Vinegar for Spots
Distilled white vinegar is an old standby for general household cleaning, and its natural ability to disinfect and lift stains makes it ideal as a carpet spot cleaner. Fill a spray bottle with 1 cup water and 1 cup distilled white vinegar to lift stains, deodorize the carpets and remove the germs. Apply the solution to the stain, let it sit for several minutes, then blot the area with a clean rag. Repeat as needed. Open a window while working with vinegar, as the product does omit an odor. Once dry, the carpets will no longer smell of vinegar.
High-Traffic Spot Cleaner
Vinegar also plays a feature role in a homemade, high-traffic spot cleaner, according to housekeeping expert The Hillbilly Housewife. On stains that do not come out with a simple vinegar-water solution, mix a paste of equal parts vinegar, borax and table salt. Rub the solution into the carpet stain with your fingertips. Leave it in place for three to four hours before vacuuming thoroughly.
Liquid dish soap also works well for lifting stains and cleaning carpets. According to “Real Simple" magazine, dish detergent is safe to use on natural-fiber and synthetic-fiber carpets, though it should be used in differing amounts. For a natural-fiber carpet cleaner, mix 1/4 teaspoon of clear dish soap and 1 cup of lukewarm water; dampen a clean rag with solution, then wipe the stain with the rag. For synthetic-fiber carpet, mix 1 teaspoon dish soap and 1 cup of lukewarm water; apply to stain by spraying with a spray bottle, then blot to dry.
Renting a steam cleaning machine two or three times a year helps remove ground-in dirt and grime. Skip the commercial solutions, though, in favor of a homemade alternative. The Hillbilly Housewife recommends mixing 1/4 cup lemon-scented ammonia, 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar, 3 tablespoons of liquid dish soap and 1 gallon of hot water. Consult the user manual or rental company to make sure any homemade cleaning solution is compatible with the cleaning equipment.