How To

How to create an easy and effective DIY carpet cleaner

By Luke Carlino

Updated: January 4th, 2024

Keeping your carpets clean with some items you already have around the home can be easy!

Carpets are a popular choice for many homeowners because they create a cosy environment (and look fantastic!). They do, however, get very dirty. Luckily, you can make your own DIY carpet cleaner with products you probably already have on hand around the house!

Let’s dive into a stack of homemade carpet cleaner options that will tackle virtually any stain across any kind of carpet, ensuring your home always looks its best.

The best DIY carpet cleaner options

Spills are inevitable. It could be your cup of coffee, your kid’s magic marker art, a spilt red wine from a guest, or muddy paw prints. Life as we know it means that carpets and rugs will get dirty at some point.

The following homemade DIY carpet cleaning solutions should cover you for pretty much any mess while also allowing you to avoid store-bought sprays or solvents. You’ll just need a few ingredients from around the house, but first, you need to determine whether your carpet features synthetic or natural fibres.

Once you have this info, the guide below will detail which combination of ingredients will be best suited to your specific stain.

DIY cleaners for synthetic carpets

While DIY carpet cleaner hire is always an option for tough stains, you should always try a machine-less clean first to see if it gets you out of the woods. For synthetic carpets, the best approach is to dip a white cloth into the following homemade cleaners and apply it to the stain. It is important that no matter what, you do not pour the solution directly onto the carpet.

  • Detergent solution: ¼ teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent mixed with one cup of lukewarm water
  • Vinegar solution: One cup of white vinegar mixed with two cups of water
  • Solvent solution: An oil solvent or nail polish remover
modern room in townhouse with gray rug
Source: Shutterstock

DIY cleaners for natural fibre carpets

The best DIY carpet cleaner for natural fibre carpets need to be placed in spray bottles so you can mist them lightly onto the stain. These include:

  • Detergent solution: One teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent mixed with one cup of lukewarm water
  • Vinegar solution: ¼ cup of white vinegar mixed with ¼ cup of water
  • Ammonia solution: One tablespoon of clear household ammonia mixed with ½ cup of lukewarm water

The best way to remove stains from food or drink spillage

The following DIY carpet cleaner solution instructions should treat spills such as wine, ketchup, coffee, tomato sauce, soda, and similar stains.

Synthetic-fibre: Step-by-step 

  1. Dip a white cloth into your homemade detergent of choice and dab repeatedly. Press the cloth on the stain for a few seconds and allow time to sit before soaking up the excess with a dry cloth.
  2. Follow with a vinegar solution, dab repeatedly but allow around 15 minutes for the white vinegar to remove the residual detergent.
  3. Rinse by blotting with lukewarm water, then wait for the carpet to dry completely.
  4. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Natural-fibre: Step-by-step

  1. Spray the stain with homemade detergent, then blot with a dry white cloth.
  2. Follow with a vinegar spray solution, then blot with a dry white cloth
  3. Spray the stain with your choice of detergent solution, then blot with a dry white cloth.
  4. Spray with lukewarm water, then blot with a dry white cloth.
  5. Repeat until the stain is gone.

If you have a stain that doesn’t seem to want to budge from your natural-fibre carpet, before applying the vinegar solution insert an extra step that includes spraying the stain with an ammonia solution which you will then blot with a dry white cloth.

How to remove oil and grease stains

Whether you have tracked it in from outside, or spilt salad dressing, cooking oil, or found crayon, lipstick or nail polish on your carpet, there are ways to target these stains with homemade DIT carpet cleaner.

Synthetic-fibre: Step-by-step

  1. Apply homemade carpet cleaning solvent with a white cloth and dab repeatedly.
  2. Press the cloth on the spot.
  3. Rinse by blotting lukewarm water.
  4. Wait one hour.
  5. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Natural-fibre: Step-by-step

  1. Use only a small amount of solvent applied via a white cloth in a blotting motion.
  2. Spray the stain with a detergent solution.
  3. Blot with a dry white cloth.
  4. Follow by spraying the stain with lukewarm water.
  5. Blot with a dry white cloth.
  6. Wait until the carpet dries completely.
  7. Repeat these steps until gone.

How to remove dirt and mud

Synthetic-fibre: Step-by-step

  1. Vacuum the dry dirt in an effort to remove as much as possible.
  2. Dip a white cloth with the detergent solution and gently dab repeatedly.
  3. Press the cloth on the stain and surrounding area for a few seconds.
  4. Wait 15 minutes, then soak up the excess with a dry cloth.
  5. Dip another cloth in lukewarm water and dab repeatedly.
  6. Press it on the spot for a few seconds.

Natural-fibre carpets and rugs

  1. Vacuum the area to remove as much dirt as possible.
  2. Spray with the detergent solution.
  3. Blot with a dry white cloth.
  4. Spray with the vinegar solution.
  5. Blot with a dry white cloth.
  6. Reapply detergent, then blot with a dry cloth.
  7. Spray with lukewarm water.
  8. Blot with a dry cloth.

How to remove chewing gum

One of the messier options that can dirty up our carpets is chewing gum; luckily, it’s not the end of the world thanks to these helpful steps that will work for both synthetic-fibre or natural-fibre carpets and rugs

  1. Gently rub the gum with ice cubes in a zip-lock bag until it hardens.
  2. Shatter the gum with a blunt object, then vacuum as much as possible.
  3. Apply a small amount of solvent, blotted on with a white cloth
  4. Rinse by with lukewarm water in a blotting motion.
  5. Repeat until the gum is no more!
pink armchair standing on a rug and under a lamp in spacious living room interior, next to a table with flowers and in front of a shelf next to a grey wall with dark painting
Source: Shutterstock

Frequently asked questions

How do you make your own carpet cleaner?

It is very easy to make your own DIY carpet cleaner, and you have a few options at your disposal. A popular option can be to mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of warm water which you then put in a spray bottle. Use this to spray some of your solution on the dirty area of the carpet and allow it to sit for roughly five minutes. When this is done, blot the area with a clean cloth and repeat these steps until the stain is gone. If you need a little extra cleaning power, you can sprinkle baking soda on the stain before adding the vinegar mixture.

How can I clean my carpet without a carpet cleaner?

If you don’t have or don’t want to use a store-bought chemical carpet cleaner to get rid of a stain, you can make your own from organic materials often found around the house. The best combinations include:

  • White vinegar and water
  • Baking Soda and water
  • Dish Soap with warm water and a little white vinegar
  • Salt and club soda

What is the best DIY carpet cleaner?

The best DIY carpet cleaner will vary based on your type of carpet and the reason you have a stain on it. A popular all-rounder solution uses one teaspoon of translucent liquid dishwashing detergent mixed into one cup of lukewarm water. Another option that can be just as effective is a ¼ cup of white vinegar mixed with ¼ cup of water. Finally, you may like to try an ammonia solution of one tablespoon clear household ammonia mixed into ½ cup of lukewarm water. Try all three to see which is the most effective for your carpet.

Keep those carpets clean!

Carpeting in the home looks great – but only if it is kept clean. Dirty carpets and even a few stains can be inevitable, but with the quick and easy DIY carpet cleaning tips listed above, you should be able to get rid of any unsightly issues. Remember, the sooner you get onto the stain, the better!

If the stain doesn’t seem to want to budge, or for any other household cleaning tasks that you don’t have the time or energy for, check out the many skilled Taskers who offer cleaning services for help. You may just want a break – which is totally fine! Have a chore crossed off the to-do list for you with a little help.

If you have come across a stain that is a little more involved, have a read of our other article that delves into how to clean pesky carpet stains. There may be a fix in there that does the trick! Hopefully, there is, and you can quickly get back to enjoying a comfortable, stain-free home in no time at all.


Luke Carlino

Luke Carlino is a freelance copywriter, social media manager and content creator based in Melbourne. He works for a range of clients across a plethora of industries and is also an accomplished musician with solo and band works online.

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