Homemade Carpet Cleaner For Scrubbing or Machines

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Do you have carpet in your home? Learn how to make two types of Homemade Carpet Cleaner, one for scrubbing and one for carpet cleaning machines. Both are made with natural, simple, and frugal ingredients.

Do you have carpet in your home? Learn how to make two types of Homemade Carpet Cleaner, one for scrubbing and one for carpet cleaning machines. Both are made with natural, simple, and frugal ingredients.

Homemade Carpet Cleaner

If you have a toddler, pets, a husband, or basically ANYONE living in your house, the carpet is bound to get a stain at some point. For some reason, I forgot this when we moved into the RV. (We had minimal carpet in the house, we tore it out and put in laminate, I’m not a fan of carpet!) We have carpet in the baby’s room, a small amount in the living room, and the main bedroom. It got dirty all the time.

Part of the problem is that my son wasn’t old enough to understand that we don’t take food all over the house yet, and I haven’t really pursued the rule since the house is so tiny, and I can easily vacuum up the crumbs anywhere in about 1 minute.

However, carpet is a little bit harder because the stains that get in it are a little harder to clean. Now that we are moved into the farmhouse, we will likely have even more carpet than we have right now (unless we tear up the old carpet, we find beautiful hardwood floors underneath!) so I’m preparing for the move with a new homemade carpet shampoo recipe.

We’ve developed a few different diy carpet cleaners that work great, and no harsh chemicals or nasty toxins are involved! The next time you get a stain in your carpet, give one of these natural carpet cleaners a try to make your own carpet cleaner that really works!

Cleaning the Carpets

Are DIY Carpet Cleaners Any Good?

It depends on your stain. A year-old blood or juice stain might be difficult to get out (with any carpet cleaning solution, homemade or not). DIY Carpet Cleaners will work best on basic stains such as fresh stains, pet stains, and dirt.

Which Home Vacuum Cleaner is Best?

Most vacuum cleaners on the market today have the technology to get the job done. That being said, we personally have a Shark Stick vacuum because it’s easy to carry around the house and has lasted a long time.

homemade carpet cleaner

Basic Homemade Carpet Cleaner

This carpet cleaner solution and method is one that use for hand scrubbing the carpets. This works best for small spots, pet stains, or to test an area of the carpet to see how it will react.

Ingredients in Homemade Carpet Cleaner

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Cleaning Rag
  • Brush
  • Vacuum

Instructions for Cleaning Spots with Homemade Carpet Stain Remover

First, sprinkle a little baking soda directly onto any carpet stains. (You can also use this on rugs.)

Using a brush (any kind of brush will do, from an old hairbrush to an old toothbrush, you want to make sure it gets into the carpet fibers), brush it into the carpet slightly.

Put the vinegar into a spray bottle and spray (or pour) it on top of the baking soda. Let it do its little chemical reaction, and after it bubbles up, scrub the carpet again with the brush.

Use the water and a rag to clean up most of the baking soda and any excess liquid. Using a rag is best since a paper towel will disintegrate and leave a bigger mess. Then you can run over the spot with a vacuum to remove any remaining baking soda still left.

This cleaner also removes smells from the carpet (such as from pet urine!).

**Note, please do a spot test on a small inconspicuous area of your carpet/rug first to ensure you won’t have any problems.

Carpet SHampooer

Homemade Carpet Cleaner for Machines

If you have a carpet cleaning machine or a carpet shampooer, you can use this recipe as the homemade carpet cleaning solution or homemade carpet shampoo that you add to the tank.

Ingredients in DIY Carpet Cleaner Solution

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (preferably with no dye in it if your carpet is light-colored)
  • warm water

In the bottom of your carpet cleaner machine, add vinegar and dish soap.

Fill the container the rest of the way to the fill line with warm water and use the machine to clean up dirt, odor, and spills the same way you would use a commercial carpet shampoo.

This mixture is great because it actually does clean your carpets instead of just adding shampoo/detergents into the carpets as many of the commercial products do.

Make sure to test both of these solutions on a small carpet area first before using them on a larger spot. Do not use any drops of essential oil like lavender oil or lemon oil in your carpet cleaning solution. It’s not a good idea to add oil to your carpet.

Baking Soda

Homemade Carpet Deodorizer

As mentioned above, you shouldn’t use essential oils in your carpet as oil could stain. Here’s an effective carpet deodorizer that you can try if you feel you need to get the carpets smelling fresh again.

Ingredients in Carpet Deodorizer

Baking Soda
Spices (Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Peel, Dried Lavender, or Rose Petals are all good)

Mix the baking soda with your favorite herb or spice. Add to a small area of carpet first and vacuum up to make sure it’s not going to stain, and you can get it back out.

Sprinkle over the area of the carpet that you want to deodorize and vacuum up any excess baking soda and herbs with your vacuum cleaner.

How to Remove Oil or Coconut Oil from Carpet

I have a full tutorial on How to Remove Coconut Oil. Although the tutorial focuses on removing it from clothing, the same methods will still apply to your carpet.


Are you fall cleaning right now? Here’s a FREE Printable Fall Cleaning Checklist to keep you on track. Make sure you get everything cleaned and freshened before winter comes while you have the chance!

More Homemade Cleaners

Grapefruit Bathroom Cleaner– Give your bathroom a fresh clean scent and get rid of germs with this easy cleaner recipe!

Homemade Cleaning Wipes– These are similar to Lysol Wipes but they are non-toxic and work great for quick and easy cleanups!

9 DIY Recipes For Homemade Cleaners That Actually Work– So many basic cleaners can be made with just a few inexpensive, ingredients. These 9 recipes are easy to make and will make cleaning your home a much more enjoyable experience without all those chemicals.

If you have trouble keeping fabrics and soft items smelling fresh, you might also be interested in making this Homemade Fabric Softener.

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Little House Living
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If you love these Homemade Carpet Cleaner Recipes you will absolutely love my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life. It features 130 recipes just like these that are perfect for your household!

Have you ever made your own homemade carpet cleaner or homemade carpet cleaner for machines? Did it work out for you? What’s your recipe?

Did you use these recipes and love them? Share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest using the sharing buttons below.

Me and Kady

Merissa Alink

Merissa has been blogging about and living the simple and frugal life since 2009 and has internationally published 2 books on the topic. You can read about Merissa’s journey from penniless to freedom on the About Page. You can send her a message any time from the Contact Page.

This Homemade Carpet Cleaner was originally published on Little House Living in October 2013. It has been updated as of March 2023.

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    1. I hope so too! Our inspector said they are still under the carpet so the condition is going to be the determining factor. I cant wait to find out!

  1. can you help me with my problem, my couch is cloth, it has stains from my pet, can you give some idea how to clean my couch without using water on it.

    thank you

  2. If your soon -to-be farmhouse was built before 1967 chances are very good that your going to find beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet. I wrote this story with the thought that I might expand it for a article to send to a church publication. Instead, I revamped it and sent it off to a national women’s magazine. I’ve read abit of your work online and I thought I would use this to send to you about your floors. I think it migh give you hope for your floors. If you would like to write back, I’ll tell you some of how I made staying at home work out in the modern world.
    I suspect, your going to find hardword floors. I raised my son’s at home and I didn’t work outside the home for money at all. here is the story,
    We moved into our “almost retirement” home about 9 years ago. Our Son’s were starting their adult lives and we didn’t need the super-sized family home anymore. That home had served it’s purpose and it gave our Son’s a Tom Sawyer perfect childhood. Times and Lives Change and we wanted a smaller, easy-care home. We bought a one story 1950’s era city home with wonderful landscaping. We were a bit hesitant about what we might find under the 1975 era carpet. This new-to-us home did have hand crafted cabnets in the big kitchen and very small bathrooms. We really liked the large sun drenched family room overlooking the backyard. Yet, we were not thrilled with the many small bedrooms. When I look at them, I can visualize my future grandchildern visiting for the summers and holidays. We weighed the pluses of the convenience against the odd pluses and negitives of the home and decided to plunge ahead with the remodeling adventure anyway. The price was a winner and would allow us to travel and visit our son’s no matter where they chose to live. We set in to update the home. We would tackle some jobs and hire professionals for larger jobs. One of our first brave steps would be to discover what might be lurking under the old faded carpet. Had it really been beige when it was bought new or was it really bought as Teddy Bear Brown carpet? We had explored the underside one evening and never did find anything resembling wood. The prior owners had laid carpet over carpet for decades!
    Quite an amazing rainbow of colors and a rather wild Elvis Presley looking 1960 era printed carpet was so surprising that evening, we retreated in horror!
    That carpet suprise, kept us in fear for two solid weeks. We found an open weekend and we gathered our courage and tools to rip up the wall to wall wonder carpets. The dust flew everywhere and the stack outside the backdoor was growing fast.
    Thank goodness our Youngest Son had come home to do laundry and we pressed a claw hammer into his hand. I retreated to the laundry room. It was a good trade. He provided the muscle needed to rip carpet at an amazing speed. I folded his jeans. Dad gave directions and rolled peices of carpet.
    It didn’t take long to discover we were the proud owners of gorgeous golden honey Oak floors throughout our home. They hadn’t seen the light of day in almost 60 years. We danced for joy around our rooms rejoicing in the shine of the newly exposed wood planks. We praised the skills of those long-ago carpenters who had built our “new-to-us” home. In a real estate sea of cookie cutter instant homes, we had found a home someone had lovingly gathered craftsmen to create. Our home isn’t the large sprawling backwoods late century home we raised our Son’s in. There isn’t a 28 by 32 playroom anymore. We don’t have a pond in the back to swim, fish and ice skate over. Our land doesn’t ajoin a state park and I don’t have a special kitchen to can our vegtables and fruits anymore. That home was ideal for our young family during the years I devoted to raising young men with real values and intelligence to succeed in today’s ever changing world. That home taught our sons to build their own dreams both in the large playroom and outdoors. They had the space to dream and create. Now, they are taking those skills and learning to succeed in this very large world. My Husband and I are ready to reflect on times and skils learned in the past. We have hung memento’s of our lives upon the walls. The walls are plaster, these memories are not going to be moved quickly but, we are not either so, it’s working very well. Our home is smaller in size and it reflects a slower time when skills were valued as much as the raw product. together we are combined to stand the test of time. For our upcoming retirement, I think we’ve made a good match.
    So, that’s it. Sincerely, Vickie

    1. Thanks for sharing! The house was built in 1890 so I know those floors are under there…it’s just the condition we aren’t sure about yet, but I’m excited to find out!

  3. I use this same combination when cleaning my carpets! This year, I started to pour the vinegar into a measuring cup and heat it in the microwave (1 cup, 1 minute). Let it set for a few hours and then use my machine. I think it works well.

  4. I wish you good luck with your floors. I am 75 years old and am a retired Residential Home Builder. I worked until I was 70 and had to retire. I would love to still be doing that. I built and remodeled hundreds of homes during my 30 plus career. I’m from a small town in SC and was the only woman builder here.(still) My own home was built in 1924 and was old farmhouse style. By the time I bought it, it too had carpet and padding. I was lucky and had only to remove one layer of carpet and padding……..the great surprise was that under the carpet was heartpine(about 1 inch in width!) I had the floors resanded with just a small amount of Provential color stain and a non shine varnish. I loved those floors! Sadly, about two years later, lightning struck the home and burned it to the ground! My heart was broken and we were so underinsured that we had to convert our garage into our home. Every one wondered why we didn’t tear down our 60 by 10 ft porch (wraparound with broken tile) but I had a plan. We lived in the garage apartment for 9 years until we could afford to rebuild, but when we did………we built the house to the porch and standing on the porch you couldn’t tell the difference in the new house and the old! We have lived here 12 years now and love it , but it just can’t compare with the old one. No matter how I tried, you just can’t buy the “character” of the old homes. I put down 3 and1/2 inch red oak floors in most of the house but in 3 rooms put carpet. Wish I’d gone all the way with the wood. (One can always use a throw rug or two.) Soon the carpet is coming up and we’re going to hardwood these areas too. Good luck with your farmhouse and if AT All possible refinish those wood floors! Yours truly, Beverly

    1. Thanks for sharing your story! We are thinking the carpet/mess isn’t too thick because we can see the wood floors sticking out in a few places around the stairs, ect. I guess we will find out next week!

  5. I’ve had good luck with gentle generic laundry detergent in the machine. My carpets are old and kid-kicked. Missing laundry detergent recently, lead to use of some washing soda (with the water softeners) and a touch of vinegar. It worked very well on average light carpet with the machine, too.

    Always perform a rinse when machine cleaning carpets to avoid stain build-up.

    Great post and I’ll be trying these in different areas. I also abhor carpets.

  6. I tried this and it left a huge white spot on my carpet. What did I do wrong? Did it just leave my carpet so clean that it’s white now? Does this mean that now I have to either dirty up the clean spot or scrub every inch of my floor with the vinegar and baking soda?

  7. You should never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar…it makes the solution caustic and turns it into a corrosive acid…

  8. Thank you for emphasizing not to add essential oils!

    You’re the first one I ran across to say it and why!

    Thank you!

  9. For a safe spot cleaner – even old set-in spots, rub diatomaceous earth into the spot. Let it sit overnight. Vacuum up. You will be amazed at how it works. I use food grade diatomaceous earth. It is safe even if the dogs get interested in it. We could eat it! 🙂

  10. THANK YOU! My partner is out of town for just a couple of days and is love to surprise him with clean bedroom carpet when he returns. Got ready to start the task… No cleaner solution. 🥴 Thank you so much for the answer!

  11. Best carpet cleaner I’ve ever had I like the fact that you can take it apart and clean it everywhere clean all the especially cleaning the hose that that’s an asset definitely would buy again

  12. I was very excited about cleaning my carpets with this but when I told my friend I used this solution she told me hydrogen peroxide and vinegar mixed are a huge no. They create a toxic acid that is dangerous. I wish I had known that before I used it in my kids bedrooms so just posting here for others knowledge.

  13. I just used the one for a carpet machine. Oh how much better this smelled and worked compared to the store brands. They are all so strong it gives us headaches. Carpet looks great!
    Thank you thank you thank you 🙂