Can I use vinegar in my carpet cleaner? What else do I need to make a cheap and effective homemade carpet cleaning solution?
Delphine Bloom, Boston, MA
You’ve asked, “Can I use vinegar in my carpet cleaner?” I’m happy to report that yes, you can. Always vacuum before cleaning your carpet to pick up stray debris like hair and dust and to help handle a carpet beetle infestation. Dispose of the vacuum bag outdoors. Cleaning the carpet with a vinegar solution ensures you eliminate all bugs and odors from the carpet.
To make your own DIY carpet cleaner for a machine, you’ll need a gallon of hot water. Add a quarter cup each of vinegar and ammonia to the water. It’s more pleasant if you use lemon-scented ammonia and white distilled vinegar.
Now stir in three teaspoons of liquid dishwashing soap. Once you’re done, add it to the tank on your machine as usual and clean the carpet. Amazingly, this recipe also works as a DIY washer cleaner, too!
There’s an even simpler recipe for shampooing carpets. It calls for a half gallon each of white distilled vinegar and warm water. On the downside, it does have a less pleasant odor that one above.
You can also use vinegar to remove stains from your carpet. Make a foamy paste from two tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of white vinegar. Work that into the spot with an old toothbrush, then let it sit until it dries. Finally, vacuum up the residue.
On the other hand, sometimes carpets just need a little freshening up, not a deep-cleaning. This is especially true if you have pets or a busy family. In that case, try this spray. Combine two cups of warm water with one cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle.
Add two teaspoons of salt and fifteen drops of lavender essential oil. Shake it well, then spray your rugs. Once it dries, use the vacuum to remove any residue and fluff up the nap.