I’m always on the lookout for great cleaning tips. I also am trying really hard to do away with expensive, toxic cleaning supplies in my home. Often, good old fashioned non-toxic cleaning solutions can work just as well or better than expensive, toxic products. Here are a few inexpensive and effective solutions for keeping your carpets clean:
1. Club Soda- Buy cheap club soda in cans and never be without it.
I have a favorite club soda story. And sure, it’s funny to me… now. Back when my kids were babies, I heard somewhere that club soda could take stains out of carpets. With three little ones (one of them being affectionately called “Pig Pen Ben”) I needed all the cleaning help I could get. So I picked up a six pack at the store.
One day I was nursing the twins (sometimes a nerve-wracking experience because my two year old Ben had a knack for finding trouble while I was totally pinned down by two hungry babies.) Anyway Ben somehow found a black Sharpie marker (you know the Permanent kind!) I know, I know, how could I ever have left one lying about? But I did. Well, my budding little Picasso, colored all over a few books and some toys. After that he took off his clothes, including his diaper, and illustrated himself (even certain unmentionable parts…all black… for sometime afterward he was known as Black Bart Ben) Then he colored all and I mean ALL over the carpet. After having a good cry, and thinking the black scribbled carpet in the middle of my daughters pink room might be artistic (not!) I pessimistically decided to give the club soda a try. It beat calling the expensive carpet cleaning company (which I was also pessimistic about.) Armed with only a stack of clean towels and a can of club soda (and sure I was on a fools errand)… I poured the club soda over the stain. To my surprise, the black marks looked diluted on contact. My hopes rose just a little. I began blotting. (Never-ever scrub your carpet.) It took about 45 minutes, the whole stack of towels, and several cans of club soda later… but the stains were completely gone! I was amazed. I was thrilled! And I was sold on the cleaning power of club soda.
Since then I have used it on other stains, including Black Cherry Soda. And it has worked like a charm. I’ve also used it on clothing stains. It does works best when used before the stain sets and dries. Since you don’t need to use a lot of soda for most stains, I buy club soda in cans. Save any leftover soda in the can for the next inevitable spill. I’ve found it still works even if the carbonation is gone. Just pour over the stain, let it sit for a few minutes and then blot it with a clean white towel.
2. Another favorite carpet trick is to freshen them up using Baking Soda. With three kids and an dog, my carpets can take on not so pleasant odors. I measure out 1 cup of baking soda and sprinkle it all over the carpeting in a room. Then wait for about 30 minutes to an hour before vacuuming. And voila, your carpets smell fresh as a daisy. If you want to add a bit of natural scent, measure 1 cup of baking soda into a container with a lid (like a Mason jar) and add a few drops of essential oil (I love lavender) replace the lid and shake. Then sprinkle over your carpet, wait and vacuum.
3. Last but not least is the spot cleaning champion White Vinegar. You know the drill, the puppy just went behind the chair and a few minutes later you smell something majorly unpleasant. It’s white vinegar to the rescue. For pee stains, first lay several towels over the stain and place weight of top. Leave for several hours or over night. Then mix 1/2 cup vinegar to 1 quart water and put in a spray bottle. If the smell is really bad you can go with undiluted vinegar. Spray the area thoroughly to remove the odors and blot dry. I have used white vinegar on all sorts of other dried on stains on my carpet. And am happy to say it removes many of the toughest stains.
White vinegar can also be used for all over carpet cleaning using a Steam Carpet Machine. Just mix 1 part vinegar with 10 parts hot water, following your machine’s instructions. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell will dissipate as soon as the carpets are dry. White vinegar leaves your carpets bright and clean and it does not leave any residue so the carpets will stay clean longer.
This quote really sums up my house keeping experience:
House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.