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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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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 Brown 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.

December 27, 2010

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

By gary from High Point, NC


December 27, 20101 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, 20101 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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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


February 23, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

White vinegar is one of the best cleaners ever made. Dilute with one part vinegar tp eight parts water. Apply to area and blot with wet cotton towel. NCC

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I would use the white vinegar. No ammonia fumes and a natural deodorizer.

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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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May 8, 2013

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 14, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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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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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
Best Answer

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

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

April 30, 2008

We need to know how much vinegar and water to put in the Bissell Powersteamer.



Bissell Powersteamer Recipes

Go to this site for a recipe (04/07/2008)

By Cheryl

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April 4, 2008

I have a Bissell Powersteamer carpet cleaning machine and I want to find out what I can use that will be safe for my dogs, will eliminate pet odors, and dirt from carpeting as well. Does anyone have any ideas? I remember reading some somewhere, but can't remember what they were! Thanks in advance.

Starlight from North Platte, NE

Bissell Powersteamer Recipes

I use hot water and vinegar in my little green machine and it works great. Really cleans the dirt, removes odors, and doesn't leave any soap residue to attract more dirt. I d on't have to worry if I got all the soap out. It's easy and really cheap ! (05/12/2006)


Bissell Powersteamer Recipes

I just remembered, that we got some carpet shampoo for the Bissell Pro Heat. It was an off brand, but it works, and comes in a large container. It is only $6.00. We got it at Cash and Carry. A little more sudsy than the expensive stuff. That machine is such a good one. It does pretty heavy duty work. If you have pets, you need to keep checking the brush, and cleaning it out. Kersti (05/15/2006)

By Lois Kersti Brouillette

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September 26, 2006

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

Sue from Naples, FL


Avoid Soap

Soap is sticky and will attract dirt forever. I never put it in my carpet. The only way I know of getting it out is to haul the carpet to the lawn and rinse and rinse and rinse and rinse.

Post by Jill

Steam Carpet Cleaner Recipe

For my steam cleaner, first I mix 1 gallon white vinegar with 1 cup borax. Then, I use 1 cup of the solution in my steam cleaner and fill with hot water.

Vinegar and Water

Instead of using expensive carpet shampoo to clean your carpet do what grandma used to use and use white vinegar and hot water. It cleans great, freshens and neutralizes any odors and rinses the carpet nicely leaving no soap. Try it you will love it!

By Henrietta

Oxy Cleaner

I used oxy cleaner to clean my carpet and it worked wonderful with no soapy mess. Soap seems to make my carpets get dirty quicker so I went over my carpet with plain hot water and what a soapy mess. So now I use a little oxy cleaner and it really brightened my carpet and makes it look like new.

Post by Sheila

Neutral Ph

The thing to remember about carpet shampoo is it has a neutral Ph otherwise it attracts dirt and you have an even bigger mess dish soap doesn't have a neutral PH neither does laundry soap. What does have a neutral PH? the shampoo you use on your head. Practice diluting it until you have it the way you want it it should foam to lift the dirt up foam not lather stronger is not better P.S. this especially good advice when using pesticides and herbicides. (03/21/2004)

Post by greg

Avoid Ammonia

If you have animals, ammonia is not a good thing to use on your carpets, especially if you are treating a pet stain. The smell will just lure them back to the same spot. Also if you have hardwood floor under the carpet, ammonia will turn the wood black. I unfortunately found out the hard way.

Post by Roberta Doyle

Be Careful Using Soap

I used to clean carpets professionally. Clients would have spots that returned year after year. They had used soap. I had a cleaner from my franchise that is not soap that would eventually clean out all the soap and stop the spots from returning.

Soap must be rinsed out completely or it will attract dirt and always be a problem. I now use vinegar in a spray bottle with a cotton towel that I rub over the yarn so the cotton wears out, not the yarn.

My personal carpet lasted l0 years longer than its warranty and looked wonderful simply because I kept it clean. (11/06/2004)

Post by Jill

By ThriftyFun

Don't Mix Ammonia and Bleach

I found this at:

"Never mix ammonia and bleach!

One of the most common hazards occurs when chlorine bleach is mixed with ammonia or acids. The combination of ammonia and bleach produces dangerous chlorine gas, which in small doses can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and respiratory tract. In large doses, it can kill. Chlorine gas, also known as mustard gas, was actually used in WWI & WWII.

One way this occurs is when people disinfect an area with bleach before cleaning. For example, you could use bleach to disinfect the sink area, then wash the dishes with an antibacterial dish soap which contains ammonia. If an area has been cleaned with other products, make sure the area is thoroughly rinsed with uncontaminated water before bleach is used."

Because vinegar is an acid it will react the same way with bleach.

We use bleach very, very sparingly and only when nothing else will work. In the U.S. many cleaning products contain bleach. Make sure you check the ingredients and check the warning labels. A few drops will disinfect water so you never need very much. (01/15/2005)

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel

Borax and Water

Borax and water is all I use in mine. I use to use tide, but I like the borax better. (03/21/2006)

By kimberly

Water and Vinegar

I just did my entire living room carpet, using the Little Bissell green machine, and all I used was really hot water mixed with white vinegar. It worked fabulous, the carpet looks new germs are killed and the room smells fresh ! (03/22/2006)

By Sur from Boston

Water and Vinegar

Most important thing to remember is anything that builds up suds or foam also leaves that residue in your carpet, what ever you decide to use to clean your carpet. The best thing to do is to go back and use hot water and white vinegar to pull up the rest of the soap and residue, plus leaves your carpet smelling great. (07/10/2006)

By janina bain


We have a couple of cats and I have had many years of experience with home carpet machines. First off, if you have cats or dogs don't use ammonia as has been said above, it reminds them of their litter box. I have tried all sorts of stuff and have settled on a cup of white vin. and about a half bottle of Febeze (Yellow label-allergen reducer) per container of water, which is about a gallon.

For stains I use hand dish-wash oxy cleaner and let sit for a while. I fill the container with a mix of half boiling water and hottest tap water. I don't always add white vin, but always add the Febreze allergen reducer. It is very important to shampoo carpets on nice dry days if possible. Lots of air movement to help dry them quickly.

I get more water up when the machine is heavy so my last sweep is done with nearly a full backwash bucket, I also get a lot more dirt out this way it seems, or even place some type of weight on the machine if you have thick carpets.

I try to stay with natural products so I really don't like to use professionals because some use very harsh chemicals, sure 99% of the time no one will notice any problems but that doesn't mean they don't cause any long term issues. The natural "green" products seem to be very good to use also.

Lower humidity means fewer dust mites which means less allergens in your home, don't soak the carpets. Dust mites like humidity over 70% and pretty much die when it is 40% or less.

One other product that I recently found that I think is outstanding although not a carpet issue is a shower filter. They cost about $60, I used to sometimes be itchy after a shower but not any longer. They make the water seem softer and remove chemicals that dry on your skin and evaporate into the air. Filter changes are needed every 3 months but the unit installs and filters can be replaced by anyone and with ease. I bought the Aquasana at amazon direct from the company. Really a good product, you'll be glad you read this if you try one. The little Britta tap water thing that connects to your faucet is hard to beat too. Last but not least for you cat and dog people, don't use plastic bowls, if your pet gets little pimples (blackheads) on their chin they will go away if you change to glass or non-plastic, really they will. If glass is better for them perhaps it's better for us too, I'm not sure but lots of people think so. Artificial Sweeteners also have a big debate going on about them, check it out if your not up to speed, they sound like some bad stuff. Bye (09/18/2006)

By Jagwarr

Febreze Warning

For cleaning carpet, especially with pets, I use plain hot water to go over the carpets once, or add white vinegar, about 1 to 10 parts to water. I would seriously recommend AVOIDING FEBREZE! Although, I love the stuff and am sure it does a good job on carpets, there are a lot of reports of it being very harmful and possibly fatal for household pets. There has not been any conclusive evidence on this yet, but PLEASE look into this before deciding to expose your pets at such a high level as all of your carpet. Good Luck! (09/18/2006)

By Whitney


I use GoJo, the hand cleaner, mix 1/2 cup with VERY hot water (near boiling). Not only does it make carpets smell great it removes some really nasty stains too! (09/23/2006)

By Susan

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