Homemade Carpet Shampoo

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


  • 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)


  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.
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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By | 2014-11-18T13:56:45+00:00 October 10th, 2012|Home and Garden, Organic and Green Living|56 Comments

About the Author:

I'm a former sweet-tooth turned health-nut. After a difficult loss of a first pregnancy and having a second child with a heart condition, I became obsessed with health and wellness. I revamped our entire family's lifestyle, dropped seven pant sizes, and created a website where I could share our story and help support people wanting to make small changes day by day in order to live well. I also support my family by the work that I do here through advertising content, affiliates, and partnership/consultant links within content. When you click and/or order, it puts food on our table. Thanks for all your support, and may you live well and thrive!


  1. melissa October 16, 2012 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    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. Aimee January 4, 2013 at 8:34 am - Reply

    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.

    • Mike February 24, 2014 at 12:15 pm - Reply

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

      read on . . .

  3. Carole January 12, 2013 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    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. Anchorage Carpet Cleaner January 26, 2013 at 5:18 am - Reply

    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. Elida April 30, 2013 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    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.

    • AGarza September 6, 2015 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      I have a Bissell cleaner. Did you add the solution to the large water container or to the small container that usually holds the shampoo solution?

  6. Mandy July 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Crystal Collins July 14, 2013 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Awesome!!! So glad it worked Mandy! 🙂

    • Annette October 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      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. Jessica July 18, 2013 at 3:50 am - Reply

    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?

    • Crystal Collins July 18, 2013 at 9:52 am - Reply

      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!

      • Roberta September 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm - Reply

        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.

      • Amber April 4, 2014 at 10:46 am - Reply

        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. Kirstin Tipps July 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm - Reply

    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. Victoria August 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

    I have everything but the peroxide! You think it’ll work?

  10. Paula Clough August 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply

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

  11. Ruth W. October 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    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!!

  12. Bethany October 19, 2013 at 11:52 pm - Reply

    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”.

    • mindy September 11, 2015 at 2:36 pm - Reply

      I would not use perox. on dark carpet, but vinegar is OK

  13. Oliver October 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm - Reply

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

    • Crystal April 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      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.”

  14. Alison October 24, 2013 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    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.

  15. Noni November 6, 2013 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    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.

    • Noni November 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      oh goodness, nevermind… don’t get old 😉

  16. maria November 9, 2013 at 8:10 am - Reply

    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.

  17. Kat November 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm - Reply

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

  18. Kat November 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm - Reply

    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

  19. Chris January 28, 2014 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    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.

  20. bob February 13, 2014 at 5:22 am - Reply

    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

  21. Crystal April 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    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 😉

    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 😉

    • Mommyof4 May 16, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

      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!!! 🙂

      • Mommyof4 May 16, 2014 at 4:34 pm - Reply

        The brown stain is from the wood on the legs of the furniture* I should’ve been more specific! 🙂 thank you! 🙂

  22. karen asay July 31, 2014 at 1:16 pm - Reply

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

    • Crystal Collins July 31, 2014 at 3:56 pm - Reply

      Hey Karen! You can blend this mixture with 1-1/2 quarts of hot water.

  23. Jen September 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm - Reply

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

  24. Candice November 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm - Reply

    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.

  25. NF January 4, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Did a lot of research before trying hydrogen peroxide 3% in my carpet cleaning machine. Wasn’t leery of it, I use HP to clean all sorts of stuff.
    I have many dogs and live in the country so mud and general grime is continuous. I purchased a Bissell ProHeat pet carpet machine and, of course, I used their cleaning solution, though in minute amounts compared to their recommendations. I had also used vinegar and water. Carpet did not look that great regardless. Did I mention that I have off white carpet? Not my choice, but I’m stuck with it right now.
    After reading several posts about HP, I decided the end result couldn’t be any worse, so I poured some of the HP along with generic fabric freshener into my tank along with really hot water. I adjusted the HP based on the grime level of the carpet and started cleaning. I also used hp and hot water in a spray bottle to pretreat some spots. I wanted no detergent or soap of any kind in my solution. I think the detergent was contributing to the dinginess even though I barely used any.
    Wow. I cleaned half the carpet to start, just for comparison. The difference between cleaned and uncleaned was remarkable. I finished cleaning the entire carpet it really looked good(not new, it’s worn, but really fresh and clean). Yes, I even got down and sniffed. It smelled great. This easy, inexpensive cleaning solution is going to be my go to from now on. And I wasn’t slipping and sliding all over the carpet like I normally would with detergent. Another reason not to use “soap”…safety.
    Oh, and mix each batch of cleaner up fresh and use immediately. HP loses it’s effectiveness once exposed to light for several hours. That’s why they use the brown bottles.
    Thanks for the great advice and I would spot test on darker carpets.

    • Crystal Collins January 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      So glad that it worked!

      • AGarza September 6, 2015 at 8:55 pm - Reply

        I have the same Bissell cleaner. Do I add this solution to the big tank with water or to the smaller container where the shampoo solution usually goes?

        • Crystal Collins September 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm - Reply

          I’m not sure about that. Maybe add it where the regular cleaner goes?

  26. Janey February 18, 2015 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Do you go over the carpet with fresh water after using this mix. Somebody else asked and your reply was rinse and clean it, which I took to mean the machine. Otherwise are you left with a residue from the soap liquid. Thanks

  27. Roxanne April 19, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I just ran out of the Bissell solution and have a rose colored carpet in MY sitting room….. 3 dogs, 2 kittens, teens & a toddler. …….. let me get the HP & Vinegar. ….. if they haven’t blown it up/killed it, torched it or broken it……. then it can’t be done! FYI Gain fabric softer is also a great go to for scent and cheaper than my essential oils!

  28. Susan Harward April 25, 2015 at 9:25 pm - Reply

    I have been searching for a homemade carpet solution bc the commercially sold is not cleaning very well. I am curious about the addition of fabric softner to this. I don’t use fabric softner when washing bath towels/washclothes as it tends to make them non-absorbant after drying which is frustrating when you try to dry off after a shower and your towel does not absorb well, so does it make the carpet mat down and look old soon after using it??

  29. Val September 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Fabric softener can clog machines, so I would not use it.

    A little white vinegar is good for laundry (soft towels), or to deodorize carpet.

  30. suzy September 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    waxy buildup from fabric softener can clog machines, & can stain carpets

  31. jula lange November 5, 2015 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    I have a Bissel proheat and have used this to clean my BLUE carpet and it is NOT discolored. I put the HP in the cleaning solution bottle and only water in the tank. I sprinkled my stains with baking soda and sprayed with a solution of 50/50 water vinegar to pretreat. My carpets are stain free with 2 kids and 2 cats! 🙂

  32. Jodi February 4, 2016 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Hi! I see you are a young living oiler! Me too! What do you think about adding Thieves cleaner in the solution rather than lavender or another essential oil? Have you tried it? Just curious! Thanks!

    • Crystal Collins February 8, 2016 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      That’s a great idea! Haven’t tried that yet, but may have to do that next!

  33. Natalie November 30, 2016 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    So I could just put this inside of the section for the water and solution for a Bissell Proheat 2x Liftoff Pet Carpet Cleaner?
    Here is a link for the type I am talking about: https://www.lowes.com/pd/BISSELL-ProHeat-2X-Liftoff-Pet-1-Speed-0-75-Gallon-Upright-Carpet-Cleaner/50191469
    Thank you so much for your help!

    • Natalie November 30, 2016 at 3:09 pm - Reply

      I’m scrolling up now and reading others’ comments…and I believe I have my answer. But if you just have a moment to confirm that this is okay, I’d TRULY appreciate it! It’s not my cleaner…we’re borrowing it from my Dad’s Mom….and I’d hate to ruin it on her!! She does so much for us!!

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