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The Best Homemade Carpet Cleaners For Every Kind of Stain

Before calling an expensive cleaning service to tackle your coffee, wine or ink stained rugs, try these do-it-yourself solutions.

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Homemade carpet cleaners - coffee stained rugPhoto: Shutterstock

Homemade Carpet Cleaners That Actually Work

Answering “which is the best homemade carpet cleaner” depends entirely on what type of stain you’re dealing with. Cleaning up coffee and cleaning up ink require completely different approaches. The good news? Everything you might need to tackle any carpet mess is probably already in your cupboards. No matter which solution you’ll need, be sure to dab at the stain and not rub it. Rubbing the stain into your carpeting will only spread the particles and make the stain worse. Get a clean, preferably pale cloth, and use the following homemade carpet cleaners to attack your toughest rug stains.

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Homemade carpet cleaner - bottles of beerPhoto: Shutterstock

Best carpet spot cleaner for coffee and tea: Beer

Getting that coffee or tea stain out of your rug may seem impossible, but you can literally lift it out by pouring a bit of beer right on top. Rub the beer lightly into the material, and the stain should disappear. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove all traces of the stain.

Find out the filthiest items in your home (and how to clean them).

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Ammonia

Lift out stains from carpeting and upholstery by sponging them with a solution of 1 cup clear ammonia in 2 litres (1/2 gallon) warm water. Let dry thoroughly, and repeat if needed.

Check out more amazing uses for ammonia all around the house.

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What to do with old corks - vinegar bottlePhoto: Shutterstock

Vinegar

Vinegar is the superhero of stain removal (and cleaning in general). Try these different formulas for homemade carpet cleaner to tackle a variety of common stains:

  • Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.
  • For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.
  • For spilled paint, use a solution of 1-1/2 teaspoons vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons laundry detergent, and two cups water; sponge away the paint before it sets and rinse with cold water.
  • For fruit and fruit juice stains, mix 1 tablespoon laundry detergent with 1-1/2 tablespoons white vinegar and combine with two cups of water. Work the solution into the stain and blot.
  • For coffee and tea stains, combine equal parts white vinegar and water and blot the stain.

Discover 100+ more ways to clean with vinegar.

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Homemade carpet cleaner - shaving foam in handPhoto: Shutterstock

Shaving cream

Your little one is very sorry for spilling a little juice on the carpet, so make it “all better” with some shaving cream on the spot. Blot the stain, pat it with a wet sponge, squirt some shaving cream on it, and then wipe clean with a damp sponge. Shaving cream also works great on grease and oil stains; simply work the cream into the stain, let dry, and rub off with a damp soft cloth.

Check out 35 (nearly forgotten) house cleaning tips from the past.

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Homemade carpet cleaner - cornstarchPhoto: Shutterstock

Cornstarch (and milk)

Oh no, ink on the carpet! In this case, a little spilled milk might save you from crying. Mix the milk with cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain. Allow the homemade carpet stain remover to dry on the carpet for a few hours, then brush off the dried residue and vacuum it up. Cornstarch is also great for soaking up grease and oil stains. Sprinkle the spots liberally, let sit for several hours, and vacuum up.

Read on to find out more clever uses for cornstarch.

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Why restaurants put rice in salt shakerPhoto: Shutterstock

Best multi-tasking homemade carpet cleaner: Salt

Use a sprinkle of salt to boost the power of another homemade carpet stain remover:

  • Don’t panic if you spill red wine on your white carpet. While the red wine is still wet, pour some white wine on it to dilute the colour. Then clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle the area with salt and wait about 10 minutes. Now vacuum up the whole mess.
  • For greasy food stains on carpet, mix up 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and rub it hard on the grease stain, being careful to rub in the direction of the rug’s natural nap. (Find out more handy uses for rubbing alcohol.)
  • Ketchup spill on your carpet? Act fast because once this one dries, it will be nearly impossible to get out. Sprinkle salt over the spill, let sit for a few minutes, and vacuum. Sponge up any residue and continue salting and vacuuming until the stain is completely gone.

Learn the surprising ways you’re shortening the life of your vacuum.

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Cans of WD40 on store shelfPhoto: Ismail Sadiron Pictures / Shutterstock.com

Best DIY carpet cleaner for ink spills: WD-40

Don’t let ink or other stains ruin your carpet. Spray the stain with WD-40, wait a minute or two, and then use your regular carpet cleaner or gently cleanse with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Continue until the stain is completely gone.

Check out 25 cleaning hacks for hard-to-remove stuff.

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Mystery stain on carpetPhoto: Shutterstock

Best homemade carpet cleaner for mystery stains: Hydrogen peroxide

Can’t tell what that stain is? Still want to remove it? Don’t worry, homemade carpet cleaners can remove mystery stains too. Try this sure-fire homemade carpet stain remover: Mix a teaspoon of 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide with a little cream of tartar or a dab of non-gel toothpaste. Rub the paste on the stain with a soft cloth. Rinse. The stain, whatever it was, should be gone.

Make sure you avoid making this expensive mistake with your vacuum.

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Homemade carpet cleaner - baking sodaPhoto: Shutterstock

Best DIY carpet cleaners for vomit and urine: Baking soda

Out of all homemade carpet cleaners, baking soda is your best choice to quickly clean vomit or urine stains from your carpet. Wipe up what you can, then pour baking soda over the affected area and pat with a paper towel. Let the homemade mixture dry completely before vacuuming up the residue. Baking soda will clean, sanitize, and deodorize the messy spot. Baking soda can also be used to lift grease stains when combined with equal parts salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the grease spot, and use a stiff brush to work the powdery concoction into the spot. Let sit for 4 or 5 hours and then vacuum up to completely remove the stain.

Did you know about these other brilliant uses for baking soda?

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Kid with bandaged kneePhoto: Shutterstock

Best carpet spot cleaner for blood: Meat tenderizer

Scraped knees leave blood stains on your carpet? Cover the stain with equal parts cold water and meat tenderizer and let this homemade remover stand for 30 minutes. Sponge off with cold water.

Here’s more expert advice on how to remove blood stains.

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Uses for club soda - Club soda in a cocktailPhoto: Shutterstock

Club soda

Club soda works wonders on pet urine and other tough stains. Immediately blot up excess urine with paper towels, then soak with club soda, blot again, and scrub with diluted carpet shampoo. Club soda also removes spilled coffee and tea stains; simply pour liberally over the stain and blot to dry.

Discover more uses for club soda you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Pulling baby wipes out of dispenserPhoto: Shutterstock

Baby wipes

Use baby wipes to blot up spills from your rug or carpet; they make great homemade carpet cleaners, absorbing both the liquid and the stain. Wipes can also be effectively deployed as a homemade stain remover when attacking various spills and drips on your clothing and upholstered furniture.

Find out more ways to put baby wipes to work all around the house.

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Toothbrushes in cupPhoto: Shutterstock

Best DIY carpet cleaner for deep stains: Toothbrushes

Removing a carpet stain can be a pain, especially one that has soaked deep down into soft fibres. To remove those deeply set stains, try using a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush, dabbing it gently to work in the stain-removing agent (bleach or vinegar, for example) until the stain is gone.

Don’t miss these other toothbrush cleaning hacks!

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Ice cubes in trayPhoto: Shutterstock

Best DIY carpet cleaner for gum: Ice cubes

Chewing gum somehow end up stuck to the fibres of your carpet? Ice cubes could be the homemade carpet stain remover you need. Freeze the gum first with ice cubes (sealed in a plastic bag), then scrape with a butter knife and blot with trichloroethylene, a dry-cleaning fluid.

Discover 14 more clever uses for ice cubes.

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Hand reaching for buttery popcornPhoto: Shutterstock

Best carpet spot cleaner for oil stains: Dry-cleaning fluid

Dry-cleaning fluid is excellent at removing grease, lipstick, butter, and mysterious oily fingerprints. Blot up excess oil with a paper towel, and then work the fluid into the stain, moving from the edges to the centre.

Find out how to wash “dry clean only” clothes at home.

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Homemade carpet cleaner - spilled nail polish on rugPhoto: Shutterstock

Best homemade carpet cleaner for paints and polishes: Paint remover

For spilled nail polish, paint, or leaked ink, dab gently with paint remover. If that fails, try dabbing with dry-cleaning fluid.

Now that you’ve got these homemade carpet cleaners under your belt, check out 50 dollar-store solutions to life’s little dilemmas.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest