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a man cleans his carpet

Stains are part of life. Pets and kids are notorious for creating them, but let’s face it: We can’t always blame the dog. Sometimes we can only thank ourselves.

Regardless of the culprit, it’s surprisingly easy to remove stains from your carpet with products you likely have on hand. Homemade cleaners are inexpensive, effective, and safer than commercial cleaning products, which often contain toxic chemicals. So don’t fret the next time you spill your coffee or your pup has an accident; simply follow these instructions for removing mild spots and stains.

What you’ll need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Hard-bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Vacuum
  • Steam cleaner
  • Cloth

For small spots:

  1. Sources disagree on whether it’s best to begin with baking soda or vinegar — in our experience, both ways work fine. In either case, be sparing. Remember that it’s easier to add than it is to take away. If beginning with baking soda, sprinkle a little over the stain. If you’re starting with vinegar, pour a small amount over the affected area.
  2. Add a little vinegar or baking soda (whichever product you didn’t use already) until the mixture starts to fizz.
  3. Use a hard-bristle brush or old toothbrush to gently massage the mixture into the carpet. Don’t be discouraged if the stain is still mostly visible.
  4. Let soak for a few hours until the spot has dried.
  5. Vacuum up any residue and repeat as needed.

For whole carpets:

  1. Mix vinegar and water. The mixture’s ratio will depend on your carpet’s material. For example, if your carpet is made of synthetic material, mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts hot water. If your carpet comprises natural materials like wool, mix equal parts vinegar and water.
  2. Add the mixture to the steam cleaner and steam the desired area.
  3. Give the space time to dry.

For more DIY cleaning product recipes, see “Make Your Own Spring-Cleaning Kit.”

Profile pic of Molly Tynjala
Molly Tynjala

Molly Tynjala is an Experience Life assistant editor.

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  1. After reading this article on DIY carpet cleaner, I am putting off purchasing a large carpet shampooer; I already have a steam mop & hadn’t thought of using that with vinegar & water. Excited to try this! Thank you 😊

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