Do you need to clean your carpet? These areas can get messy due to muddy shoes, drink spills, and pet feet. The main options are hiring a commercial carpet-cleaning service and making it a DIY project. If you decide to clean up the carpets yourself then you’ll need to decide whether o not to use traditional or natural carpet cleaners. Which one is best? Old-school cleaners can be very effective but they also contain strong chemicals. These can produce strong odors and also might even be health issues for your household members if they have allergies or asthma, for example. They’re also quite pricey.
DIY carpet cleaners are made using basic household products. They include basic ingredients that you might already have like white vinegar and salt. Even if you don’t have all the items in your house the homemade cleaners are a piece of cake to make. One reason is you can usually find the ingredients at a local store. You also won’t have to spend tons of time mixing up the cleaners. This is another plus since it saves time and effort.
Why Use DIY Carpet Cleaners
DIY cleaners can provide you with various benefits for your household and environment. Here are some of the main benefits of using natural carpet cleaners:
1. Save Money
The cost of hiring a professional carpet cleaner can be quite high. The billing is based on factors like the square footage cleaned and method used. You could easily spend $300 to have a large area cleaned. This includes equipment, cleaners, and labor.
Compare that to natural cleaners. Ingredients like white vinegar are quite cheap so you can save a small fortune on the homemade cleaners. You’ll save even more based on the carpet sizes and total square footage you have to clean.
A big problem with most commercial cleaners is they contain toxic chemicals. This can have a negative effect on the local environment. Keep in mind it doesn’t matter whether the cleaners are used like:
What’s important is the chemicals add toxic chemicals to the water and air. This can affect not only your household but also your neighbors.
If you check out the ingredients list on professional carpet cleaners you might be surprised. Make sure to research any ingredients you can’t even pronounce so you’ll know exactly what’s contained in the product.
Like when reading the ingredients of pre-packaged food, it can be tough to figure out the ingredients in some carpet cleaners. They’re often ingredients that dry cleaners use, which also include strong chemicals.
In fact, these ingredients can cause breathing issues due to strong odors. This is especially true when people in your household/office have health conditions like allergies and asthma. In that case, there’s a chance the chemicals in the cleaners could trigger reactions.
It’s a different story with DIY natural cleaners. Some ingredients like essential oils might just cause small side-effects.
Natural Carpet Cleaner Ideas
Here are some ways you can clean your carpet using natural ingredients:
1. Wine Vinegar/Essential Oil
- Water (1/2 cup)
- Distilled White Vinegar (1/2 cup)
- Salt (1 teaspoon)
- Essential Oil (8-10 drops)
- Spray Bottle (16+ ounces
*note: This is for synthetic carpets. When cleaning natural-fiber carpets use a 2:1 ratio of water/white vinegar.
Use the funnel to pour water and white vinegar into the spray bottle. Make sure to use white vinegar instead of cane vinegar. This helps to deodorize the carpet.
Next, add the salt to bind stains. If you’re trying to remove tough stains like cranberry juice then add some salt directly to the stain first. Let the salt dry then vacuum it up.
Add 18-10 drops of essential oil like lavender to your spray bottle. This helps to keep bacteria away and make the carpet smell better. Make sure to pick a clear essential oil so it doesn’t add color to the carpet you’re trying to clean.
Next, add the top onto the spray bottle and shake it up good. You’re now ready to use it. First, make sure to BLOT extra liquid from the carpet (don’t rub). If the stain is solid/old then vacuum it up first.
Spray a lot of carpet cleaner onto the stain. It doesn’t have to be soaked but it should be covered well. Make sure to shake the bottle a few times between every spray. When you’re done allow the carpet to dry. Finally, vacuum up the stain.
2. Detergent Solution
For a synthetic carpet mix clear liquid dishwashing detergent (1/2 teaspoon) into lukewarm water (1 cup). Some good brands are Joy or Dawn. It’s important for the detergent to be clear so it won’t add color to the carpet.
If you’re cleaning a natural-fiber carpet then boost the dishwashing detergent to 1 teaspoon/1 cup lukewarm water.
How to Maintain Clean Carpets
There are times you’ll have to do carpet-cleaning. Even if you’re careful remember that “stuff” happens in life. You can take some steps to keep your carpets as tidy as possible between cleanings:
- Vacuum often and properly. Make sure to vacuum the carpet at least once a week instead of once a month. First, vacuum it horizontally then vertically. If you vacuum more often it will be easier to remove dirt and debris.
- Vacuum slowly. This will allow you to get stuff that’s caked into the carpet. You should also make tweaks to the vacuum’s height so it cleans the carpeting based on the type/height.
- Add a rug. This helps in different ways. It helps to keep areas with heavy foot-traffic cleaner. Another benefit is it even makes the carpet last longer because people aren’t walking directly on the carpeting in those areas.
- Change air filters. When you fail to clean them, it adds more dust to your home and thus the carpets. Follow the appliance’s instructions about how often to replace air filters.
- Clean up spills immediately. When there’s a spill on your carpet clean it up ASAP. This prevents the stuff from drying and getting deep in the carpet’s fibers. Make sure to research how to remove different spills. The main step to take is to blot rather than rub.
- Remove your shoes. This could be at the home’s front door. This is the best option so you won’t track in dirt and mud anywhere. Another option is to remove shoes outside a room before you enter. This will make it easier to keep the carpet clean and tidy.
- Add stain-resistant products. Some carpets are sold with this feature. However, it’s a good idea to add it for added protection. Scotchguard can help to keep dirt off the floor like natural carpet cleaners.