Most homes have carpet in them somewhere, meaning that there is always a chance to battle a stain. While cleaning carpets is not necessarily difficult, accidental stains can cause major stress since carpets and rugs are sometimes pricey to replace. Rather than jumping to chemical cleaners, try some of these non-toxic ways to clean up some of the most common carpet and rug stains.
1. Steam Carpet with Plain Water
There’s no need for detergent, the hot water will remove a significant amount of dirt on its own. Alternatively, mix 2 ½ gallons of water and 1 ½ cup white vinegar. This will effectively remove shampoo residues from cleaning attempts that failed earlier on. Be sure to ventilate well during and after the process. To prevent mold growth and speed drying time, use fans and open up your windows.
Vinegar can be used in so many ways to remove stains, it sort of acts as the superhero when all else fails. Smaller, light carpet stains can be removed with ½ cup of vinegar mixed with 2 tablespoons of salt, dissolved—just rub into the carpet, let dry, then vacuum. For larger stains, add in 2 tablespoons of borax. For tough stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Rub it into the stain and allow to dry and set for 2 days. Vacuum when ready.
If you have spilled red wine on the carpet, don’t panic. Pour some white wine on it to dilute the color, and clean the area with a sponge damp with cold water. Sprinkle salt on the area and wait about 10 minutes. Then, vacuum it all up. If you have a ketchup spill, act quickly and sprinkle salt all over it. Allow to sit for a few minutes and then vacuum up. Sponge up the residue and repeat the process until the stain is totally gone.
4. Club Soda
This works great to remove pet stains and other tough ones. You should immediately blot/soak up excess urine with a piece of sponge or paper towel, and then soak the area in club soda, blot again, and then scrub with some diluted carpet shampoo. Club soda will remove tea and coffee stains, just pour liberally on the stain and allow to dry.
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
This works even if you do not know what the stain is. Mix 3 teaspoons of 3% peroxide with just a little dab of toothpaste (non-gel). Rub this mixture onto the stain with a washcloth. Rinse, and the stain should be gone. For pet stains, first soak up excess liquid and then sprinkle baking soda over the stain. Mix ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide with 1 teaspoon of dish liquid. Slowly pour over the stain and gently scrub into the carpet. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum the area.
6. Baking Soda and Essential Oil
Make your own carpet/rug freshener by combining one 16-ounce box of baking soda with 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil (lavender oil is a good one because it has deodorizing properties and helps tackle viruses and bacteria). Mix well and store your sweet-smelling baking soda in a glass container. When ready to use, simply shake some of the solution on your carpet, let it stay for about 5 minutes and then vacuum.
Ink on the carpet seems like worst case scenario—but fear not. Mix milk and cornstarch to make a paste. Apply this onto the ink stain, and allow to dry for a couple of hours. Then, brush off the remains and vacuum it up. Cornstarch also soaks up oil and grease stains—just sprinkle liberally on the area, allow to sit for a few hours, and then vacuum.
8. Ice Cubes
This method is excellent for removing chewing gum. Put a bag of ice cubes over the area to freeze the gum, then scrape it off with a butter knife.
For any stained area, thoroughly clean it and then rub in some borax. Allow the area to dry and then vacuum or blot it with equal parts soapy water and vinegar. Let this dry. Repeat the process if necessary, and do not forget to test this out on an inconspicuous area of the carpet or rug first.
When you choose to clean your carpets or rugs without using harsh commercial cleaners, you can rest assured that you are keeping yourself, your little ones, and your pets safe while keeping your home clean.