Homemade Carpet Cleaner Recipes

using baking soda paste on a rug

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Carpet cleaners don't have to be expensive to work well. In fact, you don't even have to buy them in a store. Make your own spot remover and steam cleaning solutions, and enjoy clean carpets for less. Read on to find out how.


To make your homemade carpet cleaner, you'll need just a few ingredients you likely have in your bathroom and kitchen. Gather together:

ingredients for carpet cleaner
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska


Mix the white vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. Work the paste into the carpet stain with an old toothbrush, or something similar. Allow the paste to dry, and then vacuum up the baking soda. The stain should be gone.

For tough stains like wine or chocolate, use hydrogen peroxide instead. Just apply the hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain; allow it to sit until it stops fizzing and then dab the area with a clean rag to lift the spot. You may need to treat tough stains more than once. For best results, try to treat stains before they have time to set. For persistent or tricky stains, like ink, try other homemade cleaners designed to tackle tougher stains.

To make a cleaning solution for your steam cleaner, fill your steam cleaning machine with equal parts white vinegar and warm water; then simply clean according to the manufacturer's instructions.

hydrogen peroxide fizzing on a rug
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Why This Works and Benefits

The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves stains and also neutralizes odors—just what you need to clean carpets. There are also many benefits to using a homemade carpet cleaner and cleaning solution. In addition to being inexpensive compared to store-bought products, they:

  • contain no harsh chemicals
  • contain no synthetic fragrances to irritate allergies or pollute your indoor air
  • are effective sanitizers
  • are effective deodorizers
  • are effective stain removers
  • are safe for use around pets and kids
  • cut down on the number of bottles you have to buy and store

Additionally, you can use homemade carpet cleaners and cleaning solutions on wool rugs. (Most store-bought carpet cleaners are too alkaline for wool.)

Make your own carpet cleaners illustration
The Spruce / Daniel Fishel

Tips and Warnings

Always do a spot test in an inconspicuous area before applying any carpet cleaner to a large area. Some rugs may bleed when you wet them, so it's important to test colorfastness—even if you're using a store-bought product.


As with any cleaner, avoid all contact with your eyes and prolonged contact with your skin. Vinegar and baking soda aren't toxic, but they could still be an eye irritant, and you should never ingest hydrogen peroxide. So, keep children and pets off the carpet that you're treating until it's dry. 

Consult the owner's manual that came with your steam cleaner to make sure using a homemade cleaning solution won't void your warranty or rental agreement.

Use these recipes to clean upholstery, too. You can use these homemade solutions to remove stains from furniture and the interior of your car.

using a steam cleaner on a carpet
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Carpet Deodorizer and Other Cleaning Recipes

If you just need to freshen up your carpet, you can quickly make a homemade carpet deodorizer. It's great for neutralizing pet odors. Or, create a simple air freshener that you can use on your carpets.

You can also make homemade cleaners from baking soda, vinegar, and other natural ingredients. They'll save you time and money and cut down on the number of chemicals that are being introduced into your home. You can customize many of these homemade cleaners with your favorite fragrance or leave them fragrance-free if allergies are a concern.

using carpet deodorizer
The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska