Homemade Carpet Shampoo

Clean carpets don’t stay that way very long in our home.  That’s why I was so thankful to my parents for letting us borrow their small carpet cleaner for a few months.  One of the first things I wanted to do was come up with a homemade carpet shampoo that I could whip up for small stains with ingredients we already had around the house.  After a few weeks of experience we had a formula that addressed stains and smells without having to rely on purchasing carpet cleaner that had undesirable chemicals.

We use white vinegar for its antibacterial property and its ability to remove smells.  We began with a simple half water and half vinegar solution.  This smelled really strong.  It definitely cleared the room for at least an hour until the smell dissipated.  We all knew the smell would go away.  It was just so uncomfortably strong.  Check out these other cleaning uses for vinegar in your bathroom and vanity.

So we cut out the vinegar and added a little hydrogen peroxide.  This provided extra stain lifting and diluted whitening power.  Obviously, this will be effective on very light carpet and rather destructive for darker carpet.  Use your judgement and test small, unseen spots before treating your carpet with hydrogen peroxide.  Of course, I turned to hydrogen peroxide since it does such a great job whitening my teeth and my laundry.

Sometimes stains were a little more greasy and substantial.  We found that a small amount of dish detergent helped cut the grease and gave that extra oomph that some spots require for removal.

Finally, we added a yummy scent.  Lavender is my hands down favorite.  It is so soothing and peaceful.  Choose the scent that you love the most and proceed from there.  You can skip the scent if you’re in a hurry.

Homemade Carpet Shampoo Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide 3% solution (This is the strength you’ll get in the first aid section.)
  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent
  • 5 drops essential oil (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Mix the ingredients well.  I shake mine thoroughly in a lidded mason jar.  This makes it much easier to distribute the cleaning agents into the water.
  2. Blend this mixture with 1-1/2 quarts of hot water.
  3. Use in carpet cleaner as directed by manufacturer.
lavender
Love essential oils? I’m a self-proclaimed oil-junkie! Read up on the brand of essential oils I absolutely love and currently use for everything from warding off strep, to eliminating my daughter’s asthma.


This recipe can easily be adjusted for full-size carpet cleaners.  Double or triple quantities as needed.

If you are concerned about discoloration, substitute vinegar for the hydrogen peroxide. But never combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar.

Please make sure to leave a comment below to let us know how this homemade carpet shampoo works for you.

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39 Comments:
  1. I’m excited to try this! The brand we have now is Weiman, and it works amazing! Truly amazing! No spot it can’t get up…but it does contain hydrogen peroxide.
    Anybody have luck with this yet?

  2. I need to get some “little boy” stains out of my sons carpet. In researching the best solution to make, I came across yours. It contradicts other information I have found that says you should NOT mix vinegar and hydrogen peroxide because it can create peracetic acid, which can be dangerous. Please be careful.

    • “If you are concerned about discoloration, substitute vinegar for the hydrogen peroxide. But never combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar.”

      read on . . .

  3. hmmm this is what I found: Peracetic acid is a much weaker acid than the reactant, acetic acid; however, it has different properties and characteristics. Due to its high oxidizing potential, peracetic acid is often used as a sanitizing product. It is effective against a large range of bacteria and, in food, breaks down to acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, which are considered to be safe and environmentally friendly. This gives the substance application in sanitation of hard surfaces on which food is prepared, wineries and breweries, greenhouse facilities and even directly onto foods such as vegetables, fruits and meat.

  4. This is great! We just had new carpet put in our playroom, and sure enough, there’s already been spills. I’m going to keep a batch of this on hand.

  5. I tried this out and added 1 tablespoon of Baking Soda and stains were easily lifted off my carpet. I def won’t be going back to Bissell brand because I’m saving tons of money by making the solution myself. My carpet smells great too. I added almond and coconut essential oil. Btw, my carpet is a very light color, so it’s advisable to only use on light colored carpets. Thanks for the ingredients! So happy I stumbled upon this.

  6. This solution worked great! The only thing it didn’t take out was my dog’s throw up which was orange, but…I hadn’t pretreated before which I should have. I ended up researching this when I ran out of the store bought half way through my last room. It cleaned better than the store bought and I’ll be using it again this week. I especially like that it didn’t have ammonia.

    • I think this is just what I am looking for. Commercial services DO NOT get much out. I use hydrogen peroxide straight up on my beige carpet and it does not bleach it but it sure does get the stains out. I will try your solution in my machine to clean the whole carpet.

      Mandy, try peroxide straight up on the dog throw-up.

  7. Is it necessary to use vinegar? I don’t have any and was wondering if i cld just use the dish soap, peroxide, and hot water. What is the vinegar for?

    • The vinegar breaks up dirt/grease and is also a sanitizing agent. I definitely think it’s a necessary part of the mix. But if you try it without, let me know how it works – I’m interested to find out!

      • The vinegar is great for odors. I used this recipe to clean some stains on my white carpet when my dog got sick. Love it and 1 year later the spots have not returned.

      • So I guess I’m a little confused. If the vinegar is necessary you ARE saying to put both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in. I’m not concerned about the mixture being poisonous because I do think I read somewhere that water dilutes it enough to make a very effective sanitization. Just want to get the recipe right. And if we are to use both how much vinegar should be in it?

  8. This looks good! We have been dog sitting and turns out he’s not as potty trained as thought! They also managed to pull down a cup of soda onto the carpet! I have felt for a long time that our carpet holds urine smell from potty training our other dogs even though we had used other carpet cleaners! I will report back on how I feel this works!

  9. Just used your formula. Love the results. Much better than the brand that came with my carpet cleaner. The carpets look and smell clean!

  10. I just got done mixing up this detergent for my full sized carpet cleaner, 8 times the recipe, into a large lidded plastic bottle, only got one shake of the bottle and it’s nothing but foam. I guess I wait now til the foam settles!!

  11. Since I have dark maroon carpets, would this still be effective if I replaced the peroxide with more vinegar? My landlord would be REALLY unhappy if I caused the carpet to become “speckled”.

  12. You are giving irresponsible advice here. Vinegar + hydrogen peroxide can kill you within seconds.

    • She is not telling people to mix Hydrogen Peroxide with Vinegar. I copied and pasted what she said and inlarged the words you obviously did not read. ;-) Hope this helps you to not die with her ingredients ;-)

      “If you are concerned about discoloration, SUBSTITUTE vinegar for the hydrogen peroxide. But NEVER COMBINE hydrogen peroxide with vinegar.”

  13. Just great! I used it today in my full size Hoover steam clean, doubled up on the mix and made up 4 or 5 batches as I went along to complete the apartment carpeting. My boyfriend had tracked in some poop but now the carpet is bright, clean and smells great. I opted for Bergamot as my essential oil as it works to inhibit mold & mildew, as well as smelling fresh. Thank you.

  14. Hi Crystal, I want to try this but I am a little confused. What is the exact recipe for light colored carpeting? The 3 sentences below were copied from above… Can you let me know? Thanks bunches! Noni

    So we cut out the vinegar and added a little hydrogen peroxide. This provided extra stain lifting and diluted whitening power.
    If you are concerned about discoloration, substitute vinegar for the hydrogen peroxide. But never combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar.

  15. you can buy enzyme in the pet store or grocery store that removes pet odor and stain. I use this carpet recipe and add 1/4 cup of the pet enzyme for all over cleaning in the machine, and the pet enzyme straight out on immediate problems.

  16. Do I need to double this recipe to use in a Bissell Pro Heat? Will the Hydrogen Peroxide bleach dark colored carpet? Thanks

  17. I looked up the size of your cleaner vs mine. I would need to double the recipe, but question is do I double the water? Thank you

  18. Water nullifies the peroxide/vinegar problem. Add vinegar or peroxide at end, not before water so the too don’t mix together. Geez guys, lighten up as peroxide and vinegar are fine together when diluted with water.

  19. I tried the carpet cleaner. could not believe the results, im in a wheelchair so I drag everything in from the outside on the wheels, had two spots one at the table and one at my couch. ive tried everthing on the shelf in stores which some made it look worse. this stuff really works . my sis has my big shampooer I had to use my small one. I have a dark tan carpet before it had two black tracks caused by the wheelchair now NOTHING . thanks for the info on the mix

  20. I see a lot of people are confused to the ingredients. Here is what the auther is saying word for word. She is NOT saying to mix Viniger and Peroxide together. She has the ingredients set for IF you have Lighter colored carpet and said IF you are concerned about discoloration, SUBSTITUTE vinegar FOR the hydrogen peroxide. I am SO understanding the ingredients and will be trying this. I will give you an update after I try it maybe even pics if I can post them on here ;-)

    Ingredients:
    4 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide 3% solution (This is the strength you’ll get in the first aid section.)
    1 tablespoon dish detergent
    5 drops essential oil (if desired)
    If you are concerned about discoloration, substitute vinegar for the hydrogen peroxide. But never combine hydrogen peroxide with vinegar.
    Thanks A Bunch For Posting This ;-)

    • I am going to try this now! I have an old kool-aid stain from the kids. I am treating it with Hydrogen Peroxide and it’s slowly lightening up! I am so relieved I don’t have to buy new carpets over this! Does anyone know how to get brown stains off the carpet from furniture? I tried the Hydrogen Peroxide but it doesn’t seem to be doing much. You all are great and I am so excited to clean my carpets!!! :-)

  21. I understand the recipe just fine BUT HOW MUCH WATER per solution????? I have a rug doctor. I believe it holds 2 gallons.

  22. Do you need to rinse with clean water when done shampooing or can you leave this solution on the carpet?

  23. Hi. Thanks for the great site. I have a Hoover Steam Vac Spinbrush machine and I use a combination of 1/2 cup Borax dissolved in very hot water, with a quarter sized squirt of all-natural dish detergent, 3/4 cup white vinegar and 12 drops of my favorite essential oil. My carpet comes out VERY clean and I don’t have to worry about discoloration.

    Another way I’ve done a quick freshening of my carpets (especially in the winter) is if you have a steam mop like a Shark or Gruene steamer is to use 2/3rds distilled water, 1/3rd white vinegar and a few drops essential oil and run it slowly over the carpet to kill dust mites and just remove odors.

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