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Homemade Carpet Shampoo Recipes

Cleaning your carpets will keep them looking nice. Carpet cleaning services and even store bought shampoos can be quite expensive. You can save money by making your own carpet shampoo. This page contains homemade carpet shampoo recipes.


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By 6 found this helpful
January 24, 2015

I have my own carpet cleaning business, and I make my own homemade shampoo. While it is true that too much detergent in a homemade cleaner can be hard to remove, there are ways to make carpet shampoo without detergent. My cleaner is vinegar and astringent based, and I have found there is little it cannot remove. While I tend to agree with the detergent/soap thing (it leaves crunchy carpets and left behind residue can attract dirt) there are ways to make shampoo without having those issues.


While I won't say everything in my personal shampoo recipe, combining 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 large bottle of lemon juice, and 1 pint of witch hazel will make a super effective carpet cleaner that is safe for use in commercial or home shampooers. Also, sprinkling baking soda on the carpet before shampooing will remove the worst odors and boost the above mixture's cleaning properties. Below is a before and after photo.



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By 10 found this helpful
October 27, 2011

While I love all the homemade recipes and ideas here on Thrifty Fun, this one I have to chime in on. I have been in the floor covering industry for 18 years now. In my honest opinion, there is no such thing as a homemade carpet shampoo recipe that will actually work.

Homemade solutions have too much soap in them and our home machines are not strong enough to remove that from the carpet fibers without leaving residue. Residue will cause the dirt to come back with a vengeance, therefore making you clean your carpet way too much. You'll need new carpet in 2-3 years.

Every carpet yarn manufacturer recommends hot water extraction (steam) cleaning by a professional, with equipment strong enough to get the carpets clean and dry.


Plus, if you ever have a problem with your carpet, the manufacturer will NOT warranty any carpet that has been improperly cleaned. Be careful!

By Concerned from Springfield, MO

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By 4 found this helpful
October 17, 2011

I have been using Mean Green to shampoo my carpets for years. I use about 1/2 cup per gallon of water and it doesn't clog up your pump like pine oil will.

If you have pets, add 1/2 cup vinegar to that to help with pet odors. It is also very good on pet stains. Spray full strength on the pet stain and absorb all you can; then do it once more.

By Laura B. from Jonesville, LA

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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.

By 0 found this helpful
December 27, 2010

How can you make homemade carpet cleaner for an automatic cleaner machine?

By Gary from High Point, NC



December 27, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hello, I have a steam machine and I always try to avoid buying the cleaner that seems so costly to me so I use my laundry soap. I do use way less than I use for laundry, and it works well for me. Liquid detergent is much better than powder, if I use powder I mix it with hot water and pour it through a fine mesh strainer. I prefer Tide brand for it's cleaning power, but I imagine your normal soap would work. Note: Like always test a small area first to be sure you aren't going to ruin your carpets. but I have always used this. I do not know if this is hard on the machine or not, But I really don't use enough to make the carpet or machine sudsy.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

I used to have terrible pet stains on my carpet with the accompanying smells. I used very hot water, a cap full of vinegar & some Oxyclean. I didn't strain & my carpet cleaner was used hard. I"d recommend straining for good measure. I did a Google search for the vinegar idea & just beefed it up with Oxyclean.

I also used plain hot water then poured soda water (2-liter bottles ) directly on the carpet. But the carpet was already ruined (sickly dog & an older dog) so I tried a lot of things to get rid of the smell. It's best to use enzyme cleaner on pet stains instead of spreading the urine with a carpet cleaner. Mine were too far gone. I lost the dogs & got new floors.

Good luck.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

When my husband knocked over a paint can on the carpet and got paint on it, I did what my former landlord did. When someone would move out of his rentals, he would put like one part Purple Power to 3 parts water in his shampooer to clean his carpets and it works great! We got out all the paint and can't even see where it spilled. I used the shampoo cup to measure it and what I did was put one cup of Purple Power and just finished filling the tank with water.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Depending on if it is your machine or a rental. A rental you must use their products. Or if the machine clogs, you are responsible. My own carpet shampooer does not heat the water, so I put the hot water in the tank. My cleaner is not in the clean water but additional trigger sprays that.

Clear non sudsing ammonia is good BUT then be careful what else you add to it. I also like to freshen up the floor with a little vinegar water. My latest FIND is buying Febreeze in bulk or one that you can refill. Take and pour into the tank of water about 1 TB of it. Then rinse the carpets. Fresh smelling. Do not spray it on the carpets, then it gets gummy.

Do not use anything that creates a suds action. That takes forever to get out of the carpet.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 26, 2011

What is the portion of water and ammonia to use in the Hoover rug shampooer? Which cleans better ammonia or white vinegar? Thanks very much!

By Carol from Bel Air, MD


March 6, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Clear ammonia has been used by professional cleaners. Do not mix products. Personally I use vinegar--white distilled, in my machine. 1/2 cup to 2 gallons of hot water. If my dog does an accident, I take a gal of hot water and 1/4 cup vinegar, swish and dump on spot. Then use the shampooer within 10 minutes to clean it. I found that I take the 2 gallon container on my shampooer and for rinsing the carpets add 1 ounce of Febreeze or other brand. You can get it in sprayer form or bulk. It makes the whole house smell nice, can't tell we have a dog! If I only need to freshen up the carpet, vacuum first then run shampooer with water only, do not use carpet cleaner detergent. Use the Febreeze.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 8, 2012

I just bought a new carpet shampooer and need some recipes for good carpet cleaner. I have multiple pets and stains. It is old carpet, very used, when we bought our double wide.

By katznana


November 15, 20141 found this helpful
Best Answer

I used original Oxyclean with a bit of Dawn Powerclean dish soap on my carpet. I thought " No way the carpets ruined. But to my surprise it cleaned my carpet like new. My doorway to my bedroom was black tracks from my wheelchair. I also used a steamer on the hard spots. I used a Rug Doctor Machine & it worked amazingly.

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May 8, 20130 found this helpful

I have become a big fan of using vinegar and baking soda to spot clean my carpet. It works wonderfully. Can anyone tell me how I can use my carpet cleaner to do the whole room without chemicals?

By Karen


May 13, 20130 found this helpful

I just mix vinegar and hot water in my carpet shampooer. I don't measure.

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May 14, 20130 found this helpful

Hi Karen
This this is the solution my husband uses in our carpet cleaning machine.
1/2 cup powdered Tide
4 caps Lysol general cleaner
2 caps bleach
1/4 cup Mr Clean general cleaner

We have used it for years and works very well.

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January 22, 20150 found this helpful

Sprinkle the whole room with baking soda. Then in a home carpet shampooer fill the shampoo cartridge full with this mixture. 1 gal white vinegar, 1 large bottle of lemon juice, 1 pint of witch hazel, and 1 cup peroxide. This will yield almost 1.5 gallons. This mixture works very good and is safe for all carpets. I use it in my carpet shampooing business, and have had amazing results added bonus: there is no detergent, so you wont be left with crunchy stiff carpet. A link to my business page so you can view before and after photos of carpets and upholstery cleaned using this mixture.

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November 2, 20150 found this helpful

Thank you so much for your mixture recipe! Exactly what i was looking for. I do have a questions though. I have to rent a rug doctor type of machine to clean my carpets this time, how much of the solution would I need to use per gallon of hot water? Or would I use straight solution each time I have to fill the bucket? I do have a couple of "pet" spots that I will be pre treating but I want a deep clean all over each room of carpet.
Thank you for your time and attention in advance!!

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September 15, 20160 found this helpful

Will the peroxide hurt the color of the carpet? I have that light tan color carpet. Thanks for any help!!

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December 15, 20160 found this helpful

How many ounces in large bottle of lemon juice?

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July 27, 20170 found this helpful

My carpet is very dirty and it's not that I don't clean. I have my house up for sale, what can I do to get it super clean.

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By 1 found this helpful
April 17, 2016

Should a carpet shampoo consisting of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, witch hazel, and lemon juice be diluted with hot water and if not should the shampoo mixture be heated?


August 10, 20170 found this helpful

I would use warm, not hot, water.

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September 24, 20120 found this helpful

I am so done spending $15 for a tiny bottle that doesn't even work very long for my Kirby vacuum. Does anyone know how to make the foaming cleaner, that I could pretreat with and put in the machine? Thanks!

By Kristin


September 8, 20130 found this helpful

Having long been a Kirby fan, I understand your feelings about the shampoo. I use Martha Gardiner's Country Homestead Eucalyptus Woolwash Liquid. It has cleaned old stains that even proffessional cleaners have been unable to shift.

One of the reasons for its great success is that it is a non-rinse product, therefore it doesn't leave any nasties behind. Just rub a little of the undiluted product into the stain first if it's a bad one and then use in the same quantities as your original Kirby product i.e. 3 capsful to each tank of warm water.

Another inexpensive option is to scrub stains with pressure-pack shaving foam. The best specific carpet cleaner I've ever found is Carpet Power. By the way its co-product, Shower Power is fantastic for removing lime and calcium from windows that have been sprayed with hard water from sprinklers and it works just as well - and safely - to remove similar white water marks from car duco. Just a tablespoon or so into a couple of inches of water in the bottom of an ordinary household bucket - slop a sponge into it and wipe off the marks. Rinse as usual and voila! Good luck!

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August 13, 20160 found this helpful

Here is a good one I have found and use
http://munchkin  oam-shampoo.html

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By 0 found this helpful
April 30, 2008

I have a Bissell pro-heat 2x and I need the measures for the borax and vinegar combo to use in the solution tank. The cleaning formula is way too expensive and the carpet seems to attract dirt quicker. Is that because I've steamed up the Scotch Guard? My neighbor has used this site for help and recommends you.

B. Lou from Durham, NC


February 25, 20150 found this helpful

Actually Bissell cleaners are equipped with Scotchgard, and it keeps your warranty on Scotchguarded carpets in tact!

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By 0 found this helpful
July 25, 2007

How do you get a dirt stain out of carpet?



By guest (Guest Post)
September 10, 20070 found this helpful

I find that spot removers for my dog's accidents don't get rinsed properly and the cleaner residue attracts dirt again. Every so often I get out my Hoover carpet cleaner and just use hot water. It is unbelievable how many suds come up from those spots. But over the years I don't think I will be able to get them completely rinsed. I also like the Spot Shot. Follow the directions on the can.

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

October 26, 20100 found this helpful

What can you use as an effective homemade rug shampoo?

By Wendy from Schenectady, NY


Test an area in the corner first. Pre-treat any "bad" areas with Dawn dish liquid. Mix a solution of 2 gallons warm water; 1 tsp Dawn and 2 TBS baking soda. Run through carpet scrubber; rinse with clean water (through carpet scrubber), let dry. (07/29/2010)

By bkvander

Once, when a friend had to get her carpets clean but was on a very limited budget and it was all she could do to rent the cleaner, I made a solution of laundry powder in hot water, and strained it so the little undissolved pieces weren't a problem. We used one or two cups of that in the container full of hot water from the cleaner. It worked great.

The more concentrated solution was for the few spots we had to get out. I wouldn't use it very concentrated; like a cup to a gallon size pot of hot water, strain it, and then it gets diluted again when it's poured into the container in the machine. Just the normal hot water from the faucet, and don't shake or swirl it. I don't recall the brand of soap/detergent. Maybe like Arm and Hammer.

I wouldn't recommend this all the time, but hey. (07/29/2010)


Try dissolving 1/4 c oxi-clean and warm water to fill tank, pour into tank when dissolved and shampoo as normal. (08/13/2010)

By mecowan

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December 3, 20160 found this helpful
Top Comment

Be careful with oxy-clean in some machines, as they can weaken machine tubing/parts and void any warranty.
I had blood stains on carpet and used the oxy-spray for laundry directly on the spot, and shampooed as usual; it came right out.
When I don't have money for cleaner I use plain ol' vinegar and water; it works great in my Hoover. I'm going to try the bit of dawn after reading other suggestions. Happy cleaning !

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February 26, 20110 found this helpful

I am looking for a recipe for homemade carpet cleaner. Thank you.

By raaschmn from St Paul, MN


Homemade Carpet Shampoo

I use plain vinegar and water. I add a drop or two of liquid dish soap. The soap doesn't sop the carpet and the vinegar takes out all odors. (12/06/2010)

By HalfWhit

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December 3, 20100 found this helpful

What's a good do-it-yourself carpet cleaner using at-home products? I don't want to use chemicals. Thanks.

By Peta


Homemade Carpet Shampoo

Tips and Warnings:

Don't douse a small area with foam, try to spread it evenly in order to cover more area.
Always test a small inconspicuous area of your carpet with this or any carpet cleaner/shampoo in order to make sure it won't mess up the color of your carpet. (10/26/2010)


Homemade Carpet Shampoo

The guy from the place I bought my carpets told me to use white vinegar and water half and half and a scrubbing brush. You may have to go down on your knees and scrub them, but I have been using this method for many years, even on expensive Persian carpets with no problems. I leave them outside to dry in the sun, you would have to do this in the summer, I assume, and the smell disappears plus my carpets are clean and deodorised. This would only work with small and medium sized carpets. (10/29/2010)

By cett

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February 27, 20100 found this helpful

I am looking for a homemade carpet cleaner recipe.

By Georgiana from PA


Homemade Carpet Shampoo

An inexpensive alternative to the store-bought variety. To check for color-fastness: test a bit of cleaner on an inconspicuous area of the carpet before using the first time. Makes 1 gallon.


  • 1/4 cup lemon-scented ammonia
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons clear dish washing soap (non-moisturizer)
  • hot water


Add the first 2 ingredients into a large gallon-sized container. (I mix my directly in steam cleaner applicator).
Add water; enough to equal just shy of one gallon. Add dish liquid at the end. Shake or stir.
Follow steam-cleaner manufacturer's directions for operating instructions.

I use this recipe all the time, not only on rugs, but furniture, too. If I have any left over, I put it in a spray bottle and use it as a general cleaner. (02/01/2010)

By dlginlove

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December 19, 20090 found this helpful

I am looking for a homemade recipe for carpet cleaner.

By pajama36 from Howell, MI


Homemade Carpet Shampoo

Carpet stains: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water. For a heavy duty carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 cup each of salt, borax, and vinegar. Rub paste into carpet and leave for a few hours. Vacuum.

Here is where I found this information:

Also, if you are using a steam cleaner, you can use Tide or another liquid laundry detergent to clean and freshen carpets. (05/29/2009)

By Dibbs

Homemade Carpet Shampoo

Mix up around 1/2 lb baking powder with 2.5 ounces to 3.5 ounces cornflower and add in dried bay leaves, after crumbling them. To add a nice and fresh smell to it, you should add a handful of potpourri, around 1.75 oz.

Thoroughly shake the whole thing in a covered container. Spill the homemade carpet cleaner on the stain and leave it there during the night to meld in. Wipe it off in the next morning, clean, and vacuum the spot to get the residue off.

For more helpful information on this subject you may visit: (06/07/2009)

By nivlocus

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May 26, 20090 found this helpful

What is a good homemade recipe for carpet cleaning? I have three bedrooms to clean. Thanks.

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May 6, 20090 found this helpful

What is the best homemade carpet cleaner to use to clean carpets dirt and pet urine on the carpets?

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April 7, 20080 found this helpful

I'm looking for the best homemade carpet shampoo.

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September 11, 20070 found this helpful

How do you make homemade carpet shampoo? I would like to make this shampoo for a Bissell shampooer.

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January 30, 20070 found this helpful

How do you make homemade rug shampoo?

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September 26, 20060 found this helpful

Do you have an idea for a homemade carpet cleanser for my steam cleaner?

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