Homemade steam cleaning solutions

Homemade carpet cleaning solutions save homeowners money. With the proper combination, simple household items can be mixed into a carpet cleaner that works as well as commercial solutions. Before applying any cleaning solution, test an inconspicuous area of the carpet and allow to dry overnight. Refer to the manufacturer recommended cleaning guidelines before cleaning the carpet.

A Basic Natural Cleaner

According to The Happy Slob's Guide to Housecleaning, the key to getting a professional steam cleaning at home is to use very hot water. Using too much soap can "glue" the dirt into the carpet, as well as attract additional dirt later. A basic natural cleaner calls for 1 cup of undiluted white vinegar to each 2-gallon steamer container full of hot water. The ratio of water to vinegar should be between 32-to-1 and 16-to-1. Stronger solutions can be applied directly to stained areas prior to steam cleaning. Vinegar helps to break down any soap residue in the carpet, clean and deodorise at the same time.

Detergent Cleaner

A mild solution of detergent (such as laundry or dishwashing soap) can be used to steam cleam carpets. Organic detergents offer a natural cleaning solution. Mix 1 tablespoon of detergent to every gallon of hot water. Adding too much detergent will result in sudsing and inadequate dirt removal. In general, you want to keep the detergent-water ration less than 1-to-200. Additional applications of only hot water will help rinse any remaining soap residue from the carpet.

Ammonia Cleaner

Basic household ammonia mixed with water in a 1-to-10 solution both cleans and deodorises a carpet. Remember to adequately ventilate the area and wear plastic gloves when working with ammonia. Never mix ammonia with a bleach-based product. Ammonia is not recommended for carpet cleaning in households with indoor animals, as they may be drawn by the odour to eliminate on the carpet.

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Lillian Teague is a professional writer and editor with more than 15 years of experience in taking hard-to-understand subjects and making them easily understood. She's written thousands of articles for newspaper, periodicals and the Internet. Published work includes VA publications, MMS publications, USAF's The Mobility Forum,,, and many others.