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Best Homemade Carpet Cleaner for Homes with Pets

Updated on June 19, 2013
Homemade carpet cleaners can be safe for you and your pets!
Homemade carpet cleaners can be safe for you and your pets! | Source

Ingredients for Homemade Carpet Cleaner

  • Borax
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • lemons/lemon juice

Best Carpet Cleaning Products for Homes with Pets

When you live in a house with dogs or cats you find out very quickly that you need to use carpet cleaning products that eliminate odors, remove stains, and pull out dander and pet hair. Many store bought products claim to do these things (and some of them actually do a decent job). However, many of the chemicals that are in these products are not healthy for you or your pet. The best carpet cleaning products are ones that are safe and effective.

By making homemade carpet cleaning products you can achieve a fresh smelling, stain free, and hair free environment while at the same time keeping your pets and family members safe. I first started making my own homemade carpet cleaners about five years ago when I realized that my one dog was breaking out in rashes on his belly. It had been happening on and off for years and I finally realized the cause of the rashes were the chemical-filled products I was using. Once I made the switch, he never had skin problems again. My son's allergies improved as well since the homemade products I used actually did a better job of getting the pet hair and dander out of my carpeting.

Carpet Cleaning Guide

Ingredients
Amounts
Best Used For
Directions
baking soda
1/2-1 cup depending on size of room
daily or weekly freshness
sprinkle on carpet, let sit for at least 10 minutes and then vacuum as you normally would
baking soda and vinegar and water
ratios of 1 part baking soda with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water
reducing odor
baking soda on carpet then spray the vinegar/water mixture over baking soda covered carpet, let sit for a few minutes or even overnight and vacuum thoroughly after vinegar and water dry
baking soda, vinegar, water, and dish detergent or vegetable based liquid soap
mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water and a small amount of liquid soap/ keep baking soda seperate
removing stains
Scrub the area with a microfiner towel or sponge dipped in the liquid solution. After scrubbing well, sprinkle a little baking soda on, let sit for 5 mins. and then scrub again with the liquid solution. Use a clean wet rag to wipe up excess baking soda. Let it dry and then vacuum the area well.
vinegar and/or lemon juice
depending on the odor you may need to use straight white viinegar or fresh lemon juice, otherwise you can dillute it to no less than 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water
eliminating strong odors
pour a little vinegar or lemon juice right onto the area and then press down into the fibers, Soak up everything with dry rags. After area is dry you can also sprinkle with baking soda and vacuum for a fresher smell.
Borax
1/2-1 cup
preventing or fighting fleas
sprinkle on carpet, let sit overnight and vacuum in the morning
vinegar and water
1 to 3 ratio of vinegar to water
steam cleaners
put in place of regular steam cleaning liquid and use cleaner as usual

Using Homemade Cleaners in Steam Machines

The best homemade carpet cleaner is one that is made of natural ingredients yet provides a deep clean. Depending on the type of carpet you have and the amount of traffic it gets, the equipment you use to clean the carpet could be just as important as the cleaner. A good steam cleaner will have chemical filled liquids sold right next to it, but you can just use vinegar and water instead and still have excellent results. The mixture will not harm your cleaner in any way.

Tips for Cleaning Carpets with Homemade Cleaners

Since homemade cleaners do not have chemicals, it takes a little bit more work to use them. However, I have found the few extra minutes are worth it. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when you use homemade carpet cleaners of any kind.

  1. The machine you use is sometimes more important than what you put into it. Pay the money to have quality cleaning equipment in your home.
  2. Homemade cleaners work best when you deal with the mess/pet stain immediately.
  3. Many times the cleaning procedure needs to be repeated two-three times to achieve the desired result.
  4. Make only enough cleaner to deal with the targeted area and dispose of unused mixes; do not store them.
  5. Always test a small area of your carpet and adjust ratio of ingredients as needed for your carpet. Dark carpets may benefit from less vinegar and lemon juice.

For stubborn or very dark messes or stains, check out my article on homemade carpet stain remover.

Is Vinegar Safe for Carpets?

Vinegar is very acidic and if not diluted, it can take the coloring out of carpeting. However, when diluted, vinegar is very safe and effective in cleaning carpets and keeping them free of bacteria which can cause odors.

Cleaning Pet Stains Naturally

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The dog vomit was cleaned up with a paper towel but stain was still there.I use a small steam cleaner that works great and is easy to clean out afterwards.White vinegar and hot water are used in place of chemical cleaner in my steam cleaning machine.The mini steam cleaner allows you to spray liquid and then scrub.Keep scrubbing the area and sucking up the dirty liquid until you can no longer see the stain.The stain is gone and the carpet smells fresh!
The dog vomit was cleaned up with a paper towel but stain was still there.
The dog vomit was cleaned up with a paper towel but stain was still there. | Source
I use a small steam cleaner that works great and is easy to clean out afterwards.
I use a small steam cleaner that works great and is easy to clean out afterwards. | Source
White vinegar and hot water are used in place of chemical cleaner in my steam cleaning machine.
White vinegar and hot water are used in place of chemical cleaner in my steam cleaning machine. | Source
The mini steam cleaner allows you to spray liquid and then scrub.
The mini steam cleaner allows you to spray liquid and then scrub. | Source
Keep scrubbing the area and sucking up the dirty liquid until you can no longer see the stain.
Keep scrubbing the area and sucking up the dirty liquid until you can no longer see the stain. | Source
The stain is gone and the carpet smells fresh!
The stain is gone and the carpet smells fresh! | Source

Natural Ways to Deal with Cat Urine Smell

Dealing with Cat Urine

Cat urine is one of the most difficult pet smells to deal with, especially if that urine had gotten into your carpet and carpet padding. Many times people think they have eliminated the odor, only to find it has returned a few weeks later. Since cat urine naturally has ammonia in it, using vinegar to clean and neutralize the smell is one of the first things you can try. You can also try making a homemade enzyme cleaner which will react with the contents of the urine and naturally neutralize it. However, many people will find that using liquid products causes the smell to go away immediately but resurface at a later time. Here are some ways you can use natural liquid cleaners and completely dry up the area so the smell does not return:

  1. When cleaning with vinegar or liquid enzyme cleaner, dry the area immediately with absorbent rags. You can stack books or other heavy objects on the cleaned area overnight to absorb all moisture.
  2. After cleaning the area with liquid cleaners, wait about 2-3 hours and then sprinkle the area with baking soda and rub the baking soda into the carpet. Let sit for about an hour and then vacuum well.
  3. A day or two after cleaning the area, use a black light to see if any urine is still present. If so clean the area again and follow the above drying techniques.

The video to the right and this article on dealing with cat urine also offers additional tips for dealing with the smell and the cause.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Cat MaMa 

      2 years ago

      Lemon is toxic to both cats and dogs, I wouldn't use as part of a carpet cleaner.

    • azedine profile image

      khettab azzeddine 

      3 years ago from Dallas

      I have a blog you might want to check out as well.

      www.cheap-carpets.blogspot.com.....glad you find my articles helpful !

    • chrissieklinger profile imageAUTHOR

      chrissieklinger 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I have a blog called pupcylced you might want to check out as well. www.pupcycled.blogspot.com.....glad you find my articles helpful!

    • ladydeonne profile image

      Deonne Anderson 

      5 years ago from Florence, SC

      Grrrreat advice for pet owners! I am starting my spring cleaning on Monday and will definitely make my own carpet shampoo. I also read your post on making dog treats and plan to use your recipe. You now have a new follower as you provide practical and useful advice for everyday living. You have a great talent. Thanks for sharing!

    • chrissieklinger profile imageAUTHOR

      chrissieklinger 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I have noticed a lot of commercial products advertise having baking soda in them and the truth is you don't need the other stuff they are putting in with the baking soda.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      5 years ago from New York

      Some good cleaning ideas. It is always better to go natural and nothing beats Baking Soda...one of the best products in our homes.

      Voted up and useful.

    • chrissieklinger profile imageAUTHOR

      chrissieklinger 

      5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I barely have any carpet in my house, it just doesn't play well with pets and kids!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thank you for writing this hub! We have two dogs, and I like the idea of avoiding harsh chemicals to clean the carpets. Luckily, we have hardwood floors on our main floor, or carpet cleaning would be a full-time job for me. I will definitely be trying out your homemade cleaner suggestions.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      Fantastic advice! I have a carpet washer machine thing (it isn't exactly a steamer), but it's kind of a bother for day to day carpet maintenance, and pretty impossible to use on my smaller rugs.

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      5 years ago from Canada

      Very informative hub. I have an much older dog and a grumpy cat that require us to deal with many a pet stain and will ditch the chemicals in favor of some of the solutions here. Oh cat pee, why must you smell so? Great hub, voted up and sharing.

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