Easy Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution for Machines

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If you clean your own carpets or have ever considered buying a machine to do it yourself, this Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution will knock your socks off (no pun intended)! In fact, I’m certain you’ll never buy expensive machine cleaners again!

I’m very picky when it comes to my carpets and I don’t like stains.  For years I bought expensive “professional” cleaners to get my carpets the cleanest (or so I thought).  This simple homemade version works better and costs just pennies to make!  And, there are no harsh chemicals involved!

Your carpet will be clean, soft and fluffy with no lingering smell.  Just read the HUNDREDS reader comments, suggestions, and praises and make sure to leave one of your own when you see the amazing results.

carpet solution for machines

Easy Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution for Machines

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HOT Water (approx. 1 gallon of water)
1 Tablespoon Dawn (or other dish soap)
1 1/2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1/4 Cup 3% Peroxide

First, fill your machine’s water reserve tank or solution tank (which-ever holds the larger quantity of cleaning solution) with HOT tap water.  You’ll want this as hot as you can get it from the tap.  Leave space for the other ingredients.  *If you have a small solution tank for concentrated cleaners, just leave that empty, or fill it with water.

Then add 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap.  Other varieties work well, but don’t use any “with bleach”.  Then add the vinegar and peroxide.  3% peroxide is the type used on cuts and is found in any store in the first aid section.

Be sure to add the dish soap after the water or you’ll have a full container of soap bubbles before the water nears the top of the container.  Resist the temptation to add extra soap!

Clean your floors with your machine as you normally would.  You can rinse by using hot water, but I’ve found there is actually no need for rinsing.  It’s truly amazing how well this simple solution works!

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4.9 from 18 reviews
Easy Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution for Machines
Author: 
Recipe type: Chemical Free Cleaner
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
This incredible cleaner, using just 4 household ingredients, will out-clean any chemical-laiden cleaner hands down!
Ingredients
  • HOT Water (approx. 1 gallon of water)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dawn (or other dish soap)
  • 1½ Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • ¼ Cup 3% Peroxide
Instructions
  1. Fill your machine’s water reserve with HOT tap water. You’ll want this as hot as you can get it from the tap. Leave space for the other ingredients.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap to the hot water. Other varieties work well, but don’t use any “with bleach”.
  3. Add the vinegar and peroxide. 3% peroxide is the type used on cuts and is found in any store in the first aid section.
  4. Clean your floors with your machine as you normally would using your machine. You can rinse by using hot water, but I’ve found there is actually no need for rinsing. It’s truly amazing how well this simple solution works!
  5. *Add the dish soap after the water or you’ll have a full container of soap bubbles before the water nears the top of the container. Resist the temptation to add extra soap!

 Need a Machine for your Cleaning Solution?

I have two machines that work really well on my almost white carpets!  The Hoover SteamVac Carpet Cleaner with Clean Surge is an impressive cleaner with no frills. It gets the job done and the carpets clean!

If you are serious about your carpets this Hoover MaxExtract 60 PressurePro Carpet Deep Cleaner  is another great option.  I have it (and love it) and it makes my nearly white carpets look brand new after using my homemade solution.If you have high traffic stains or stubborn spills that won’t come out of  your carpet, don’t give up. This recipe took stains out of my carpet that have been there through cleanings with professional cleaners!

Check out our Homemade Spot Cleaner you can make yourself which does not require a machine.  This solution is stronger and effective on pet stains, grease and stubborn dirt!Stains on stairs?  We have the best recipe for Homemade Stair Cleaner and it is AMAZING!  This recipe also works on spots.

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Comments

  1. Can the solution be made in advance and stored for future use or is it best to just mix as needed?

  2. Genevieve says:

    I used this recipe yesterday with Rug Doctor and was absolutely amazed at how WELL it worked! Rug Doctor machine says that you can’t use any cleaner but Rug Doctor approved one, but I had no problems at all. It worked amazing. The carpet in one of the rooms in our rental house was black from smoke and it was amazing that with one swipe the carpet looked bright as new. This solution got rid of all stains from our dogs and their room now smells so fresh! I want to rent Rug Doctor in a couple of months again and this solution will always be my go-to! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you. I have never had a product work as well as this solution and so easy to prepare and smells so clean. I couldn’t be happier.

  4. A bit late as the last post in 2013 but I tried this mix this morning in my SpotBot. It’s the best I’ve come across yet. Only one stain left that I’ll retreat and see if it comes up. One word of caution. If using Dawn Ultra Concentrate (didn’t realize mine was 😉 ) ended up with suds and more suds. Took a while using clean water to but I think I’ve got most if not all up (used my full size carpet cleaner). Will cut the amount of Dawn in half. Now to get the subs out of the SpotBot.

  5. Thank you I tried so many different brands. I even tried the citrus based cleaner that works on everything else (lol).
    Finally no longer needing carpet fresh to mask the odor. I am hoping this blocks that spot in the dog’s mind that says it’s ok if she is mad at me for petting other dogs.

  6. This solution is fantastic!! I was a little nervous about using this mix because my carpets are sage green. How I wish I had used this sooner. I have 3 dogs, mud (we have had a rainy winter), normal spills, & all around everyday wear and tear that was making my carpets look bad. I had stains, dirt, and dog odor. I just could not justify spending $15.00 – $20.00 when I would walk past the carpet cleaning solutions in the store. Plus, my animals lay down there! My grandchildren play on the carpet too! This pulled ALL of the stains out of the carpet! The dog smell is gone! My carpet looks like the color it did when it was brand new! I hate to tell you this (embarrassed) but the water I threw out after cleaning the carpet was black…ewwww. I will be using this recipe to clean my carpets from now on.

  7. Hi Michelle, I have a Bissell little green carpet cleaner how much of each ingredient should I use?

  8. I went to shampoo my carpets today and realized I was out of my cleaner. I have a hoover shampooer and found your article! The only thing I did was add some downy unstoppables scent boosters. My carpets came out so clean and now my house smells amazing! Thanks for the recipe :)

    I will never buy carpet cleaner again…this will be my go to mix!

  9. Can use baking soda instead

    • I was wondering the same thing! I’d hate to still use a chemical filled ingredient even though like my husband said, it’s only a little bit….. I still don’t want to use it… I was thinking baking soda, super washing soda or Castille soap as alternatives. I’m gonna try it and see anyways :)

  10. I have looked up the combination of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide and I have read over and over it is very toxic to mix the two together. Thoughts?

    • As always be careful when mixing anything, but these are very diluted in the water and create nothing harmful, unless swallowed.

      • Hi Michelle ~
        Okay so I have a Bissell Pro Pet, so you do not put the mixture in where the solution should go, you put it in the tank where the clean water goes and comes back dirty correct?
        My dog keeps going in the same spot grrr.
        Thank you

      • Mimi Sandy Sue says:

        I love this simple recipe and have used one I created that is almost identical, for at least 20 to 30 years. It works like a dream!

        But I would like to add some suggestions:
        1. Sometimes my husband comes in with black car or truck grease in his clothes or on his shoes. I use. Crisco shortening, yes the white stuff your great grandparents used to cook with, or in my case I used to cook with it. Rub it into the black grease thoroughly, then rub dishwashing washing liquid into it, and shampoo or clean as usual.
        2. My small grandchildren spill milk and especially chocolate milk on their clothes and the carpet, whenever the stain is a bodily fluid, like milk, blood, etc. Pour a little straight peroxide after blotting up the stain, you will see the peroxide will bubble the stain out, then shampoo or clean as usual.
        3. If the stain is food related, clean up or blot up and then use dishwashing liquid to pretreat, and shampoo or clean as usual, dishwashing liquid is designed to remove food stains.
        4. I also have used baking soda in the solution, but I found it sometimes clogged up my machine. So now I generally use the baking soda on dry carpet, sprinkle it all over the carpet before going to bed at night, then in the morning vacuum it up. Sometimes a little essential oil in your favorite smell, mixed in with the baking soda or even in the vacuum cleaner bag, leaves a nice fresh smell in the room.
        5. I found out on some stubborn stains, Windex will remove a set in dirty stain, but don’t make the mistake I did, I tried a generic brand of window cleaner and it left blue stains on my light colored carpet that Windex didn’t leave. Blot up the stain as well as you can, pour a little Windex mixed with water and scrub with a brush, then clean or shampoo as usual.
        6. I too have used other brands of dishwashing liquids, but I truly believe Dawn works best of all I have tried.

        No, I don’t get paid to advertise these products, they are just what I personally have tried and findwork best for me.

        Otherwise, I think you about got it covered. Great job!

  11. I was fostering a cat who started urinating everywhere in my bedroom (and I mean EVERYWHERE). The stench was so horrible I couldnt even sleep in my room! I did a google search for homemade carpet cleaner recipes and found yours. I am SO glad I did! Not only did the solution get out every stain, there is ZERO urine smell now!! Seriously, anyone skeptical about this…don’t be. The results are nothing short of fabulous! And so inexpensive for all of us living on a tight budget! Thank you Michelle!

  12. I bought distilled white vinegar. Is that okay to use for the recipe?

  13. I make mine too basically the same but usually use 2 tablespoons of baking soda instead of vinegar but today I used both I think baking soda is an amazing cleaner I used to shrug it off thinking cheapskates used it but I was wrong it is magic I was surprised you didn’t add baking soda. Try it!! Oh and like I said I used both today and my carpet appears to have diamonds and fairies everywhere lol thanks!

  14. Okay, your concoction really works! But, should I rinse it out of the carpet when I am done shampooing?????

    • I have done it both ways. Sometimes I use a hot water rinse, but I don’t think it is really necessary. I think this is personal preference. Even without rinsing, the carpet is soft and clean.

      • Thanks, Michelle! Your mix has saved me a lot of money! I’ve shared it with my pet owning friends! Have a Happy Holiday! :-)

      • I plan on putting the solution on my carpets with a garden sprayer….then using hot clear H2O in my carpet machine to rinse! Wish me luck!!!

      • Jerry Thomas says:

        Can anyone who has used Michelles formula help me. Using my Hoover Carpet Cleaner. Do I apply your formula on the forward stroke applying the formula and then vacuum out the application as I pull the Hoover back toward me?

  15. OMG!! I am so amazed at how well this works…i have spent a fortune on carpet cleaning stuff and this is hands down the best! I wish I could post before and after pictures…simply amazing!!! Thank you so much!!!!!

  16. Rowan Gingery says:

    Would I need to put baking soda on after or is it not needed?

  17. We bought a house with dog stains. Will it work no matter how long they have been there?

  18. Wife and I decided to try a carpet solution recipe (hot water, dish soap, vinegar, fabric softener) I found on the web. Worked well. Removed the accumulated grime from the carpet and pet stains. Carpet now has a soft feel and clean smell. Next cleaning, experiment by adding Oxiclean and Snuggles fabric softener. Am not going out to spend $20.00 on a small container of carpet solution again- waste of money. Anyhow, wife and I are happy with the results. One BIG chore scratched off my honey-do list prior to Thanksgiving at our home. Don’t mind at all shampooing the carpet, as long as it saved us money.

  19. Any thoughts on using soda water instead of plain water. Or the rinse with soda water??

  20. I have a Rug Dr. Do you know if this recipe needs adjusting for my machine? It generally requires 1-2 oz. of cleaning solution per gallon of water in the machine. Thanks by the way for the recipe. Will be a real bean saver! 😉

  21. I have a Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer. I filled the water tank with hot water. Added the Dawn, Vinegar & Peroxide mixture. Left the solution tank empty. Put the knob on wash.

    I was skeptical at first worried that I’d have a soapy mess. Pulled the trigger and washed the carpet. Have to say now that it’s dry my carpet looks just as good, probably better than when I had Stanley Steamer clean it. I’m a believer. No soapy mess either.

    Adding the soap after the hot water is in the tank is the key to not having a soapy mess.

    Thanks, for the recipe

  22. Would apple cider vinegar work in this solution?

  23. Harley Gato says:

    I have tried the stuff you buy and it tends to leave a residue that attracts more dirt, so you have to clean more often (According to a friend of mine in the carpet cleaning buss). So just use what she says and how she says to use it and you will be happy with clean carpets. I rent and the carpets are about 15 years old and this did wonders for them, still worn but now clean.

    So Thank you Michelle for this formula from your family.
    Harley Gato

  24. Question. I have a Bissell pet vacuum. It has small tank for Bissell 2x mixture to be mixed with water. Tank is about 2 cups. How do I use your formula in it. Is there a need to mix it with water. Or do I just fill the little tank with your formula alone. Is it strong enough? Because I’m guessing my vacuum mixes whatever comes out of the little tank.

    • Shane, My mixture is already diluted to the exact strength. Does your Bissell Pet Vacuum have a water tank? I put my recipe in the water tank of my machine. I suppose you could add everything but the water to the formula tank but I am not sure how much of it mixes with water. Let us know what you find out. I have a feeling it will work either way.

  25. I am also interested in if this solution will work with a SpotBot. The last post, as far as I could see, about a SpotBot was July, 2013.

    • The Spot Bot works much like the Hoover Spin Scrub so I would say “Go for it!” And please let us know what you think! I have a prediction that it will be amazing!!

  26. Is this solution Okay to use on wool carpet

  27. I have dark brown carpet will this solution fade the carpet>

    • Lisa, I cannot comment on your specific carpet. I would encourage you to test an inconspicuous area before you begin. I can tell you that I have done my own area rugs which are dark burgundy and black and the solution did not remove any of the color or discolor my rugs in any way. I hope that helps!

  28. I guess I am not understanding why you do not put it in the solution tank? I have a Hoover steam vac spin scrub. From the solution tank then goes into dirt water tank, does not have a reserve tank.

    • Tamara, Where you put the solution really depends on your machine. My machine has a small tank for concentrated solution and a large clean water tank. These mix to clean the carpet. You would put the cleaning solution where your machine will use it to spray the carpet. Does that make sense?

    • dont have to answer did it in solution tank worked great. The bathroom carpet has never looked that good since I bought it. Thanks for the homemade mix.

  29. L J Elliott says:

    You should NEVER put any kind of soap on your carpet….Not even a Tablespoon mixed with other things….it becomes a magnet for dirt…then it becomes a never ending process…

    • In most cases you are correct, LJ, but in this case… You’ve got to try it. It works and dirt is not attracted any more than on brand new carpet. I have used this shampoo recipe dozens of times and have never noticed any residue. I don’t even see a high traffic pattern on my carpets.

    • I’ve always heard that you can’t mix white vinegar and 3% peroxide together.

  30. I’m wondering if this irk on furniture as well. Between my dogs, cat, and grandson it gets pretty yucky.

    What do you think?

  31. Eleanore says:

    I am out of solution & trying your recipe today! I’m excited to not have to run out of the house as I’m dong a deep clean today while my husband & kids are out. We have 2 large dogs & my kids are 2 & 3. Along with my husband. My carpets are filthy!!
    Can’t wait to see how it works!

  32. Felicia says:

    Worked perfectly! Thank you :)

  33. Mr. Stacey Nerness says:

    I have used laundry soap in place of dish soap but it is hard to get all of the soap out, Trying your recipe today and hoping it works. also found on really tough stains, I spray them with shout or an oxy pre stain spray. Works really good on the kids messes. Thank you for the recipe.

  34. Michelle
    Will this work on mold on carpets and help with the smell. Will definitely give a try.

    • I haven’t tried it on mold but I would think so! The vinegar will take out odors and the peroxide should remove the stains.

    • If your carpet is mouldy, remove the underlay and discard/replace. If your carpet is in a area of cold and wet, just chuck the carpet entirely and lay down tile. Hope this helps.

    • White vinegar is great for all types of odors such as mold and dog and cat urine. I’ve been using is for years. It is also great to put in the rinse cycle of your clothes especially if they were left in the washer to long and got that musty smell to them.

  35. Julie Clements says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I just came across this recipe today, and I’m gagging to try it in my Bissell ProHeat machine that I just bought (instead of the solution that I bought to go with it). Hubs is going out of town on business, and this disgusting cream carpet needs a bath. BAD! So while he’s away I wanted to use this in the new machine, but looking at my directions (yes….I read directions periodically *grin*) I read the following:
    NOTE: Both the SmartMix tank (the solution tank) and the clean water tank must have liquid in them in order for the
    machine to spray. If one tank is empty the machine will not apply cleaning solution or water.

    So I need a suggestion on what I should do for this machine in order to be able to use your solution. Pretty please! Help!!

  36. My daughter just purchased a house that has been smoked in, apparently heavily. The bedrooms have carpet while the remaining floors are wood and tile. The house smells like an ashtray. Does your solution work on odors and on other surfaces as well?

    • Carol, I have never tried the solution on odors specifically. I would add 1/2 to 1 cup of febreze to the solution if it were me. Good luck to your daughter. Baking soda can also absorb a lot of odors that linger in the carpet. For the walls, I would paint them to seal off those odors.

    • Vinegar works wonders on all kinds of odors.

  37. Hello – I have the Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Washer and was wondering if anyone had used this solution with that machine? Also someone stated that using Tide or a laundry detergent would do wonders? Any suggestions or feedback? I have a 3 teenage boys, a 7 year old boy and a dog so our light cream carpet needs all the love it can get!
    Thanks

    • Amy, Yes, the solution will work in your Hoover! I would be really careful with adding laundry soaps. If you do, add just a few drops. The reason you don’t want a lot of soap is because of the residue it leaves behind which then collects a lot of dirt. Another solution would be to rinse really well with hot water after shampooing. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

  38. Will this work with the Dirt Devil Platinum Force Rug Shampooer?

  39. Di Anna Bennis says:

    Hi there, I’m new to this site and am going to try your carpet cleaning recipe today. We have 4 (yes I said 4 ) dogs and 2 cats . 1 dog is 14 and 1 cat is 20 . We have carpet in our bedroom and it is a mess our oldest dog has a sensitive stomach and tends to get sick on the carpet and the carpet is just awful from all of the dogs being outside and rolling on the carpet .Did I mention I HATE carpet any way but my Husband wants it in the bedroom because…..He does ??? . Any way how much stronger can I make this without it leaving a sticky residue ! I have spent hundreds of dollars on expensive “miracle” carpet cleaning supplies and it just cost too much money and like someone else mentioned I want to keep our house nice we spent a lot of time refurbishing it and as mad as I get at his dogs I still love them but, they certainly need to start doing their chores :)

    • Di Anna,
      Here is what I would recommend….1) Make the solution double strength, go over entire carpet – slowly. 2) Make the solution regular strength, go over entire carpet – slowly. 3) Make a boiling hot water rinse and go over the entire carpet again for the final time. Please let me know how it works!!!

  40. Awesome stuff. Did two area rugs today and they both came out beautiful. I was ready to throw one of them away, glad I gave it a shot first! Thank you!

  41. I just started to use your cleaning solution on my Carpets cause they were really bad when I bought this home, I have 3 dogs and 3 cats and 3 children I used a expensive carpet cleaner and solutions many times and haven’t got any results so I thought I would try this well we ran a test run in a corner to see if it would work and well I hate to say this but the stains and spots are still there we ran over it 5 times and they are still there, I used your solution to a T I don’t understand what I did wrong. Please any help would be nice.

    • Heather, If the stains are bad, add a bit more peroxide and vinegar. I just did my daughter’s bedroom this weekend. The stains were gross. Chocolate and iced tea were spilled in the carpet, dried and very stained. I made the solution stronger and it worked. Her carpet now looks brand new again. Go slow. Go over the area several times. I am sure there are stains this solution will not take out. It is not effective on terrible grease stains, nail polish or paint. I know that from experience! Hope that helps.

      • Love this recipe! Works great…smells nice…feels and looks clean! Been using for years on my cream area rug!
        *A 24+ hr Tide soak removes grass stains (on jeans anyway)! :)

  42. I have tan berber in several rooms of home; will your cleaning solution work on it?
    I have no idea if the berber is nylon or what it is. Help.

    Thank you for any suggestions.

  43. Trina Watson says:

    I admit I was a little hesitant to try this formula on my couch and chairs. They are a darker color. I added a tablespoon of fabric softener for fragrance. It worked amazing. This furniture has never looked so clean and its soft with no residue. There was no discoloration but it did show darker stains I had no idea were there so I’m going to spot treat. I have cats and smoke and the smell of both are gone. So thank you for this formula.

    • You may have to shampoo a few times to get out tough stains Trina. I would recommend going over it at least 3 times total and then let us know if all the stains are gone!

  44. Diane Green says:

    I just tried your recipe in my Bissell QuickSteam and it worked wonders. I’ve lived here 11 years and have been too ill the past several to clean the carpet. It is dark brown in my living room and light beige in the rest of the house. The people who owned this place before had a big dog in this 670 square-foot home and when I moved in, I did my best to get up all the stains but there were a few that seemed to keep coming back and I finally gave up after I started feeling bad. I have no pets and my babies are grown so it is just me and my mess but the amount of just plain dirt that came up after so long was amazing, The phantom dog stains are now gone. I still want to do a rinse or two until the water runs clear and may alternate a rinse, clean and then rinse. There is no scent; just freshness. I think adding 1/4 c. Febreze would be alright if someone wants a scent. I personally love it but am glad I tried the recipe as is so I could comment on its effectiveness. Thanks for finding and sharing this ….

    Diane

  45. michelle are you there?

  46. Hi Michelle, I have a rug doctor machine.It requires 1 oz of rug doctor cleaner for each tank of water I use. When cleaning dirty carpets it requires Frequent tank refills of fresh water. Is there a concentrated way to make a larger amount of this solution all at once ?

    • Maggie,
      I know several people have used this solution in the Rug Doctor with excellent results. In a regular machine, some have suggested using the cleaner in the regular tank to wash, then rinse with plain hot water. That may work well for you in the Rug Doctor! Let us know what you find out, it will likely help someone else who is using the Rug Doctor machine!

  47. I only have palmolive dish soap on hand, is this fine to use or should I get the dawn dish soap?

  48. Great recipe!!!! My cleaning machine needs to be updated but even still….the carpet looks almost as good as new!!!! The best part the house doesn’t smell like chemicals just clean air.

  49. I have a machine that has a solution tank. Do I put my cleaning mixture in the solution tank? The directions are somewhat unclear.

    Thanks!

    • First, fill your machine’s water reserve with HOT tap water. You’ll want this as hot as you can get it from the tap. Leave space for the other ingredients. *If you have a solution tank, just leave that empty.

  50. How important is the peroxide? Can I do it without that? I have everything else.

    • The peroxide is extremely important. I don’t think you will love the results without it.

      • I have cream carpets will the peroxide take colour out of my carpet like bleach

        • Lori, My own carpets are cream and peroxide does not take any color out. I have used this receipe on green carpet and darker rugs and it does not take any color out.

        • Lori and Michelle,

          I know this is months later, but wanted to add a word of caution. I also have cream carpets and the peroxide DID leave bleach stains on my carpet. I followed the recipe exactly, but alas, whatever brand of carpet my apartment complex uses does not hold up well to any kind of peroxide or bleaching agent, as there are now quite a lot of noticeable white spots all over the carpet in my children’s room, and we will probably have to pay to replace them.

          I would *really* recommend you do a spot test in the back of a closet or something to make 100% sure that the peroxide won’t take any of the color out of your carpets. If it works, wonderful! But if not, you’ll be thankful you found out with a tiny area and not your whole carpet. Good luck!

  51. Can I use this formula in a Rug Doctor?

    • Yes Melissa! It should work just fine in a Rug Doctor!

    • Hi,

      I just used this solution in a Rug Doctor, and it worked very well thank you! I just wanted to say that I think the water rinse may be the most important part (Michelle, you mentioned that you felt it was not necessary). I did a water-only rinse after I was through cleaning the carpet with the solution, and the dirty water that came out was so much darker than the first waste waters that I threw out. I think your solution actually serves to loosen the dirt and allows the machine to get the initial layer; then the hot water rinse collects the rest of the stuff that was left behind and loosened by the first wash. I was really amazed at how much dirt came up with a water-only rinse. Also, I boiled my water and added it to hot tap water to make it much hotter than usual. I think that was effective too.

      Thank again!

      • I also used this with a rug doctor and it worked great! I agree that the hot water rinse really helped and got up a whole lot more dirt. I don’t know if it was necessary just because of how bad our carpets were though. Also my carpets are beige and no color damage

      • This is great advice! Thanks for leaving feedback!

  52. Deedee Berry says:

    This solution works great! I’m sold!

  53. I am taking a break from cleaning my tan berber carpet to tell you how much I LOVE THIS! I have 3 kids and 2 cats and our living room carpet was horrible. We have wall to wall carpet and I had put a small area rug on top of it in front of the couch. I moved that rug the other day and was disgusted with the difference between the clean carpet underneath the rug and the horrible mess on the carpet around that spot. We don’t eat in that room, we always take our shoes off before we go in there, and I have no idea how the carpet got that dirty, but I can tell you, your cleaning solution worked! Thank you so much!

  54. I recently purchased a Big Green Deep Clean Machine, and the instructions state specifically not to use vinegar in it (http://www.bissell.com/aossDetail.aspx?id=21720). I’m looking for a natural alternative to the chemical cleaners, but also don’t want to destroy an expensive machine. What do you think? Thanks!

    • Does your machine heat the water? Does it have a separate tank for the solution and the water? My machine does not heat the water (I pour hot water into the tank) and I have used the recipe in it over 30+ times. The machine runs like new with no problems.

      • I add a 1/4 cup of Gain Febreze and a 1/4 cup of regular Rubbing Alcohol. My carpets have never looked better and used this recipe at least 20 times. We have 3 large dogs and I foster German Shepherds. I’m constantly cleaning carpets!! My machine and my SpotBot have never clogged. Love it!

    • I was wondering how this recipe worked out in your machine Steve? I have a Hoover that says uses heated cleaning, which I am assuming works somewhat like the bissell

  55. I use this in my Bissell pro. Because you just use this in the tank you have to put your setting on rinse.I also add a quarter cup of fabric softener it leaves a nice scent.

  56. I was wondering if I would be able to use apple cider vinegar. …. of course thats the only kind I have in the house right now.

  57. Michelle – this is an amazing recipe and I will be using it for a long time I’m sure. I have two toddler boys and an English Mastiff all of whom are completely crazy mess makers. I used this today to clean an “accident” spot that the dog made overnight and the carpet is unbelievably super clean and this left no odor at all! Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing recipe!!!!

    Victoria

  58. Hello,
    I have a Bisssel little green pro heat, I was looking for a more natural safe cleaner for a couple of chairs I wanted to clean.
    I came across your recipe and it really cleaned up the chairs well, they are a medium brown and they did not fade at all, really freshened up the stale smell they had.
    After using the cleaner, I read that you should never mix hydrogen peroxide and vinegar because it can cause skin irritations and respertory problems….. Well I have sensitive skin and breathing problems and you’ll be glad to know I did not experience any problems of that nature while using it . :-) Thanks again for posting, it works !!!!

    • Thank you Diane. I have used this receipe to clean my entire house of carpets over a dozen times in the last year. There is nothing toxic about it. My kids have walked on it wet, there is barely a smell. When it dries, it is odorless and CLEAN!

      • Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar combine to form peroxyacetic acid. However, in your solution it will be a very low concentration.

  59. Chris Sullivan says:

    Michelle or for anyone else…I have a Bissell Power Steamer, however, the solution dispenser is no longer working…If I read your directions correctly..I can just put the solution where the hot water goes ? Thanks…

    • That is where I always put mine! Leave the solution dispenser empty.

      • Chris Sullivan says:

        Thank you….after about 3 gallons/3 cleanings..my carpet is 10 times cleaner…with 3 cats and a 8 year old…the stuff coming up was pretty nasty…hopefully the helps out the allergies a bit..

  60. This is an awesome solution. I learned in Microbiology that a 1:10 vinegar solution is better than applying beach to kill bacteria. Adding the peroxide and soap helps to remove additional dirt and bacteria. I have been using this for years and it is the best out there.

  61. We made a big batch of your rug cleaner after trying it. Since the concentrate is used in the dispenser of the rug cleaner we keep the water side clean water only for additional rinsing. Here is the mixture diluted so that it will run out when the dirty water is full:
    32 ounces hydrogen peroxide
    4 ounces of Dawn
    6 ounces of white vinegar
    16 ounces of water

    I am told that ANY shampoo will also work well, although if grease of any nature is involved Dawn is best

    • Well, I was looking for out and came across your solution and it peaked my interest. I sent my husband out to gather the necessary materials. I sure hope this works because I am all about using more natural materials to clean with considering all the children and animals we have around here. I’m Going In, I’ll be back later to post my results. Thanks for caring and sharing!

  62. Sorry that would be downy

  63. Could you use doney fabric softener for the aroma ans softness? If so how much?

  64. Just got done using your solution on a doggy vomit accident. Not only did it pick up the stain, it picked up the extra yuck left behind from cleaning the carpets last week! This is my go to cleaner for now on! Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  65. sherry hess says:

    Can I use this solution with a kirby?

    • I think others have and found it to be successful! There is nothing in the solution that could harm your machine. Read through the comments for advice from those who have tried it in a Kirby!

  66. My carpets are light brown (not from dirt LOL) and I was wondering how the peroxide doesn’t bleach the carpet.

  67. Sherry Else says:

    Doing the happy dance on my awesome CLEAN AT LAST carpet. Slightly OCD with floors. We just got new puppy who is not so OCD. 15 yr old carpet has taken a beating with his accidents. Used solution that came with Bissell Pet steam cleaner. What an exercise in wasted time! Inly thing good can say about it was free! However this solution took up Boogie ( puppies name) and old stains from last resident! I will never again use anything else. Thank you million times over! And Boogie thanks you too!

  68. Thank you!!! I have 30 year old (original) carpet in a beach condo. I believe they were originally peach ( so 80’s!) but have faded to beige-ish. Used to have professionals come in at the end of each season however the last 2 times there were streaks where they didn’t overlap. Bought the Hoover steam vac and used the cleaner which came with it. Along with pretreating by spraying LA Awsome. Worked better than most bottled cleaners but still always had a grayish cast. (Even after 2 sometimes 3 rounds of cleaning). Ran out this AM and found this recipe. The carpet looks wonderful. Don’t get me wrong…it is what it is. 30 year old carpet in need of replacing BUT it’s very clean 30 year old carpet. No gray smears and a brighter look. Thanks a million. Will be passing along to several friends.

  69. You are my savior! This works better than store-bought cleaner! My Mom was VERY impressed and so was I! Thank you x 1,000,000!!!!!

  70. My husband bought a carpet cleaner thing for $4 at a garage sale. I was skeptical. I found your cleaner recipe through a search and used it. It worked wonderfully!!! I can’t believe how gross my rugs were yuck!! Thank you for this very simple and very efficient recipe!! I love it!!!!

  71. I cleaned for the first time yesterday. ? Do you use DAWN Concentrated or non? Seems I had too many suds. Don’t know if that is to be or too much soap?

    • Those suds could be from previous cleanings that didnt do a good enough rinse. Try rinsing a spot that you havent cleaned yet to see if it sudsy. You may just need to rinse the carpet and use the soap that is already in the pile.

  72. Hi Michelle! We literally just got through using your DIY carpet cleaner for the OLD (like over 30 years) and dirty carpets in the house we rent. We had cleaned them about 5 times before now, but I’m here to tell you, this solution works a thousand times better. It got up stains that were probably left here in the Nixon administration, that the commercial ones didn’t touch. Plus the whole house smells fresh and airy!

    We know the carpets need to be replaced, and I’m sure at some point our landlord will do so (he’s a great guy), but right now, I am perfectly pleased at how they look. Your carpet cleaning recipe is AWESOME. I will never use anything else. I love being able to spend about $5-6 for 14 gallons of cleaner. Thanks so much for a great, thrifty and spotless carpet cleaning recipe!

    • I love hearing these great stories. I’m glad it works and you like it!!!!

      • Michelle,
        I have a Bissel Pro Heat 2 Pet machine. It sounds like you are saying to ignore the solution dispensing tank and put your homemade solution into the clean hot water dispensing area. Do you run the machine on the regular cleaning setting which would be looking to get solution from the now empty soap tank or do you run the machine on the rinse cycle since there’s only solution in the hot water reserve tank? Maybe the brushes don’t even operate in the rinse cycle? Not sure. If you run it on the cleaning setting and the liquid coming from the reserve tank that is normally supposed to be water is now solution doesn’t that leave the carpet in need of a rinse?

        • My machine may operate differently, but I put my solution in the larger tank (which is supposed to be plain water) and run on regular cleaning setting. My machine dispenses a mixture of water and solution onto the carpet if used. Since this is already mixed, I leave the solution side empty. I hope that makes sense.

  73. im definitely trying this ive tried a couple with just dawn baking soda and vinegar and got nothing but i am going to add the peroxide and see if i get anywhere. I have an older hoover all in one (hard floors and carpets as well as upholstery attachment) atm my parents have 4 grown cats and 5 half grown kittens (that will be leaving) add my 4 yr old captain mess maker into the mix and there are dark spots and a high traffic path area that i can never seem to keep clean! Top it off the carpets are (were) light beige and were in a rental! Will post back in a week or so whenever i can get to the carpets again!

  74. Shelbie says:

    What about for dark colored carpets, still use peroxide?

  75. I have a tan living room rug and it has bad dirt stains ,as soon as u walk in my door your in my living room, so it’s hard to keep clean , what would u recomaned me using ,i tried laundry soap and dawn but it doesn’t get the stains out .

    • I highly recommend using the recipe provided for machines. You may have to shampoo the room up to 3-4 times. This has worked for me several times! Good luck!

  76. Hello michelle I just got a hoover steam cleaner and want to clean my couches which have huge stains. Does this solution work on upholstery? Thanks for your help

  77. Could I use castille soap in place of dawn? I’m out of Dawn, but have some lavender dr. Bronner’s.

  78. OldNick says:

    Any thoughts about using more Peroxide? I make up my own 10% peroxide from a 50% bottle and distilled water and I have used it, neat, as a spot remover on our living room rugs. It cleaned up a dog sick stain and did nothing to the carpet. I also spray it on our lounge chairs and it does an amazing job there, too, without damage to the chairs. We were sold a “magic” (and expensive) cleaner and I soon found out it was just Peroxide.

  79. Thank you so much for this! I was fully prepared to remove and replace my carpet due to stains. Trying this recipe was supposed to be a temporary fix until I could have the new floors installed but I don’t have to anymore. My carpet looks so clean and fluffy. You have saved me major $$ with this recipe. Thank you! Thank you!

  80. Hey there!

    I recently purchased a house, and the carpet is atrocious! More on that afterwards if you’re interested. I was reading around on the internet and have seen a few various recipes, and I wonder what you think of alternate or additional ingredients.

    First, soap. A few recipes I saw used laundry soap instead of dish soap. Have you tried laundry soap? if not, do you think it would be better, worse, or on par with dish soap?

    I saw another recommendation to use ammonia instead of vinegar, stated by the users that it does a better job in place of the vinegar.

    Thirdly, I read about baking soda, and I read a comment with your reply – what do you think about combining baking soda and vinegar, or baking soda and ammonia? I know vinegar and baking soda react, I use the said reaction to clean my shoes (with great results!), but the level of dilution would minimize or even negate it.

    Finally, about my carpet, if you’re interested. I purchased from a family friend, when he purchased it, approximately 15 people lived in this 3 bedroom house for around 5 years, as told to me by the neighbor of 20 years. The family friend had his son living in this place, and he was a heavy party person. The friend said the floor has been doused with every negative thing you could imagine, pet stains, vomit, blood, red wine and alcohol, all sorts of food, they used the floor as an ashtray and a bit of a trash can… so I very much want to clean and disinfect this carpet as much as humanly possible.

    Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your reply!

    • First, I would admit, I have never cleaned carpet that dirty. I have used different solutions using ammonia but never baking soda in my machine.

      ***Personally, if I was you, I would use a combination of methods. I would sprinkle my entire carpet with baking soda over night. (don’t walk on it). Vacuum it up the next morning. This should eliminate odors lingering.

      I have a spot cleaner recipe on my site (containing ammonia) which I would use on the heavily soiled spots. Then, I would mix up the exact ingredients in this recipe and run them in a machine over the entire carpet.

      Good luck!

    • Jacqueline says:

      NEVER ever use ammonia on a carpet that may have or definitely has cat urine! If the pet stains are from a cat your entire house will reek like pee forever! If you own a cat that has never peed on the carpet it will start to! Ammonia does not remove cat odors and will turn an old stain into the nastiest smell in the world. Clear laundry detergent is fine, but blue may stain a lighter carpet.

      I adopted a bad cat and know what I am talking about lol :)

  81. Rosemarie M. Buchanan says:

    I own a professional cleaning company. When people ask my advice on cleaning carpets, I usually say “rip it up, roll it up, and throw it away”. Carpets are extremely unhealthy, particularly if you have children who are playing on the floor. No amount of cleaning will remove the allergens and pathogens which can contaminate carpets. If you are “totally anal” about your carpet, I’d suggest removing them and having machine-washable cotton area mats (with that lovely non-slip product which is not attached to the mat). Your allergies, children and pets will thank you.
    However, if you insist on keeping your carpets, any of the homemade solutions should work very well, without leaving the chemical residues of the commercial cleaners. I have two Bissell ProHeat and I put a small amount of the homemade solution in the big vinyl bladder inside the machine (keeping water in the solution container, so the machine will work properly). My clients are happy with the results, particularly those who have been through some health issues (cancer and asthma), and who have become very sensitive to chemicals (as am I).
    I would strongly urge everyone to look at the chemicals they use to clean their homes, and to go as natural as possible.

  82. Would this be safe to use on area rugs? Mine is like an oriental type.

  83. I have the bissll pro heat and there is a comparent for the hot water and a little compartment for the solution, how would u do this?

  84. I tried this on my carpet yesterday and it was AWESOME! Thank you so much. I’ve tried almost every cleaner there is out there. It does the job but leaves a film of sorts that seems to attract more dirt, in my opinion. Thank you again!!

  85. Bill Brooks says:

    Will it fade light brown color carpet?

  86. Does this work on tile floors? I have a Hoover machine that does both carpet & hard floors.

  87. This sounds fantastic! Is there any reason I couldn’t use it in a Rug Doctor machine, the kind you rent at the grocery store?
    Thanks….

    • Mrs. Harris says:

      I just used it in a rug doctor my carpet was very dirty..now it looks brand new again…this solution really works I was so amazed.. my carpet had not been cleaned in 4 years n we have a dog n 2 kids now its backto life…who ever came up with this solution, thank u so much even my husband was happy he didn’t think it would work..

  88. Stephanie Jones says:

    I saw this recipe online except instead of the white vinegar it used baking soda, have you ever tried this? If so does one work better then the other?
    I have a room that my cat peed in and i bought the Bissell urine eliminator carpet solution and pre treator and cleaned my carpet THREE times and it seemed like it just kept getting worse instead of better. I used that solution with the baking soda and the smell isnt totally gone but it is WAY better!

    • The vinegar is a great stain remover. The baking soda is a great odor eliminator. I would use the one you need the most!

    • Wendy Bonds says:

      I would use Nature’s Miracle or another enzyme treatment from a pet store on the urine spots before using Michelle’s solution. You need to neutralize the urine to stop the odor. Also stops the pet from urinating on it again which they tend to do unless it’s neutralized.

  89. Can you use the cider vinegar?

  90. Bernard says:

    Just received my bissell in the mail today. The solution that came with it didn’t really do the job. I found this recipe from a google search. It worked wonders. I had stains 15 years old and they are pretty much gone. I have a light gray colored carpet and didn’t notice any discoloration or bleaching. I printed out two copies. One for me and one for a friend.

  91. I found this recipe through google and used it when I ran out of store bought cleaning solution. In this comparison on light beige carpet with cat, dog, and coffee stains, it worked as well as the pre-made purchased solution. I used a little more vinegar on accident but saw no ill effects from it, and the smell was minimal and completely gone when dry. Thanks for sharing this. I won’t bother with bottled stuff again – this is so easy and cheap. No bleaching of the carpets either, btw.

    Now the real test will be in 6 months to see if the stains come back.

  92. I printed out the instructions of how to make your own carpet cleaning solution. I was very annoyed when I needed to see what the recipe was for the high traffic area. Low and behold everything in blue and double underlined ended up with some stupid John Deere tractors. Why? Its over kill.

    • Bill I understand you are frustrated, but if you go back and re read the section on high traffic areas, it just says not to give up…. she did not mean for you to leave this page for any further instructions. Further, it’s likely not the page owner linking those words to John Deere stuff. Just a heads up.

  93. Brittney U says:

    OH and I put mine in the hot water receptical, not the solution container, and just used the “Hot water rinse ” option.

  94. Brittney U says:

    THANK YOU!
    I was out of my normal solution and didn’t have time to run to the store. I don’t think I will ever buy store cleaner again!! MY carpet is sooo fluffy!

  95. so after reading these … I’m still not sure where this homemade cleaner goes ??? I have the Bissell Prosteam 2X Pet Steam Cleaner… it has one large compartment for clean water and a little compartment for the cleaning solution… where does this solution go ?

    • CORRECTION… I have an empty compartment in the front to collect the dirty water… the back is for cleaner and water combo…. so I’m good… it all goes into the solution compartment… will let you know how my results are… THanks !!

    • I mixed the solution in a separate gallon container. I filled the large collection container with hot water and filled the small cleaning container withe the pre made solution. I have to say, this solution was great! I nearly poisoned my cats with the bissell solution last year. Thanks soo much for this recipe. Great!

  96. Guessing this recipe is for light carpet only as the peroxide could have a bleaching effect. Any ideas for dark brown carpet?

  97. I was curious about the smell. I love the taste of vinegar, but not the smell. It looks like a small amount. Just curious if you can smell it. I also thought maybe using a form of dawn with a scent. Has anyone tried that? Thanks for this recipe! I’m tired of paying $15 per bottle! :)

  98. Just used this for my Pet Steamer and it worked very well. I placed it in the cleaning solution side and I am very pleased :)

  99. Is it ok to use this solution with a Kirby vacuum system?? haas anyone tried it?

    • Pamela C. says:

      I am wondering the same thing. I have a Kirby vacuum with the carpet cleaning system and don’t have the money to buy the Kirby shampoo right now. I have tons of horrible stains on my floor right now from my 2 year old and would really like to try this. I’m guessing it would work the same with the Kirby as it does with any other machine.

      • Pamela,
        This solution should work the same in the Kirby as all the others. Please try it and come back to let us know what you think. As the others stated, this is an AMAZING recipe. It cleans carpets beautifully and doesn’t leave chemicals behind! Clean and fluffy carpet is what you’ll end up with for a few pennies!

  100. I have the MaxExtract 77 (similar to the 60 you have listed above). I assume you put this solution in the “solution” reservoir (separate from the water)? Do you dilute it with water at all?

  101. Will this discolor carpets at all? I have very light carpets, and I am completely anal about keeping them clean. I would love to try this but I am worried about discoloration.

  102. I hate stains as well but i don’t have a machine to clean the carpet. I just try to clean it and deal with the stains myself using some natural solutions. If the stains are really worst, i call on a professional carpet to the remove the stain for me and to do a deep cleaning as well. Anyway, been thinking about a cleaning machine though. I will be taking note of this homemade solutions so i can use it once i get myself a machine.

    • If you do not have a steam cleaner, and just need to get out stains, use this solution mixed up in a spray bottle (I cut it in half depending on the size of the spray bottle. Then spray the carpets. Place a towel on the carpet and iron the towel. It will pull out any stain you have. I am telling you it is amazing.

  103. Brandette W. says:

    Michelle,

    You ROCK again! I have done much research but have never found a homemade recipe that I could inexpensively use in our Bissel Spot Bot machine. We have a toddler & 2 cats and this Spot Bot gets good use. Problem is, each bottle of the concentrated cleaner costs about $10 and doesn’t last us very long. We are probably forking out close to $100 in cleaner per year, and the bottles are small!

    I tried another recipe I found online several months back, but it was not cleaning up after cat throw-up hairballs well at all. You could totally see the “circular” cleaning spots and they looked dingy. So, I stopped using it and we went back to the expensive store bought stuff once again, sadly.

    I am very particular about our carpets. We built our home a few years back, therefore I want to make sure we keep things nice and clean carpets are a huge part of this for me. I do not do carpet stains, everything gets cleaned up immediately.

    I want to try this recipe out in our machine and see if it works undiluted in the Spot Bot as a straight solution. If not, then maybe the Spot cleaner you mentioned posting soon would. I am willing to try because maybe eventually I will find something that will work amazing well yet cost me pennies, instead of $10 per bottle, to make myself!! I so look forward to the next post!

    • Brandette,
      I used this cleaner in my steam cleaner and did the entire floor. I was absolutely amazed that it came out looking like brand new carpet. I am very particular about our carpets also. I don’t do stains either. But when I moved my furniture I noticed some spots and a high traffic pattern I didn’t like. I am still waiting for this to be too good to be true. 24 hours later my room is still looking amazing! This is better than anything I have ever purchased! I am now ashamed of myself for paying $12-$17 a bottle for cleaners that did half the job and were toxic to my pets and kids! Never again!

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