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Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

Many homeowners would rather make their own cleaning solutions to reduce the amount of chemicals they use in their homes. This is a guide about homemade steam cleaner solution.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

1 found this helpful
November 21, 2010

Is there a homemade solution I can make at home to use in my steam cleaner?

By Terry from Denver, CO

Answer Was this helpful? 1
August 22, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try adding in a cup or two of vinegar and a little ammonia to the hot water solution you use in the carpet cleaner.

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November 10, 20150 found this helpful

Can I use Super 10 Concentrate in a steam cleaner?

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

November 21, 20100 found this helpful

I need a recipe for the cleaning solution for my Hoover Steam Vac. I believe it has vinegar and water in it. That's all I know.

By mjllvl from St Louis, Mo


Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I have been a custodian for 7 years and have been putting my cleaning solution in a 1 or 2 gallon pump sprayer and pre spraying the carpet for about 10 minutes to let it work for you. Scrub with a inexpensive deck brush in traffic areas and stains. Only run water in carpet machine to rinse carpet. I like hydrogen peroxide, but dilute depending on how dirty or the need of disinfecting. Try 2, 6, or 12 ounces per gallon. I have used Simple Green and Purple Power and it works as well. Try one ounce per gallon for these products. Always rinse product out of carpet or it can leave a bleaching effect. Put a fan in the room to move the air and if possible a dehumidifier that can be set up to run into a sink or into a large trash can to help with the concern of mold. Peroxide is a multi-purpose cleaner for bathrooms, floors, glass, etc. (09/12/2010)


By Cleaning ease

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July 16, 20100 found this helpful

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


Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

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)

By Cyinda

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

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)

By Kathleen

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution: Laundry Detergent

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)

By bedlamite23

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

December 23, 20080 found this helpful

I am looking for a homemade steam cleaner solution.

Kathy from Lansing, MI


Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I use concentrated (brown bottle) Lysol. I use a capful each time I change the water. My favorite steam cleaner is a "Rug Doctor". (11/16/2006)


By Susie from Buckhead Ga.

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I know a landlord who swears by Tide detergent for steam cleaning his rentals. (12/15/2006)


Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I've been cleaning carpets professionally for over 15 years. The biggest problem we find with people that do their own carpets is the cleaning solution left in the carpets. Sandi had the right idea. Vinegar will leave the least amount of residue in the carpet and will slow down the resoiling process.

If you're not keen on that system, then put your cleaning solution in a spray bottle and scrub in into your carpets with a soft brissle brush. A stiff brush will only damage the carpet. Then use your machine loaded with the hottest water you can get and rinse the cleaner and soil out of the machine. Heavy traffic areas might need a second cleaning. However, wait till the carpet dries completely before trying again. Usually 5-7 hours. Good luck. (01/06/2007)

By Ted Heissner

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

If you don't have pets a cup of non sudsing clear ammonia from Walmart will clean great added with two cups of vinegar. If you have pets leave out the ammonia as it attracts them to pee when they smell ammonia in an area. Ammonia is a great cleaner leaving no residue and white vinegar is a great deodorizer and cleaner as well. You can also use rubbing alcohol as a spot remover, but carpet clean over the area a few times right after you spot remove. (08/23/2007)

By Superman

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I have been cleaning my own carpet for over 2 years now. Prior to that I used Stanley Steamer. Ammonia and Vinegar are good, but not as good as pre-treating with Castor-Pollux (all natural) Spot out! then I use Simple Green in my machine and the results are unbelievable. I have white carpet and I am proud to say that I put Stanley Steamer to shame. They even came back a second time for a "freebie cleaning" and 2 of their cleanings were no where near as good as one of mine. (08/26/2007)

By call4cathy

Homemade Steam Cleaner Solution

I usually use very hot water, ammonia, and I like using just a little bit of "Gain" laundry detergent to make it smell good, but I guess any brand of your favorite detergent will help. (10/21/2007)

By jewls

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November 15, 20060 found this helpful

I would like to know if there is a way to make a homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?


Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

When I rent a cleaning machine, this is what I do: I put wisk laundry detergent and bleach (check your carpet to make sure it wont discolor) and go from there. I start with about 1/8 cup of wisk, if you need more, add more. Good luck! (02/07/2001)

By lhwitch

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

Simple Green is a great non-toxic cleaner that can be diluted into the steam machine. You can buy it at places like K-Mart and Walmart. (02/07/2001)

By cjmastermixer

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I do own my own carpet machine and will never be without one again. The best investment i have ever made. What i do is put the water in and add pine sol to the water. Makes your house smell fresh and clean. It does not take much so just start out with alittle at a time. (02/09/2001)

By JSRS443

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I don't know if there are any homemade solutions you can use, but the last time I shampooed my carpet I decided to use Shout on the stains. On the grungy traffic areas I sprayed it all over. I ran out before I got the whole living room done. You could sure tell the difference. I decided next time I shampoo, I'm going to lay in a good supply of Shout. I suppose you could use your favorite brand of laundry pre-treater. (02/23/2001)

By mcnare

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I just found out by mixing hot water and oxiclean i can use this in my machine and for me it work great. You need to try a test spot first. (06/15/2001)

By JSRS443

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I rent the machine at the grocery store and use about 1 cup of vinegar and boiling hot water in each "batch". Stains always come out & there's no "suds" in this recipe left behind to attract even more dirt! (10/04/2004)

By Sandi

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I used to do carpets commercially, let me tell you that having your water hot enough is the important thing. If the water is not hot enough you will never get all the dirt out. (11/24/2004)

By Jason

Homemade carpet cleaning solution to use in steam cleaning machine?

I have used with great success, club soda on my carpet stains and it works like a charm. Our oldest cat had a vomitting problem and anyone with pets can attest to pet vomit being one of the worst stains to remove in a carpet. Instructions for use:

Club Soda, any brand. Pour directly onto stain let soak for 5 minutes. Blot soaked area with clean absorbent cloth. I blot the area several times
let dry and vacuum.

Club Soda leaves no residue, unlike detergent based products, and therefore nothing "sticks" to the cleaned area afterwards causing the stain to "re-appear".

Lesley (07/28/2006)

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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