etc. in their machines. This is, generally speaking, a marketing scam, and there really is not much chance of these ingredients wrecking your machine. If you are really paranoid, just rent a rug doctor, mine was fine afterwards 😉