Mar 12, 2013

Homemade Natural Carpet Shampoo/Cleaner For Carpet Cleaning Machines!


Homemade Carpet Cleaner

I have been wanting one of these Bissell Little Green Deep Cleaners for a while and Ryan got one for me for Christmas!  Yay!! One of the “Christmas presents” I typically ask for every year is to have our carpets cleaned for the holidays because with 3 kids running around the house they get dirty pretty quickly and end up with lots of stains in a year’s time. But having your carpets professionally cleaned just gets so expensive and since you can get your own cleaning machine at less than half the price of a professional cleaning we decided to do that this year instead. The only thing I was concerned about was the carpet cleaner for my new machine since it’s full of chemicals that I’d prefer not to have in my house. So I did a little research on organic/natural carpet cleaners from the store/Amazon and they are very expensive.  Definitely out of our price range. I did a little more research and put together a great homemade recipe for carpet cleaner/shampoo that works wonders on our carpets.  It’s super easy to make and smells great! The measurements below should fit the Bissell Little Green Deep Cleaner but I’ve heard from readers who have used the same proportions in larger cleaners and it worked great too.




  • 1½ quarts of hot (NOT boiling) water
  • ¼ cup of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (it’s the regular hydrogen peroxide that you can get at any store)
  • 1½ Tablespoons of White Vinegar
  • 1½ Tablespoons of Dish Soap (we use Seventh Generation and it works great)
  • About 5 drops of your favorite essential oil – either just one or a combination. Citrus Fresh and lavender are great!
  • (Optional) If you’re having problems with the solution making too many suds, then you can add a very small amount (1 Tbsp or so) of fabric softener


  • Mix all of the ingredients together (be sure to add the dish soap to the water and not the water to the dish soap – you’ll see why if you do it the wrong way just once)
  • Pour into your carpet cleaning machine.
  • Clean like the directions tell you to.

I love knowing exactly what’s in the things I use in my house!

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  1. I’ve had this machine for several years and LOVE it. Thanks for posting a safer, healthier cleaning option – I am excited to try it next time!

  2. This is GREAT, thanks! I just got one of these for Christmas and the cleaner has a strong fragrance… I would much rather use this recipe! 🙂

  3. I would guess that you could use this same recipe in the rug doctor too. I haven’t tried it, but I would think that the recipe should be good in any carpet cleaning machine.

  4. I am going to try it. Seems like it would work to me too. Thanks 🙂

  5. I got a Bissell for Christmas. Can’t seem to get the kids out of the house long enough to use it though. 😛 Any suggestions there? My only idea has been to clean the kids’ room right before bed and then just stick them in their beds.

  6. LOL, Emily! I love your idea about shampooing the carpets right after they get in bed! I did ours during nap time and it dried before my 3 year old (the one I have to worry about) woke up. I just have to go over the spot A TON until it stops picking up any water so that it will dry quicker.

  7. I am looking for one to use with the rug doctor, any suggestions there?

    • Anonymous says:

      I just used this same recipe but doubled it for the rug dr. OMG works awesome! I added lavender and my house smells so good!

  8. Cara (aka Temberton) says:

    Neato! Great information! I am going to put a link to this on the How-To sub-page of my Frugal Living tab. I have several articles lined there and love to see the list grow. 🙂

  9. Ashley @ Orange Daisies says:

    Ooh will have to try that! Cats always making messes!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do not use vinegar with pets, it can actually encourage urination in the spot this is used. Do not use anything with ammonia either, as this will do the same thing.

  10. I too was looking for a more natural solution for carpet cleaning. I want to try this shampoo, but I wonder, isn’t hydrogen peroxide also a strong chemical?

  11. Osterreich says:

    Do NOT buy this if you think it will replace your vacuum. I have a 2 year old and a VERY good vacuum on hand that I use once a week (though I probably should vacuum twice a week). For all the messes that occur in between (probably 2-3x a day), I use the Shark to make my life easier.

  12. Will the hydrogen peroxide leave bleach stains if you use it in a carpet shampooer? I’m using a Hoover steamvac, and the bottle of shampoo that we bought, is NOT going to cover the whole house. I’m looking for a way to make one that will get tough stains out, and get the dirt out, plus smells good. But, we live in an apartment, and our carpet is a brown color.

  13. I have a question about using peroxide – one of my cats’ kennels is metal. I’ve heard that peroxide will rust metal. Is there a way I can use peroxide on my whole carpet without rusting my kennel when I put it back on the carpet, or should I use something else? I’ve heard that vinegar will rust metal, too.

    • I think it will only rust it if you put it on while it’s still wet. Once completely dry it shouldn’t harm the metal.

  14. Thanks for the tip! Any reason you can’t use natural clothing detergent instead of dish soap? Like Rockin’ Green?

    • Hmm… I would think it would work too. I’m definitely not an expert, but I think the solution just needs a little something to attract the dirt, so I would guess that detergent would work as well.

  15. Lon C Ponschock says:

    Would a small quantity of (some sort of) bleach or detergent with “safe” bleach work in this formula to lighten old and mottled grey carpet? My apartment wall to wall carpet is old with no signs of the management replacing it.

    Any cross references appreciated to information on lightening without making “white spots” in the carpet and amount to use.

    • The hydrogen peroxide and vinegar work just like bleach does, without the fading. try in your washing machine with your next load!

  16. I have used regular laundry detergent in my rug doctor before. I use half a capful of detergent, to a gallon of water. I have added about a cup of white vinegar to the solution as great!

  17. Best for home use and for those housewives who gets a lot of effort on looking for this solutions for their carpets. Pretty little thing conveniently done by one’s self and we get the chance to do it according to what we like it to be.

  18. This is really great, I could say that this is one of a kind material which can give such a great information when it comes on carpet shampoo Burlington.

  19. Perhaps this is a stupid question, but I’d assume hydrogen peroxide would bleach the rug, and essential oils would stain it. Not the case?

    • It wasn’t the case for me. I know, I worried about that too, and maybe it’s because I have a tan rug that it still worked great? It also might be since it’s such a small amount of peroxide and a small amount of essential oils that that’s why it turns out just fine. Just enough to get grime out and put a nice smell in. I’d definitely test it on a small section first though just to make sure!

    • this is not the hydrogen peroxide that you use to bleach your hair. this one is only a 3% strength. It is what is commonly used on cuts and abrasions.
      Question: the dish soap that you use, is it regular liquid dish soap or a low sudsing kind? Will regular soap like Dawn liquid work or something else?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think its important to know that a few drops of fabric softener is the best desudser.As a kid one of us put regular soap in the dishwasher…sudds everywhere!!My mom used it to cut them down.It is also a great way to freshen.I saw a recipe for a homemade febreeze room freshener.You need only add an ounce or two to a squirt bottle of water and vila!Not only would you get an amazing smelling carpet but low sudds in your machine.I would start with a TBSP & check to see if there are sudds forming and add accordingly.

        • I never thought of the fabric softener thing. Great idea! I use my homemade laundry soap in my machine, it works fantastic and is low sudsing, but the lingering scent is extremely mild and was trying to figure out a way to boost the scent. I also make my own fabric softener that smells awesome…..i am in the middle of cleaning the carpets once again. i have to do it about twice a month, between the men, the kids and the dog. lol. i am going to try adding the fabric softener this time and check it out. Thanks!!!!

  20. LINDA DANN says:

    So happy to have read this! I’m so tired of spending so much on these solutions and as I do animal rescue trust me, I use those machines- mine a Hoover- every day!

  21. Country girl Penyei says:

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful cleaning solution! Tomorrow I have 7 rooms to clean and really appreciate a safe inexpensive helpmate 😀

  22. tiffany wood says:

    this is great! I just used some cleaner im guessing it was old, but it made my carpet smell like fish!!! aahhhhh!! not cool, so Im totally happy I found this! thank you so much!

  23. Nancy Bowker says:

    This looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it.

  24. Anonymous says:

    If peroxide causes metal to rust….wouldnt it rust the metal parts in the cleaning machine over time?

  25. Condo Jan says:

    I think this sounds wonderful.  Does anyone know how to mix this for a regular size rug shampooer/Bissell Floor Size.  Do you put the solution into the soap dispenser and then fill up the large reservoir with the hot water?  Or put it in with the large reservoir and then just fill up soap dispenser with regular water?

  26. 1) How big is the whole solution container for this Bissell model this recipe is made for?
    2)  I understand the original mixture is some parts of their soap and water, so would you use this recipe and fill the rest of the required volume with water ?
    I am trying to use this recipe for  a Hoover steamvac. The container looks to be about 1 gallon.

  27. Rachelle T says:

    Has anyone used this is a large cleaner?  I want to try it in my Hoover.  And where do you purchase essential oils??

    • [email protected] T
       You can get them at  your local health food stores or on-line at Aura Cacia. I like Tea Tree and Lavender essential oils b/c they are natural  Antibacterial,Antibiotic,Antiviral,Antifungal and Antiseptics. I stay away from Orange b/c  most orange essential oils contain d-limonene which has been linked to cancer! all other scents are fine though and there is plenty to choose from. Hope this helps ;0)

      • [email protected] T Orange essential oil is used to reduce cancer- The anti-cancer properties of limonene and citrus essential oils have been studies at over 50 Universities and Hospitals worldwide.  According to the University of Wisconsin orange oil reduced the incidence of breast cancer by over 45%. Orange oil increases the absorption of vitamin C. A combination both of them is very effective, because it supports your immunity to fight colds and flu.

        • Do not use orange essential oils if you have cats. It is not good for them.

          • Don’t use any essential oils around cats. I will be making mine unscented. Vinegar neutralizes odors. If you want your house to smell like something simmer some orange peel with cinnamon and cloves or any other combination of spices you like. Personally I prefer he absence odor.

  28. Been using rug doctor and carpet cleaning solutions. It is good but I’ll try this alternative. Thanks for sharing.

  29. I have beige carpet. Did anyone experience discoloration from the peroxide?

  30. One thing that also works great is to dissolve some oxy clean in water and sprinkle it on your carpets with a watering can (or I just use a jar with holes poked in the lid!) before you start shampooing them. Thanks for the recipe!!

  31. I used this recipe today and it left my “builder beige” carpets looking BETTER than they have after cleaning with store bought shampoo, and we have 2 large dogs and 3 cats! Never buying another bottle, thanks for sharing!! 

  32. amandaformaro says:

    Thanks for this! We’ll be shampooing today, so I will definitely be trying this. Just FYI your print button isn’t working, at least from my end. All I see in the preview is #ingredients and #instructions. Nothing there other than the title. I just copy/pasted it but thought you would want to know 🙂 Thanks!

  33. I found this on Pinterest and used it. I am over the top happy! This formula really works and I never have to delay shampooing carpets again because I am out of cleaner for my machine. Thank you!

  34. I used this in my Bissell ProHeat 2 and it worked great! Even got the dirt and grease stains out that my husbands work boots left on my carpet! It also got out a red koolaid stain!

    • Woohoo!! That’s great to know about the Kool-Aid! The only thing it didn’t get out for me was powdered tempera paint. But it worked out because we were wanting to put wood (well, vinyl that looks like wood) in the living room so it was just extra motivation to get it done sooner. 🙂

  35. any ideas on what to add to eliminate pet pee stains?

    • when my cats try to mark or pee when the litter box is running though its clean cycle I put distilled vinegar on the spot and it comes right out and you don’t smell the urine anymore.

  36. Thank you!!! I’ve been looking for a homemade recipe to clean my carpets. I’m going to be trying this the cleaning solutions are so expensive and don’t really seem to do a great job and run out way before your done. I have 3 kids, 2 cats, and a husband that works in the dirt so my carpets get messed up so quick. I honestly need to clean them every other day when it starts raining everyday here.

  37. I used this recipe today and I love it. The carpets look great and I don’t have to worry about my cats picking up chemicals on their paws and licking them off. Thanks

  38. OMG u are never supposed to mix hydrogen peroxide and vinigar, it creates a dangerous acid!!!

    • From what I understand, the mixing of peroxide and vinegar at this low of a concentration (the acetic acid in store-bought vinegar being only 4-8% and the hydrogen peroxide being only 3%) and diluted down even further by so many other ingredients is not a concern. Peracetic acid, which is what is formed with full-strength acetic acid and hydrogen peroxide, is actually used for commercial sanitization and disinfecting. We aren’t getting anywhere even remotely close to that strength with the small amount of each ingredient in the carpet cleaner though.

      If you feel uncomfortable with adding both, I would leave out the vinegar and just use the hydrogen peroxide. I’ve used it without the vinegar before (we were out of it) and it still worked great!

  39. OMGosh – thank you, thank you, thank you! I have 6 kids and a dog and carpets that hadn’t been cleaned for 4 years. They were so gross I felt dirty all the time. But we’re broke and I didn’t want to rent a Rug Doctor because the cleaning solution for a house our size and rugs as dirty as ours would have run another $70 at least. Found your recipe and used it and now my rugs are almost like new. Really, they look and smell a bajillion times better. I’m so happy!

    So for anyone asking, this does work with Rug Doctors. Just adjust quantities and add 1 Tbsp of fabric softener to the water/solution mix to stop foaming. I even used the stair/upholstery attachment without any foaming problems. A tip – if you have really dirty carpets, after the reservoir is empty, go back over the area you just treated again while still holding down the water spray button. This suctions up more of the water so you can go back over it repeatedly without getting the carpet sopping wet. (I had areas I went over 3 and 4 times.)

    Thank you again. I went through 2 bottles of diswashing soap, 6 bottles of hydrogen peroxide and 1/2 gallon of vinegar. Got the whole thing done for about $15 which is less than one bottle of their cleaning solution would have cost me. My friends are going to be shocked when they come over. It worked great and saved me a ton of money. Yay!

    • Thank you for your review. I must have missed the fabric softener step in all the previous write-ups, because last night when I tried this formula (doubled) in my Bissell full size wet vacuum, I had foam everywhere. Curiously, not at first, but by the time I ran out of soap, I was in full sudsing mode.

      For me with the Bissell, I placed the doubled batch right in my water reservoir (holds 1 gallon) and then in my soap reservoir, I placed simple hot water. I vac’ed as normal. Because of the sudsing I ended up do two full water rinses. I only vacuumed certain sections due to some tracked mud,

      I know it was working because our carpets where I vacuumed are fresher smelling and oddly enough, feeling. The non-vacuumed sections are coarse and stiff feeling. The parts that were vacuumed have a spring to the touch and are “smoother”. Now I have to do all the carpets, not just sections…!

  40. This is such a great recipe. I’ve got three dogs, one of which has a potty problem, a cat and a little one that only spills when she’s drinking purple or red juice. This recipe takes all the odors out, cleans up the stains and leaves the whole house feeling clean and smelling good. Pet odors are GONE!! Thank you sooooo much!!!

  41. Vinegar is also my recipe of cleaning. It works great for any type of hard cleaning. And it’s also very easy to apply!!

  42. Lana Hardman says:

    I wonder if you could use this without putting in a machine, just for spot cleaning?

  43. Hi~ I am amazed. I came across your shampoo recipe this morning because I am out of carpet shampoo so figured why not go natural (like I am trying to do with the rest of the house). Have to say this worked amazingly. I have cheap apartment carpet that is a light tan. It was brand new when we moved in so after two kids being here nearly a year, well even with cleaning it wouldn’t get clean to my standards. Aside from the few stains left from red and blue otter pops, the floor looks nearly like we moved in! I am going to repost this on my blog. I just wish I would have taken before and after pictures. Thank you!

    Also as a side note. I have a Bissel Powerforce Powerbrush. I made the recipe with the 1 1/2 qt water, 1 tbsp Sun dish soap, 1 Tbsp Vinegar 3 Tbsp peroxide for the first round. It got a little foamy. I made it again filling up my entire clean water area with and extra 1/2 tbsp soap and extra Tbsp vinegar the second time and it did not get as foamy but still did a good job cleaning. Just experiment to figure out what works best for your machine!

  44. Angela says:

    Can you mix a batch of this and keep it on hand? My cleaner is more of a spot cleaner so it’s uses a little bit at a time. Any tips? Thanks!

  45. shelley says:

    This cleaning solution works great!! I have removed some serious stains using this-including stains in my car!!

  46. My husband and I foster rescue dogs and cats, and 2 of our foster cats have allergies. All the cats, including our own, occasionally bring up their dinner or hairballs. The carpets were a mess, but I was concerned about cleaning them because of the sister cats’ allergies.

    I finally cleaned them with our Hoover SteamVac carpet cleaner and Hoover carpet shampoo, which is what I usually use. Sure enough, one of the cats started scratching more. I still had one large room to clean, so I looked online for alternatives and found the above recipe.

    I love it! I had to go over stains fewer times than I did with the Hoover carpet shampoo, and the carpet looks great. And the cats are doing fine.

    The only problem was that the detergent got a little sudsy. I used Dawn dish soap, if that makes a difference. I used less soap when I added more detergent to the carpet cleaner, and it worked just as well without suds oozing out of the machine.

    The essential oil I used was pink grapefruit because that’s what we had on-hand. (We use it for our homemade dishwashing detergent.) Our carpet is light beige.

    I should add that I always go over to the carpet to rinse it after it’s dry, with just hot water. I did this step with the Hoover carpet shampoo and with the above recipe.

    Thank you for posting this.

  47. Disclaimer.. I have not tried this recipe but I soon will.
    I have my dogs and foster dogs and my carpet has poop, puke, pee and other unknown substances (ewww). I used to have a Hoover, actually like that one better. I used the required amount of solution plus about 1/2 that of oxyclean liquid also. I now have Bissell, so to the person that put the solution in the water reservoir and the water in the small solution reservoir, “What were you thinking?”.
    My biggest tip is to shampoo without sucking up all of the solution, go do something else for about 10 minutes then finish.
    And to those concerned with mixing things together… It’s a very diluted solution people and I have used straight H2O2 on my stubborn stains, light carpet, drug store variety, without a problem.
    I imagine that once you mix this all together, you would use it the same way you would use the store bought carpet shampoo. Just my opinion.

  48. I use this in my Bissell-works just as well as expensive cleaner. I put it in the shampoo holder-put regular water in the water reservoir and add 1/2 cup white vinegar to the water-that helps make sure there is no soapy residue left in the carpet.

  49. Wow, I just used this carpet cleaning solution on the coffee stains on my light colored carpet and they came right out! Thank you so much!

  50. rebeccabasset says:

    Thanks so much for the “how to” Carpet Cleaner ingredients, I will give this a try, sounds like a very cheap idea to use.

    Thanks again!


  52. I have read that this can bleach your carpet, combining vinegar and peroxide. I had a relative do a solution on a few spots and now she has white spots. I have beige carpet. Does anyone know if this is safe, or has anyone with beige carpet used this all over without a problem? Thanks!

  53. In the title in the picture, “natural” is misspelled.

  54. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a doubt donate to this superb blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my
    Google account. I look forward to new updates and will share this blog with my
    Facebook group. Chat soon!

  55. Kassey McDonald says:

    Will this solution work in any carpet cleaner? I borrowed a, bissell powerforce powerbrush. Will this work in that machine? I do not have the extra money to buy cleaner, i like using natural cleaners and i have all these on hand now.

  56. Bissell’s are powerful machines, but they leave your carpet damp for hours providing a perfect breeding ground for lots of new bacteria, mold, etc. (This really defeats the purpose of cleaning the carpets–they will appear clean for a little while but the stains will wick up in a few days.)

    I have a Challenger OP from Challenger Systems and the dry-time after a cleaning is about ONE hour.
    I have no problem cleaning around my kids because the job is so quick with the system’s low moisture.

    I also use Orbit Glow & Orbit Natural daily and they work GREAT! They are all-natural products I ordered from the company.

    Thanks for the article on how to make my own solution, it was a great read!

    More info about the products I mentioned at

  57. diane hand says:

    You say to put the mixture in the machine and follow the machine directions.
    This machine says to fill the drum with water and then add the shampoo.
    Should I follow these directions or will it dilute your recipe too much?

  58. I have to say that it really works! I hope more people will see it! Thank you for sharing!

  59. It is so good to know that I can make carpet cleaner at home without giving a lot of money. And I am sure that it will be efficient more than some of the detergents in the shop. Thanks!

  60. This post is definitely going bookmarked! Thank you for sharing! I thought it’s impossible to clean red wine!

  61. Last week I made a big party at home and as you can guess after the party I found some red wine stains on my living room carpet. I was going to call a professional services but first I will give a shot to this trick with the home made cleaner. Thanks!

  62. I use vinegar as a fabric softener. I just add a drops of lavender water soluable essential oil into the rinse compartment with the vinegar and my clothes, sheets and towels smell divine

  63. Joan Bearden says:

    Are there any good tips for getting a recent cranberry stain out of a vintage/antique off-white table cloth. Thanks for any help. Please email me your responses(with subject line: cranberry stain)so I will be sure to get them. Thanks for any help.

  64. Do you know that red wine can be remove from the carpet with white wine! I love this trick!

  65. I just ordered you YL kit, TY so much!! I live in a very rural area and the only essential oil we can buy here is Tea tree oil from Walmart,,lol. I am scared to buy to much online but have heard so much about this company but never wanted to put that much money into it, hopefully I can get a good thing going here at home!!

    • Awesome!! You will be receiving an email from me soon with more instructions and all of the details on how to use your starter kit! So exciting!


      • yes it is!! I have started using nothing but tea tree oi for about 6 months now for EVERYTHING!!! & everyone is so much healthier and my house smells so much fresher even if I cannot mop or dust for a few days ,,, and we all know with 3 small children there is a load of unknown smells,,lol. I never was one to do the natural and diy thing but I tried the tea tree oil when my son was to young for cough meds and had gotten pneumonia like 3 times I used it in his bath, made a vapor rub & ran it in a mist in his room and when I seen how AWESOME that worked I started finding out ALL it’s uses and will never ever go back!! Of course I am not always completely natural, I use alcohol in a spray for disinfecting and so forth but I am super excited to get this kit and try out different oils and all.

  66. I like this cleaning recipe a lot! I had a few red wine stains on my carpet and I tried this green way of cleaning and it removes all of the stains! Thank you a lot for share! Dartmouth Park Carpet Cleaners Ltd.

  67. Heather says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for this! I’ve been using it for the past 2 years with my Hoover Steam Vac and it works SO much better than the stuff made for the machine (which makes my carpet crunchy and has a strange smell). It gets out the stains without bleaching our carpet or area rugs, and I haven’t had any signs of damage or rust to the steam vac (as I saw a few comments asking about).
    I do recommend using a different dish soap though, as Seventh Generation only promises “no harsh chemicals” and not “no harmful chemicals.” Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is a big no no, and Seventh Gen uses it in most (if not all) of their products. SLS is banned in Europe because it’s considered unsafe. I personally feel safer using Ava Anderson Non Toxic dish soap instead.

  68. Great recipe! Last weekend we threw a party at home and of course there are few wine stains on the carpet. I tried to clean them with store bought detergents, but the result was not satisfying. I love the idea of using essential oils for home cleaning at all. I’m trying your recipe right this weekend and I hope it will work. Greets!

  69. Hello, everyone! I already tried this recipe but on ketchup stains and it worked more than great. I thought that these stains will never go away and now I have beautiful rug and I haven’t used any toxic detergent. You should definitely give a shot to this method!

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