Toss toxic cleaners and dangerous chemicals! This recipe for non-toxic homemade carpet cleaner uses just 5 simple ingredients. It’s inexpensive and super effective!
*This post was first published in March 2016. It was updated in May 2020 to reflect updated information and recommendations.
When we put our house on the market a few years ago, we had a few punch list items to go through to get our house ready to list, including steam cleaning our carpets, which (thanks to our adorable kittens and their less-than-adorable hairballs) had quite a few stains on them.
So we went to Lowe's to rent a professional steam cleaner. But when we got home, we realized we forgot to buy the actual carpet cleaning solution. Doh!
So I decided to make my own and see what happened. As you can see from the photos above, the results were incredible!!
Turns out, after looking up the ingredients, we did ourselves a favor. The store-bought carpet cleaning concentrate was full of dangerous chemicals, like cancer-causing alcohol ethoxylates, endocrine-disrupting and allergy-inducing fragrance and environmentally-unfriendly copolymers and methylisothiazolinone. I dare you just to try and pronounce that last one.
Fortunately, I had all the makings of a super safe carpet cleaner in my pantry and medicine cabinet–all you need is:
- Distilled white vinegar
- hydrogen peroxide
- castile soap
- essential oils (I recommend lemon and sweet orange)
- hot water
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Not only was this DIY Homemade carpet cleaner just as effective (if not more so) than conventional store-bought cleaners, but it was WAY less expensive, infinitely safer and a breeze to make. Once again, I've found DIY recipes to be as easy as pouring liquids into a bowl and stirring.
You can swap out the essential oils you use if you prefer a different scent–something about citrus just smells clean to me, but lavender would be beautiful, too. To learn more about the benefits of essential oils, see this post on aromatherapy + my top diffuser picks.
Where can you use this DIY homemade carpet cleaner?
You DON'T need a professional steam cleaner machine or shampooer for this to work–I've tried bottling the solution and just spraying it directly onto a stain, letting it sit and scrubbing with a bristle brush, and it works just as well.
Next time you reach for toxic store-bought carpet cleaner, give this a try instead. And share your results in the comments below. I'd love to hear how it works for you.
Don't forget to check out these other DIY cleaning recipes. Happy Cleaning!
Non-Toxic DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner
- Combine all ingredients in a large jug or pitcher and stir gently.
- Pour into carpet steam cleaning machine and use according to directions. Or apply directly to carpet stain and scrub with a bristle brush to remove.