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Vinegar Can Clean Your Carpets

Updated on November 9, 2010

Four Reasons to Use Vinegar as a Carpet Cleaner

Vinegar is one of those magical household items that can do almost anything. It may be hard to believe, but you can clean almost any surface in your home with vinegar. The reason that vinegar is such a good cleaning agent is that it is a mild form of acetic acid. The acidic properties make it good at breaking down dirt and grime. My main concern when I first thought about using vinegar to clean my carpets was that there would be a lingering vinegar smell after I was done. Even if vinegar can make my carpets look good as new, I would not want them to smell as if they had a bath in vinegar. I found out that the smell dissipates quickly and does not linger. All of my concern had been addressed and it was safe to try the vinegar water mixture. A one to one mixture of vinegar and hot water in my carpet cleaning machine did a wonderful job at cleaning my carpets. There are a few reasons that I prefer this cleaner over the brand name carpet shampoos you can buy in the grocery store.

Vinegar Will Not Damage Your Carpet

Depending on the color of your carpet and the fibers it is made out of, some carpet shampoos or bleach based cleaners might be harmful to your carpet. Some harsh chemicals could start to break down the fibers and cause more wear than normal in your carpet. Bleach could turn your brightly colored carpets dull or even wash out the color entirely. You do not run into these problems with vinegar most of the time. Of course, it is always smart to try the vinegar mixture on a small and inconspicuous spot on the carpet first to make sure. Find a spot under the couch or in a protected corner where you can do a test run. You never try a new cleaner on your carpets without testing it first.

Video on How to Clean With Vinegar

Vinegar is a Green Cleaning Option

While vinegar is a mild acid, it is not something that would harm anyone if he or she got it on his or her skin. Some professional grade cleaners and brand name carpet shampoos have much more harsh chemicals in them. If you have pets or small children then they will be spending a lot of time on your carpet. Children constantly put their hands in their mouths. If some chemical residue is left on your carpet and then your child ingests it by putting their fingers or hands in their mouth, they could become sick. This is not a huge problem if you properly rinse your carpets, but it is something to think about. Using green cleaners like vinegar is one way to lessen your family’s risk of injury or illness due to chemicals.

Vinegar is Inexpensive

Compared to other carpet cleaning shampoos, vinegar is extremely cheap. You might spend as much as forty cents per ounce on brand name carpet shampoos. Alternatively, you can buy vinegar for about seven cents per ounce. Granted, you do have to use more vinegar than shampoo, but the fact that the carpet shampoo is so much more expensive and the fact that you need to add antifoam to the carpet shampoo still makes the vinegar a less expensive choice. For example, you would need 64 ounces of vinegar for one gallon of cleaning fluid costing you about $0.56. You would need 8 ounces of carpet shampoo for one gallon of cleaning fluid costing you about $3.20. You will also need about four ounces of anti foam that costs approximately sixty cents per ounce for an antifoam charge of $2.40. That is a total charge of $5.60 for one gallon of cleaning solution when using brand name products and less than $0.60 when using vinegar.

Vinegar Does Not Leave Soap Behind to Cause Wicking

Perhaps the most important reason that you would want to use vinegar over other foaming carpet shampoos is the fact that there is no possibility of leaving behind a soapy residue. Soap attracts dirt. When you shampoo your carpets and they are not rinsed properly, any dirt that may have been locked deep down in the carpet fibers will migrate toward the soap and then get carried to the surface of the carpet. The carpets could actually look worse after cleaning than before if the wicking is particularly bad. You always want to rinse with cold water to avoid wicking, but with vinegar it is less important. Of course, you should still rinse even if you clean with vinegar, but you will not be presented with the problem of wicking.

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