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How to make a great carpet cleaning solution, and the cons to beware

You’ve decided to save yourself a few dollars. You’ve hired a carpet cleaning machine, and you’ve read our tips for using a shampoo carpet cleaner. You’re ready to go. Except for one thing: you thought the carpet cleaning solution would come with the machine. It doesn’t.

You’ve got home, and you need to fill the machine to get going. Here’s what is probably the best carpet cleaning solution I’ve come across that has been made at home (I found it on happymoneysaver). You’ve probably got all the ingredients in your cupboards already. You won’t have to make another trip to the mall, and you won’t have to spend another pocket full of dollars.

What you need

  • 2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent
  • 1/4 cup of Awesome cleaner (or a dollar store brand)
  • 1 scoop of OxiClean (or, again, a dollar store brand)
  • 1 teaspoon of fabric softener
  • 1 gallon of hot water

How to mix this DIY carpet cleaning solution

  1. In a large bowl, mix the laundry detergent, Awesome cleaner, OxiClean, and fabric softener.
  2. Add the hot water slowly and gently, so that you don’t make too many bubbles.
  3. Stir until all is dissolved.
  4. Pour into a large storage container, and keep for when you need it.

When you come to shampooing your carpets, use as you would a concentrated carpet cleaning solution – add a quarter of a cup to a gallon of water (or as the carpet cleaning machine instructions say).

Don’t forget this when you clean your own carpets…

Now, if you are going to make your own carpet cleaning solution, there are a few things that you should remember:

  • Always read the carpet cleaner’s instructions
  • Make sure that the cleaner’s warranty isn’t voided by using a DIY cleaning solution
  • Always spot test the solution on a small piece of carpet that doesn’t show, to make sure that it won’t discolor the carpet

The best carpet cleaning solution may not be the best solution to clean your carpet

This homemade carpet cleaning solution works out at less than $1 per gallon. The savings are clear, and the results should be very good. But, you will have to spend your valuable time cleaning your carpet, and the results probably won’t match those of a professional cleaning service. You may have to clean your carpets a little more often, too.

Other drawbacks when using a DIY carpet cleaning solution and shampooing the carpet yourself include:

  • Carpet cleaning machines that your buy or hire are rarely as good as those used by professional cleaning services. They won’t lift out as much dirt, and often leave more residue.
  • If you leave residue behind, this can make dirt stick to it. Your carpet becomes dirtier more quickly, and you will need to clean it more often.
  • Your carpet could be damp for a few days, leading to a musty smell.
  • That musty smell could be the first sign of mold growing in or underneath your carpet. If this is the case, you’ll have a whole new problem of how to remove mold from carpet.
  • Damp carpets tend to come away from their backing (called delamination). Your carpet could need replacing much sooner.
  • When carpets remain damp for too long or aren’t dried out properly, they can shrink. Your efforts to save a few dollars may cost you several hundred more to put right with a new carpet.

Should you use a DIY carpet cleaning solution?

All these disadvantages of using a DIY carpet cleaning solution may put you off doing so, but if your carpet doesn’t need a deep clean then they can do a very good job. Perhaps the best way to use this solution is when you have a small stain on your carpet. For spots like these, it could be the perfect solution.

For a deep carpet clean, or if your carpet has extra stubborn stains, here in New Jersey, all you need to do is contact Porter's. We’ll be happy to provide a quote for spot removal, deodorizing, dealing with difficult pet staining problems, carpet repairs, and on-location deep carpet cleaning.

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