As we learn more and more about the harm that chemicals expose us to, more of us are trying to do without unnecessary chemical exposure. For people concerned with the toxicity of chemicals we use on carpets, and especially parents who have young children crawling and eating on the floor, here are a few simple, non-toxic solutions for getting our carpets clean. The following tips will cost pennies, if anything, and are very effective in removing even the toughest stains and odors:
Tooth Stain Removal
1) Mix one part white vinegar to two parts water in a reusable 32 ounce spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle and shake well
2) Adjust the nozzle to a steady stream and squirt the stain until well-saturated on the surface (most often, we will see the stain instantly dissipating right before our eyes)
3) Working quickly to keep the solution from penetrating through to the pad and using a standard, white wash cloth, rub the stain (use some elbow grease, now)
4) Turn the cloth to a clean area as the cloth itself absorbs the stain
5) Use a microfiber cloth (found in the automotive department of most major retail centers), press down on the wet carpet to absorb residual liquid
6) Repeat steps 2 to 5, if necessary
7) Sprinkle baking soda over the damp area to increase drying time, then vacuum when dry.
One gallon (128 ounces) of Heinz White vinegar costs, on average, about $3.85. Using 8 oz of vinegar to 16 ounces of water for the 3:1 solution, one is only spending $0.24 per 32 ounces of very effective stain remover. The average cost of commercial stain remover is $4.25 per 12 ounces, and they do not work. For $0.24, one can make 2.5 times more solution – 16 (32 oz) bottles – than the commercial substandard counterpart, reducing the cost to $0.10, in comparison per bottle. Feel free to do the math, but that is a 97.5% savings!
In addition, taking into consideration that this solution actually works in comparison, one’s cost for effective stain removal becomes absolutely nothing – zilch, zero.
If we have pets, the white vinegar solution will rid the carpet of any elimination odor that would track the pet back to the same spot if not removed. White vinegar also acts as a flea deterrent and eliminator, build-up remover and coat conditioner. Using the mist setting, spray the solution directly on your pets fur after bathing. Do not rinse. Brush through the coat, and we will have one shiny gleaming, flea-free companion.
If we have a steam cleaner, we can substitute this same solution for the commercial product. For faster drying time, increased cleaning power, and effective flea control, add in 2 ounces of isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol plus 3 tablespoons of baking soda per 32 ounces of solution. The alcohol will aid in drying the carpet, and the baking soda kills any fleas, including their eggs. We can also follow the other method bellow if we want.
As soon as something is spilled, soak up the substance with a plain paper towel. Just let it absorb and refrain from rubbing since this will damage carpet fibers. Once the excess moisture is absorbed, peal off any sticky substance. Mix 1 cup warm water with a dishwashing soap or laundry detergent. We can purchase biodegradable brands if we are more comfortable using these. Blot the stain with a towel until it is gone. Do not rub. Dot the area with white vinegar.
Numerous household items can be used to pick up pesky stains. Club Soda can pick up red wine stains. By using an ice cube, we can harden gum or candle wax to make it easy to pick up. If grease gets on our carpet, sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch. Let it sit over night and vacuum in the morning. It should pull the stain out. For animal accidents, we can use a mixture of vinegar and warm water to disinfect the area.
My lifesaver has been hydrogen peroxide. Find a test area on our carpet and dab on the hydrogen peroxide and let it dry to be sure that it won’t strip our carpet of color. I have used hydrogen peroxide to clean blood, red wine spills, and spaghetti sauce. It magically makes the stain disappear. Let the hydrogen peroxide sit on the stain for a few moments and then blot with warm water.
Baking soda has long been used to get rid of odors. If we notice our carpet smells, instead of using harsh chemicals to deodorize and in turn infect pets, our children and ourself with powdery chemicals that will affect our respiratory system, sprinkle our floor with baking soda. It will absorb the odors. Open a window when we vacuum so we don’t inhale the powder as the vacuum kicks it up.
If we are only concerned about dirt in our carpet, consider steam cleaning our carpets with hot water. If we would like to add a little punch, put in a cup of white vinegar to help disinfect the area. As an alternate, we can use a mild biodegradable soap. Don’t go overboard because suds can clog our machine.
The best way to avoid having to use chemicals is to prevent carpets from getting dirty and stained. The best way to do this is remove carpets and replace them with rugs, which we can roll up and hang outside to rid them of dirt and freshen them. Some other ways of avoiding cleaning pesky stains are by insisting that people eat in the kitchen, by keeping welcome mats by all our outside doors, and by vacuuming several times a week so we don’t allow dirt and grime to get matted into our carpet.