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If you're searching for homemade carpet cleaners it's a good bet you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your home. I'll be frank - it's not the best choice for a less toxic home.
Carpeting, like other soft surfaces in your home, absorb volatile toxic chemicals and toxic house dust. But, if you're stuck with your carpet, then don't make it worse by using store-bought carpet cleaners.
The ingredients in carpet cleaners don't have to be put on the label so there's no way to know what's in them. Although it's likely that many are toxic.
Cleaning products contain things like surfactants, fragrance and preservatives that release carcinogens, asthmagens and allergens into your home's air.
Nontoxic Steam Cleaning
For wall-to-wall carpet, steam cleaning is an effective and safe nontoxic method. BUT, only if you avoid the toxic detergents recommended for steam cleaning.
A good, homemade carpet cleaner for steam cleaners is 1 tablespoon of Bronner's Castile Soap per quart of hot water. To remove soap residue make a second pass over your carpet using 1 part hot water to 1 part white vinegar.
To keep carpets clean in between steam cleanings try the following homemade carpet cleaners. Always spot test any recipe.
General Carpet Cleaner
Ingredients - Water, Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap, Washing Soda, Vanilla Essential oil (cuts odors) and Peppermint Essential Oil (mild disinfectant)
Directions - Mix 1/3 cup of soap, 2 teaspoons of washing soda and 6 drops each of vanilla and peppermint oil into 3 cups of water. Store in a glass jar for up to 6 months. Shake well and scrub into carpet with a brush. Then let dry and vacuum.
Upholstery and Carpet Cleaner
Ingredients - Water, Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap, Baking Soda, Vinegar
Directions - Mix 1/8 cup of castile soap, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 cup of water. Stir thoroughly (it will be foamy). Pour into a spray bottle. To use - shake well, spray on upholstery, lightly scrub with a damp sponge.
Carpet Cleaning Foam
Ingredients - Water, Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap
Directions - Whip 1/4 cup of castile soap with 3 tablespoons of water in a bowl with an egg beater. Rub the foam into carpet stains. Rinse well.
Carpet Detox and Disinfectant
Ingredients - Mix 1 cup zeolite (picks up pollutants), 1 cup borax (cleans mold and disinfects) and 1/2 cup baking soda (absorbs odors).
Directions - Sprinkle over the rug and rub in with a cloth. Leave overnight and then vacuum.