This homemade carpet cleaner solution cleans carpet stains left from food, accidents, pets, and life’s little messes. And with a cost of $1 per gallon to make, this secret formula is gonna save you a TON of money!
This is the original homemade carpet cleaning solution recipe – all others out there are just simple copycats.
This formula was created by my amazing sister – who tried & tested out many different products on her carpets and came up with this recipe. She’s the best.
This one is guaranteed to become your favorite and you’ll make this diy carpet cleaner recipe over and over again, year after year like I do.
Watch My Video: How To Make Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solution
But Does It Really Work?
I have four messy kids and a big dog. My carpets are downright gross much of the time. I am also one of the worlds biggest cheapskates and hate having to rent one of those Rug Doctor machines for shampooing AND pay $20 or more for carpet cleaning solution.
But I’m telling you, this carpet cleaner solution diy recipe is tough on stains. And when I say tough…I mean crazy TOUGH on stains! This stuff is even stronger than those store-bought expensive ones.
Its cleans clean carpet stains left from food, spills, pets, and life’s little accidents. And yes, it will get rid of pet odors too, and leave your house smelling amazingly awesome. It’s a Rug Doctor copycat recipe, only better.
Here is a dark stain that was in my son’s room. Now you see the spot.
Then you don’t. Boom!
Best ever homemade carpet stain remover.
I love the way this cleaner works. And when you add in that teeny bit of Downy fabric softener it leaves your carpets sooo soft too.
How Much Does This Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution Cost To Make?
It’s ridiculous how much money the store-bought carpet cleaning solutions cost. I mean, $20-$30 per bottle of concentrate? And sometimes you need several of those bottles if you’re shampooing your whole house. It’s too much.
This ultra concentrated carpet cleaning diy solution with Oxiclean (or Dollar Store knock-off), liquid Tide laundry detergent, LA’s Totally Awesome cleaner, and Downy fabric softener only costs $1 per gallon to make vs $20 for 1/2 gallon of Rug Doctor solution.
You will save so much money using this DIY carpet shampoo recipe instead. Plus these ingredients can easily be found at your local Dollar Stores.
For my homemade carpet shampoo recipe I spent:
$0.97 for the Tide packet (of which I used maybe 1/2 of, so $.50)
$3.97 for the Downy (of which I used $0.15 worth)
$1.00 for the Awesome cleaner (of which I used $0.15 if that)
$1.00 for the Oxiclean cleaner (of which I used .20 if that)
==> Grand total $1.00 for a GALLON of concentrated mix solution for carpet cleaning machines.
The Rug Doctor concentrated formula runs around $19.59 for a 1/2 gallon.
Yeah, that is some serious SAVINGS folks!!! Wow.
It’s Super Concentrated
This diy carpet shampoo recipe makes a CONCENTRATED MIX just like the fancy $20 Bissell solution where you only add in like 1/4 cup of the solution to a gallon of water.
You will mix together your ingredients and add them to a gallon of hot water. THIS becomes the concentrated solution.
Even though it seems like a small amount of ingredients, a little goes a long way. So add in only a little bit of this solution each time you add water to your carpet cleaning machine. Or better yet just follow the instructions per your machine. I’ve used this carpet cleaner solution for my Bissell machine with no problems.
OTHER GREAT DIY CLEANING RECIPES
- All Natural Carpet Cleaning Solution Using Vinegar
- DIY Carpet Cleaner Powder Dry Shampoo
- Homemade Armor All Car Cleaning Spray
- DIY Liquid Hand Soap recipe
- Make Your Own Swiffer Wet Pads
- Homemade Laundry Detergent
SUBSTITUTIONS & FAQ
WILL THIS SOLUTION WORK ON ANY CARPET CLEANER MACHINES?
I’ve personally used this recipe with Rug Doctor rental machines, my SpotBot hand held machine, and with my upright Bissell carpet cleaner machine. Never had any issues. And I’ve had my machine for over 6 years, with no problems. It really is the best carpet cleaning solution for machines of all types.
That being said I suggest you read your instruction booklet that comes with your carpet cleaning machine for warranty information. Some machines warranties are no longer valid if you don’t use a certain type of cleaner with the product.
WILL THIS WORK ON UPHOLESTRY? RUGS? IN MY CAR?
I have used this solution on my carpets, rugs, in the interior of my cars and even on couches. It works great and gets out the stains, which makes this mama very very happy. It’s powerful enough to remove stains yet gentle on fabrics.
AND of course, always test a small area of carpet or fabric for colorfastness before you do the whole project.
CARPET CLEANING SOLUTION SUBSTITUTIONS
I get a lot of questions about substitutions for this recipe. Especially for the LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner, which some people can’t find or is not available in their stores.
But before I go any further, I will say that this homemade carpet cleaner solution recipe is the BEST and most perfect way to make it. If you sub other ingredients I can’t for sure say your solution would work as well or remove stains as well.
- Liquid Tide Laundry Detergent – You can substitute the liquid inside of the Tide pods, just poke a hole in it and measure the 2 tbsp. You can also substitute other liquid laundry detergents if desired.
- LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner – this USA made product is so amazing and can usually be found at dollar stores. I haven’t tested it myself yet, however the Mean Green cleaner might be a good substitute.
- Oxiclean – substitute the generic dollar store brand for the more expensive name brand.
- Downy Liquid Fabric Softener – You can use any fabric softener you prefer as a substitute.
Now if you need to have an all-natural homemade carpet cleaner for shampooer recipe that is non-toxic, organic, scent-free or dye-free I have another recipe using vinegar to clean carpets. It’s not quite as tough on stains, but is a great alternative.
DOES DIY CARPET CLEANING SOLUTION EXPIRE?
If I have any solution leftover after shampooing, I just add it to an empty gallon container, label it and store with my other cleaners.
Store it in a cool and dry place and it will stay good for 6 months or longer.
WILL THIS WORK ON PET URINE & ODORS?
Yes, this recipe is the best carpet cleaning solution for pets! It’s worked it magic on my pet odors from urine, pet stains and years of accidents. You may need to shampoo it a few times depending on how bad it is, but it’s worked amazingly well on all my pet accidents.
HOW DO I USE THIS TO PRE-TREAT STAINS?
I like to pre-treat my stains by using a 50-50 mix of the concentrated solution and water. You can add it to a spray bottle or just use your fingers to dab a bit of it on the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes then shampoo over it. Repeat if necessary.
FINAL CARPET RINSE OR NO?
After shampooing your carpets with this homemade carpet cleaner solution should you then do a pass over your carpets with water only?
This is a personal preference as most die-hard carpet cleaners out there say that if any cleaning product is left on our carpets, it will attract more dirt and you’ll end up with dirty carpets. So if you’d like to take that extra step, feel free.
I personally like the smell and softness the downy fabric softener leaves behind and my carpets haven’t had stains come back in the same places. The solution is so diluted down that I’m not worried about it. So I don’t do the extra rinse personally myself.
But it’s totally up to you to do what you feel is best here.
Disclaimer: make sure and read your instruction booklet that comes with your carpet cleaning machine for warranty information. Some machines warranties are no longer valid if you don’t use a certain type of cleaner with the product. AND of course, always test a small area of carpet for colorfastness before you do the whole floor.
Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solution
- 2 Tbsp liquid Tide laundry detergent
- 1/4 cup LA's Totally Awesome cleaner
- 1 scoop Oxiclean (3 tbsp)
- 1 teaspoon Downy fabric softener optional
- 1 gallon hot water
MAKING THE SOLUTION
- In a small bowl, combine the liquid Tide, Awesome cleaner, Oxiclean and Downy if using. Stir together with spoon until well combined.
- Add mixture to a gallon of hot water, stirring gently so you don't make bubbles. Stir slowly and gently until all Oxiclean particles are completely dissolved.
- Use immediately in your carpet cleaner machines or pour into a gallon-sized container with a lid. Label outside of container: Concentrated Carpet Cleaner.
HOW TO USE SOLUTION
- Before you begin carpet shampooing, make sure that your carpet has been thoroughly vacuumed.
- It's a good idea to test this homemade carpet cleaner on a less visible area of flooring to make sure it's safe for your carpet and wait at least 24 hours for the test spot to dry to see the results.
- Read the directions that came with your carpet cleaning machine for how much cleaner to add as some reservoirs are smaller than others. For typical carpet shampoo machines, fill your reservoir with hot water. Then pour 1/4 cup of this concentrated solution into your water filled reservoir. (**The ratio I use is about a gallon of hot water to 1/4 cup of this concentrated cleaning solution.)
- Then you can run the machine over your entire carpet, making sure to show special attention to stains or spots. Wait least 24 hours for the carpet to dry and you're done!
Add leftover concentrated solution it to an empty gallon container, label it and store it in a cool and dry place. It will stay good for 6 months or possibly even longer. PRE-TREATING STAINS
Make a stain pre-treat mixture by using a 50-50 mix of the concentrated solution and water. You can add it to a spray bottle or just use your fingers to dab a bit of it on the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes then shampoo over it. Repeat if necessary. FINAL CARPET RINSE NEEDED?
This is a personal preference as most die-hard carpet cleaners out there say that if any cleaning product is left on our carpets, it will attract more dirt and you’ll end up with dirty carpets. So if you’d like to take that extra step, feel free. I personally like the smell and softness the downy fabric softener leaves behind and my carpets haven’t had stains come back in the same places. The solution is so diluted down that I’m not worried about it. So I don’t do the extra rinse personally myself. But it’s totally up to you to do what you feel is best here. Disclaimer: make sure and read your instruction booklet that comes with your carpet cleaning machine for warranty information. Some machines warranties are no longer valid if you don’t use a certain type of cleaner with the product. AND of course, always test a small area of carpet for colorfastness before you do the whole floor.
Happy cleaning everyone! And happy saving money too.
Comments & Reviews
This solution is amazing! I use gain detergent and softener because that’s what I have but it works so great! It got my daughter’s feces, and vomit out of a light gray carpet, it was a rough couple days 😔. But this took all those gross stains right out!!! Will never buy store bought again, thank you!
This recipe for carpet machine cleaner is the bomb!
My son and grands live with me – lotsa ‘accidents’ with food, I don’t know just everything.
The only thing that would not come out was the Gatorade red juice stains. Everything else? Gone!
I love it – thought I used a higher ratio of cleaning solution versus what is stated in the recipe.
I also rinsed – just to get more dirt/stains out. I let the cleaning solution sit for about an hour and used the hottest water I could to removed as much dirt as I could.
Def a keeper.
PS – anyone know how to remove red juice stains?
Oxiclean alone in water should do it. They claim it works to remove red. But I also have used Awesome alone. It’s very soapy so make sure you use only a small amount and then blot and rinse the small area multiple times or this will attract dirt later. I love Awesome and get it at the $ store.
What is LA’s awesome cleaner?? Is there something I can use as a substitute?
LA’s awesome cleaner is so amazing and can usually be found at dollar stores which I love! I haven’t tested it myself yet but the Mean Green cleaner might be a good substitute.
I will never buy carpet cleaning solutions again! This is literally the best! True to the article!
Mike Ballard says
Ima gonna try it
Seriously going to give this carpet cleaner a try! Thanks for the help!
you just saved my 5 doller
Mary Lynn Lethcoe says
We are in process of building a house and will use large rugs we already have. My question is, how do you keep your wood floors from getting wet with the solution? Thank you!
I put old towels under my area rugs to keep my wood floors dry.
It worked for me!
I am super anal about my carpets, and shampoo them about once a month. I found this recipe about a year ago, and I’m about to make my third gallon. I absolutely love it. And I love that you use the off brands. I just got gain fabric softener and liquid detergent cause I love the smell, and I can’t wait to clean my floors! Thank you!
I had to leave a comment and say that over the past month I have spent well over $100 in different carpet cleaning enzyme sprays to try and remove the smell from my dog marking in my living room after bringing my newest baby home. I costed out cutting out and patching in that section of the carpet and replacing the carpet entirely! But as one last desperate effort I found your blog and recipe and cleaned my whole carpet with the solution and spot treated the marked up area. I am stunned!! The urine smell is gone! My husband hugged me thanking me for saving us so much money and a whole weekend tearing up the carpet!! You saved the day! Thank you for this awesome recipe!
This made my day! Thank you so much!
I never knew homemade carpet cleaning could be this convenient. This definitely deserves a try for my next carpet cleaning appointment. Thanks for sharing!!
Ashtyn Louis says
This worked AMAZING. I usually get my carpet professionally cleaned annually and this did just as good! Thanks for sharing!
This formula works so well! We had a litter of puppies in our spare room, and you can’t even tell!
Elisia H says
I should give this a shot for my home’s next carpet cleaning project. Thanks!
Works great! Thanks a lot!
What do you use to keep the foam down? I have used this recipe for a couple of years now (I personally use the liquid Oxi found in laundry aisle)
Sharon P says
Thank you for sharing this! My elderly dog had cancer and was having serious bowel issues. You can imagine how gross our carpets were. I rented a carpet shampooer from the local grocery store. I was really tempted to buy 2 bottles of the “safe for kids and pets carpet cleaning product” that was being sold for $20 a bottle, but after reading your reviews, I decided to give your recipe a try. Boy, am I glad I did. Not only is my carpet clean, but it also feels soft and looks like new. I made a few modifications to your recipe. I didn’t have Tide so I used Costco’s Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent. I also didn’t have the LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner, so I doubled up on the Oxiclean. I didn’t use the Downy Liquid Fabric Softener at all. I prefer using all-natural, non-toxic cleaning products due to my allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities. To add a natural scent, I used a citrus essential oil blend by Nectar Essences. I think it’s called Good Mood. I also had some Life miracle Enzyme Concentrate on hand, so I added 1 tablespoon of that to help with pet odors. Thanks again for saving me $40 dollars!
This an interesting idea! Thank you for helping me out with my carpet cleaning!
Brandon sablan says
My plan was to go out today to buy another $22 bottle of the 4x concentrate heavy duty bissell cleaner. I had the bottle in my cart when i just thought to myself lets see if theres another way to get the stains out the carpet for cheaper. I used pinterest and it brought your recipe up and omg im so grateful for you and your post. I mixed the ingredients together and made a gallon of concentrate, most of the ingrediants i might add i was able to find easily at the dollar tree store except the la’s awesome cleaner. Dollar tree had so many different la’s awesome cleaner but not specifically the one you shown on your youtube video, i had to go to lowes to by a big jug of it. But anyways this thing worked so well, was able to do the whole house with one batch with a little left over. I do have a question tho, has anyone been able to use more of the downy then it is specified for a more stronger clean fresh smell? Or any other additives for fresher scent? Other than that i hands down recommended it to my friends in a group chat with your link attached
Thanks so much! I am so glad it worked for you!
Have you ever thought about getting a patent for this and maybe selling it to the public? or you could even contact the makers Tide, Oxiclean, or even Downy and recommend a partnership in making and marketing this fabulous recipe, thank you for saving me money and the great cleaning recipe , have a blessed day!!!
You are sweet! So glad you like it!
I put a full cap of Downy straight into my carpet cleaner tank every time. It makes the whole house smell amazing. I also spray straight awesome on any stains before I start. Just completed all of my furniture yesterday and doing my carpets today.
Could you add. Odoban concentrate, it is great
Irene N. says
I should have paid more attention to your instructions. I used the entire gallon in the tank. I will be rinsing for sure.