10 Tips for Easy Carpet Cleaning

Don't waste money on expensive carpet cleaners or shampoos—the ingredients you need for a clean carpet are already in your home! 

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
4-minute read

Quick carpet cleanser

If you’ve got guests coming over and need to clean your dirty carpet fast, mix 1 cup ammonia with 1 quart water. Use a mop to rub this solution onto the carpet, and it’ll help remove the grime. You might want to test this method beforehand on an unseen area, such as underneath a chair.

Do not use this mixture on wool carpets.

Cast out carpet stains

Want your home to smell fresh? Start from the bottom up—your carpets!

Notice a new spot on the carpet? Don’t panic: There’s no need to hire a professional carpet cleaner just yet. Simply combine equal amounts of hot water and ammonia and pour over the stain. Place a white towel on top, then iron over the covered spot. The cleaning powers of ammonia combined with the extreme heat will steam out the stain in no time!

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Magic for mud

The kids were out playing in the mud, and—lucky you—they forgot to take off their shoes before traipsing on the carpet. Don’t worry! It’s not impossible to get rid of those muddy footprints. First, let the area dry, and vacuum up as much dirt as you can. Then, using the cut side of a raw potato, rub the stains. The enzymes in the potato will help dissolve the dirt. Allow the area to dry again, and then blot with a wet rag.

SEE ALSO: Domestic CEO's 8 Habits to Keep Your House Clean

Make this easy deodorizer

Want your home to smell fresh? Start from the bottom up—your carpets! In a glass container or canister, simply mix 16 ounces baking soda (your standard box) with 20 drops of any essential oil scent you like. To put it to work for you, shake the mixture on your carpet, wait 30 minutes, and then vacuum.

Sudden spills can bring on panic. But you (and your rugs!) can rest easy when you know these ways to wage war on even the most stubborn substances that meet your floors.

Carpet cleaning work-around

Finally getting around to shampooing your carpet? You don’t have to remove all your furniture. Slip plastic bags over the feet of tables and chairs and secure them with rubber bands. You can clean underneath, then shift the furniture a bit and wash where its legs were. The plastic will keep the furniture from getting wet.

Save money on shampoo

The commercial cleaners sold for carpet shampooers can be pricey. Did you know that you can make your own nontoxic solution with ingredients you likely have around the house already? Mix together ¾ cup hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons dish soap, 2 tablespoons fabric softener, and 5 drops essential oil (any scent you like). Add the mixture to 1 gallon hot (not boiling) water. You’ll never need store-bought again!

RELATED: Who Knew's How to Remove Almost Every Stain

A shocking solution

If you can’t escape static electricity on your carpet, here’s an easy fix. Mix 3 cups water with 1/2 cup liquid fabric softener, put it in a spray bottle, and apply to your carpet. Not only will the static electricity disappear, but the mixture will serve as a carpet deodorizer, too.

Erase vacuuming mistakes

You can prevent marks on baseboards and walls when you vacuum by covering the edges of the vacuum head with masking tape. This way, you don’t leave behind dark smudges from the metal when you inevitably bump the wall.

HELPFUL: Who Knew's 10 Vacuuming Tips You Should Know

8 solutions for the toughest carpet stains

Sudden spills can bring on panic. But you (and your rugs!) can rest easy when you know these ways to wage war on even the most stubborn substances that meet your floors.

  • Erase ink stains. Make a paste of cream of tartar and lemon juice, and dab at the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then clean with a damp cloth.
  • Give the rub to gum. Turn to methyl salicylate, which you can find in analgesic heat rubs like Bengay. Put it on the gum, then apply heat with your hair dryer set on low. Press a plastic sandwich bag on the gum and it should pull away easily. Be sure to wash the area afterward.
  • Another way to get gum out: Beat an egg white, rub or brush into the gum, let it sit for up to half an hour, then wipe off. The egg white breaks down the gum and makes it easy to remove.
  • Clean up coffee. Blot the stain with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water, then let it sit for 10 minutes. Dab with a clean paper towel and repeat with the vinegar mixture until the stain is lifted.
  • Cut grease like lightning. Resist the urge to wipe! Instead, pour on a large amount of cornstarch and gently stir it with your finger. Let it sit for a day, then vacuum it up with the hose attachment. The stain should be mostly gone, but you can repeat the steps as needed. Then use the brush attachment to vacuum away the last remnants of cornstarch.
  • Remove red wine spills. Try applying a bit of shaving cream (after checking that the carpet is colorfast), and letting it sit for a minute before wiping away. Shaving cream will also work on grease stains.
  • Deodorize pet stains. Treat the spot with club soda, which contains odor-fighting minerals. Pour some on the area, leave it for 5 minutes, then blot and allow to dry.
  • Fix paint spills. Head to the kitchen to mix together 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, and 1 quart warm water. Douse the area with this mixture and try rubbing it away. If that doesn’t work, wait for the paint to dry and snip off the areas with paint—your carpet’s “hair cut” will be less noticeable than a giant paint stain.

Is there a dent in your carpet where a piece of furniture used to be? Here’s a simple solution: Just fluff it back up with the help of a fine-toothed comb. Or try a fork.

No-Slip Substitution

Don’t spend money on a no-slip mat for underneath your rug. Grab a caulking gun (or a friend who has one) and apply acrylic-latex caulk to the underside. Run the caulk in lines that run the width of the rug and are about 6 inches apart and it will never slip again!

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.