Non-Toxic DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner

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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!

DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner solution in a glass pitcher.

*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!

Before and after photos of a homemade carpet cleaner solution.

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.

RELATED:  DIY Natural Hardwood Floor Cleaner

Fortunately, I had all the makings of a super safe carpet cleaner in my pantry and medicine cabinet–all you need is:

I love buying oils at Plant Therapy, whose oils are 100% pure, free from any additives, adulterants, or dilutions. Their facility is USDA Certified Organic, and their prices are also SUPER reasonable! Get 10% off your order of $50 or more sitewide with the coupon code ROOT10!

Distilled white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, castile soap, and essential oils on a table.

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.

Download a free copy of R+R's DIY Natural Cleaning ebook.

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!

DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner solution in a glass pitcher.
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4.42 from 12 votes

Non-Toxic DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner

This recipe for non-toxic homemade carpet cleaner uses just 5 simple ingredients. It’s inexpensive and effective!
Prep Time2 mins
Total Time2 mins
Course: DIY
Cuisine: Cleaning
Servings: 52 oz
Author: Root + Revel Collective



  • 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.



DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner ingredients and before and after photos.

Natural carpet cleaner ingredients.

About The Author

29 thoughts on “Non-Toxic DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner”

  1. I see others have commented as well, but as SOON as I saw that you had vinegar AND hydrogen peroxide on your ingredients list, I needed to echo!! Please take down this recipe and stop using this recipe! I wasn’t aware until the last couple of years either, but mixing the two causes SEVERELY TOXIC GAS to form! One OR the other, but NEVER both. Please be safe 🙂 I am posting this in the most loving and caring way possible but it is so so important I would hate to see you or someone else hurt!

    1. Hi Kay, thank you so much! All your feedback are very much appreciated here in our R+R community. I haven’t heard anything about this in the research I’ve done. What kind of chemical reaction does it create that is toxic? Would love to learn more. Thanks!

      1. Peacetime acid. It can irritate skin, eyes, nose and throat. I had a friend that didn’t know and put them into her washer together and had respiratory complications almost immediately.

  2. Don’t do this!!!! Please remove this article for health reasons! This is a dangerous and toxic mixture. Vinegar and peroxide CANNOT mix. 

  3. Caelin McGogney

    This worked to get my carpets clean but now there’s a thick scum left in the container for the carpet cleaner. Seems like the soap clumped 

    1. Hi, Caelin! Thanks for sharing. The soap shouldn’t have clumped at all so I’m wondering if it is a combination of the liquid and the dirt that was in the carpet itself. My advice would be to try to vacuum up as much dirt, especially in high-traffic carpeted areas before using this carpet cleaner in your carpet cleaning machine. Please let me know if that works!

  4. 5 stars
    Worked wonderfully well to clean carpets. I used Bronner’s lavender soap, so didn’t need the essential oils. Also skipped the hydrogen peroxide. The ratios recommended in the recipe for soap & vinegar were right on. Thank you

  5. Finally, a perfect carpet cleaning tip for me. I never thought it is possible, but after reading this I have tried and found an amazing results. It is much cheaper as compare to the solutions available in the market. It is less harmful, it has less side effects, and more importantly it cleans carpet very nicely.

  6. 5 stars
    I never would have thought I can make a cheap DIY homemade carpet cleaner just at home with no expense! These are really helpful and can save you an extra dime! Not that this is cheaper but this is also safer because normal products are surprisingly harmful.

  7. Okay what! This article is coming at the PERFECT time. We need to spot clean our carpets bad… toddler + dog = my floors are a wreck. I’m SO excited to try this out!

  8. Katie Showalter

    5 stars
    This is eye opening! I figured most mass-produced cleaning products were harmful so i’m always looking for good alternatives.

    1. Hi, Nicolle: Hmm, I haven’t heard anything about this in the research I’ve done. What kind of chemical reaction does it create that is toxic? Would love to learn more. Thanks!

    2. 3 stars
      Correct. You are supposed to spray one first, let it sit for 5 minutes, wipe it off/down then spray the second one. You are to never mix the two together in the some container. It creates parecetic acid which can cause respiratory issues and irritate the skin.

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Tips for a healthier home

Here are some eco-friendly home care tips for a healthy and green living:
  • Switch your cleaning products to eco-friendly options. You can find many of these in the grocery store and online.
  • Use sustainable materials for furniture, such as wood instead of plastic or metal. This will help create less waste and reduce the amount of natural resources that are used to produce them.
  • Choose lightbulbs with little or no mercury. These not only create less waste but also have an impact on climate change by using less electricity.
  • Plant trees around your property. Trees benefit the environment by providing shade, absorbing carbon dioxide, and purifying the air with their leaves. They also provide fuel for firewood during colder months and a habitat for wildlife. The benefits of planting trees go far beyond what you see right in front of you!

Green cleaning products

One way to make your home more eco-friendly is by switching over to green cleaning products. These products aren’t as harsh on the environment as traditional household cleaners and are less likely to cause allergies or other health issues. Plus, you can find a variety of green cleaning products that work for every type of surface in your home.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products

There are many cleaning products that you can use in your home that are environmentally friendly. One of the best ways to start is by switching to eco-friendly cleaning products. Many people don’t know that there are many types of eco-friendly cleaning products on the market today, including laundry detergent and dishwasher soap. A switch to green cleaners can be a simple way to create an environmentally friendly living environment.

Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean your home

If you want to make your home safer and more environmentally friendly, then you can switch from using toxic cleaning products to using eco-friendly alternatives. For example, if you want to clean your toilet, then you could use vinegar instead of bleach or other harsh chemicals. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, so it will do the job without harming the environment. You can also use baking soda as a healthy alternative to many household cleaners. Baking soda is an abrasive cleaner that breaks down dirt and grime; it’s also non-toxic, so it won’t harm people or the environment. It’s also inexpensive, so you can use it liberally without worrying about running out of supply too quickly.

Sustainable living

Most people are more aware of the environment these days and want to do their part to make it a better place. Homeowners and renters alike are doing everything from switching to environmentally friendly cleaning products, to using sustainable materials for furniture. Here are some tips for living an eco-friendly lifestyle in your home:
    • Clean with white vinegar – You can use this as a natural disinfectant that is also eco-friendly. It is also inexpensive and easy on your pipes because you won’t be putting harsh chemicals down the drain.
    • Avoid aerosol cans – Aerosol cans contain harmful chemicals that will release into the air when sprayed. Try switching to an eco-friendly product or find another way to clean.
    • Use reusable napkins – Napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, even facial tissue all come wrapped in paper (or other packaging). Reusable napkins or dish towels will give you one less thing you need to throw away every day!
    • Put up a clothesline – Even if you live in an apartment or condo where putting up a clothesline isn’t possible, there are many ways you can still dry your clothes without using electricity or gas. For example, hang them outside on a sunny day or turn your oven on low heat and hang them from the top rack.

Living with less waste in your home

One of the best ways to reduce your ecological footprint is by reducing the amount of waste that your household produces. Take a look at what you’re throwing away and try to find alternatives.
For example, instead of buying disposable napkins, use cloth napkins that you can throw into the wash. If you need face wipes for removing makeup, consider making them yourself from reusable materials like cotton rounds. And if you want to stop using plastic bags, use canvas bags or have bags made from recycled material. There are many other ideas for eco-friendly alternatives in your home as well.

Sustainable materials for furniture

Did you know that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day? This means that we are throwing away a lot of furniture and other items in our homes. To stop contributing to this problem, it is best to use sustainable materials for furniture. Sustainable materials are made from recycled materials which can be up-cycled into new products. Not only are these items better for the environment, but they also save money because the items will last longer.
Sustainable materials for furniture include:
      • Recycled plastic
      • MDF
      • Plywood
      • Timber reclaimed from old buildings or driftwood
      • Bamboo
      • Faux leather (made from cotton)
The pursuit of a healthy, green and sustainable home is achievable for anyone. It will require more time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.
Start with the small things. Make a conscious effort to recycle, turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them, and check your thermostat. It’s easy to get into a routine of living without giving it much thought, but the more you make an effort, the easier it will be to live sustainably.
After you’ve made changes in your everyday life, look for furniture that is made with sustainable materials. You can also buy an eco-friendly houseplant for your home that requires little care.
    1. Tips for a healthier home:
      • Turn off appliances and lights when you’re not using them
      • Check your thermostat
      • Make a conscious effort to recycle
    2. Green cleaning products:
      • Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products
      • Safer and more environmentally friendly ways to clean
      • Sustainable living:
      • Living with less waste in your home
      • Sustainable materials for furniture
  • Sustainable materials for furniture:
    • Consider buying furniture made with sustainable