We had to clean the carpet in our finished basement this week, but I couldn’t stand the thought of living with all the chemical fumes and residue from commercial carpet cleaning solutions. So I made my own natural carpet cleaning solution and we rented a carpet cleaning machine from the grocery store.
It worked beautifully! Our light beige carpet looks and smells fresh and clean. Cleaner than it has been since we moved in eight years ago, I’d have to say.
On the tails of the freezer thaw we experienced a week of so ago, our basement flooded during what is being called a 500-year event. Our house isn’t near a river, or even on low ground, but the window well filled up with water from the rain and poured through the sill to flood the basement.
We were luckier than many out here who found their houses swimming in raw sewage during the flood, but we still faced a clean-up job to avoid mold and before the basement could be used again.
After we sucked all the water out and dried out the carpet and pad, we rolled the carpeting back and could see visible water stains left from the dirty flood water. I knew we had to clean it but we needed to a) do it ourselves (no flood insurance!) and b) avoid the toxic fumes and residue left by commercial carpet cleaning solutions and their undesirable toxins. The basement houses our family room, so the kids especially spend a lot of time down there and I didn’t want them exposed to those nasty chemicals.
I searched online and found a great recipe for natural carpet shampoo from Rachel at Surviving the Stores blog. Not only does it work, but it dried cleanly without any residue and left a clean, mild scent of orange from the pure essential oil I added to the mix. I increased her original recipe to work with the large carpet cleaning machine we rented.
Homemade Natural Carpet Shampoo/Cleaner for Carpet Cleaning Machines
- 3 quarts of hot but not boiling water
- 1/2 cup 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (the one you can get at any drug store)
- 4 Tablespoons White vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons Dish soap (I used Seventh Generation, like Rachel did)
- 1/4 teaspoon essential oil of your choice (I used Sweet Orange)
Heat the water in a large saucepan until hot, then remove from heat. Add the hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, dish soap, and essential oil and stir gently. Do not agitate enough to cause the dish soap to froth.
Pour mixture into carpet cleaning machine and follow the directions on the unit to clean your carpet.
While some commenters below advise against using vinegar with hydrogen peroxide, I’ve used this recipe a number of times without any problems for either the carpet or the machine.