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Is there a homemade solution I can make at home to use in my steam cleaner?
By terrycw from Denver, CO
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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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
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.
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)
By Ben Borgman
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.
I know a landlord who swears by Tide detergent for steam cleaning his rentals. (12/15/2006)
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
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)
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)
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)