I have a fairly large home with a lot of carpet to steam clean. In between 7 members of the household, 4 cats, and 4 dogs, I find myself steam cleaning constantly. We received a very nice machine as a housewarming gift, but I am looking for a cheaper cleaning liquid that works as well as the stuff that sells for $8 a bottle. A homemade solution would be great too! Any advice?
Stacey from Dorr, MI
I'd think Tide would leave a residue. I'd never use it to clean a carpet with. The dollar store sells a solution called "Awesome". You have to dilute it quite a bit, (a tiny bit goes a long way). You could give this stuff a try, I've seen many women buying it to use in carpet cleaning machines and they swear by it.
If it were me and I had light to medium colored carpeting and was trying to clean organic stains (dogs, cats, blood, dirt, and food, etc.) I would opt for plain old hydrogen peroxide. It cleans with oxygen and leaves no residue. I use it straight from the bottle for stains. I just squirt some on and leave it set, or use a toothbrush and brush it a bit. But if you were doing a whole carpet and using a rug machine I'd dilute it by half.
You can find peroxide on sale at most drug stores or dollar stores for 50 cents a bottle, so you can't beat it. It won't work for non-organic stains. that means it will clean up grape juice or red wine, but will not clean up grape Kool-aid or grape Jello (artificial dyes). !t works great for coffee and coco stains too. (12/24/2008)
Looks like you have received lots of great ideas. Mine would be Oxi-clean. It really takes out stains and doesn't leave an odor, clean or otherwise. Frankly, I prefer that now to carpet cleaner, the hypo allergic kind. Good luck! (01/07/2009)
After reading most of the feedback, I decided to try laundry detergent. In brief, it worked great. You still need de-foamer though. Also, rinses brought up a lot more dirt.
I was using a RugDoctor with their cleaning solution and defoamer. Their solution is sodium triphosphate, a strong base (think lye, but not nearly as strong) that can probably leave a residue. I ran out, so switched to about 1 tsp of detergent in 2.5 gal very hot water. It brought up as much dirt as the RugDoctor solution.
I then followed up with 2 runs with just hot water. The first rinse brought up a lot of dirt (and probably leftover detergent). The second rinse brought up a fair amount of dirt, but could probably be skipped.
I'm a chemist, and I know that vinegar is not a great surfactant (detergent). As one user noted, even just hot water will probably bring up most of the dirt. However, hot water or vinegar will not do as well on oily substances as a detergent will. IMHO, hot water, small amount of detergent, and a rinse should do fine.
Thank you everyone for your input, it was great to see a bunch of different ideas, and pick the one that worked for me. (02/27/2010)
Add your voice! Click below to comment. ThriftyFun is powered by your wisdom!