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
Victoria C says
Thank you so much. This was a game changer for my carpet cleaning machine.
Can this be used by just using a scrub brush or does it need a vacuum cleaner machine?
Yes you can use it however you want to use it. It’s a great spot cleaner.
Thank you so much. Really appreciate your recipe.
I’m happy with the results! Used it in my Bissell Crosswave because I didn’t want to drag the Rug Dr. around. I think the solution works really well! I did tweak it just a tad to utilize what I had on-hand. I used the Arm&Hammer Free&Clear instead of Tide and I doubled the amount because I know that type of detergent isn’t concentrated. Then I used the deodorizing OxyClean powder because we recently got a new puppy and she’s still being potty-trained. I dissolved the OxyClean in very hot water by itself before adding to the other ingredients. I think this is great! Thank you for a cheap recipe that works well!
I tried this because my teens insisted on a shampoo (instead of just water). I wasn’t about to pay $30 for the bissell stuff. I tried this out of desperation and was shocked at how well it works. We just bought the filthiest car I have ever seen (the price was right) and I wasn’t going to ride in it until we got it cleaned out. Couldn’t be happier with the results!
Tammi Meese says
I just bought a Hoover for pet messes, I hope I can use this recipe in it!
I cannot wait to try it!
I livd in Guam so we don’t have LA cleaner. Instead I substituted with the next best thing, in my opinion, Simple Green concentrate. Doing DIY mechanical work, Simple Grean is a great degreaser. My dog dragged his @$$ across my white area rug. This mixture ripped those dingleberries right outta the carpet. Good stuff. That bissell carpet cleaner is a ripoff.
patricia olczak says
I have one of those new Hoover machines that have wash/rinse so I’m going to make this solution today and wash my carpets (after I go to the dollar store to get the ingredients) I’ll be back tomorrow to post my results..Sounds aweseome..and it sure will save me money as I have quite a bit to shampoo plus my garage has carpeting.. Woo hoo can’t wait !!!
Henna peter says
The only issue I have to face during cleaning my home is carpet cleaning. AGH it’s too hard to clean but thank to you. You made it look like so easy. I would definitely try this next time I will clean carpets.
C. Trae Zauner-Rogers says
My husband has been using the Awesome powder for years for the carpet cleaning but he always uses the orange canister. Instead of this solution mentioned above he uses orange anti-bacterial dish soap, Awesome orange powder, and Awesome stain remover.
This Awesome orange powder does wonders for the carpet. I just love it. Amazing and it’s cleans better than a professional doing it and also safer with me with all my allergies and asthma.
If I could, and I had millions of dollars, I would invest in Awesome orange powder company. It’s that good. 👍👍👍👍👍
Sara Hébert says
I used this on some laundry room small carpets—door from garage thru laundry room into back of house, will be dry tomorrow…never got the oxiclean to dissolve but that’s OK, but I will use about 1/2 next time…my machine shoves it into the carpet & then another button pulls all the liquid into another bin….I always empty and then rinse the solution bin & put hot water in it & do a rinse & suck it up again—huge difference—yiu can see how dirty the rinse water is….I may do a second rinse tomorrow…I used the orange awesome cleaner but bought both …so far so good👍🏼 I will say that we had an ice storm so there was kitty litter on the bottom of the boots…had to take the front door rug to a professional…my shoulders can only do so much
Haven’t made this yet, but I am so glad for this recipe and have read all the reviews and I will definitely use. I have 7 cats and two grown boys and cannot keep my carpets clean so I pay alot of money on expensive carpet solution ….. Thank you
Just wanted to comment on using this in a Bissell Crosswave. Worked great!
The day that my pup jumped into my lap, spilling 1/4 of coffee all over my five year old area rug–still in pretty good shape, but nonetheless, subject to cats, dogs, and gardeners in the muddy Pacific NW. Filled about 75% of the way to the fill line, then finished with extremely hot water. When I was finished, my rug looked more or less new, no joke.
I really didn’t want soap residue in the rug–concerned about it attracting/retaining dirt–so after about two hours I went over it with just very hot water. I was disappointed because at first, it looked a little dingy. It must’ve been the mud that had still been in the rug coming out.
But after re-evaluation the following day, I think it looks better than ever. I’m planning to do this seasonally, if not more often. Thanks so much for this!
Thanks for this recipe! My pup just jumped on me–and my coffee–and whoosh. 🙁
I decided it’s time to test this out. Haven’t done yet, but I realized that since I only have one 5×7′ rug in my apartment, I don’t have the need for a full gallon.
So, for those like me who can’t use a whole gallon in six months, I divided it into simple measurements for a third of the quantity:
2 tsp liquid Tide
4 tsp LA Totally Awesome
1 tbsp Oxiclean
1/3 tsp fabric softener
5 1/2 c. hot water
BTW, so happy to see that LA Totally Awesome getting its due. Bought it at the dollar store ages ago when I was moving out of an apartment and I SWEAR that that $1 investment got me my entire deposit back. That stuff is magic!
Going to use this in my Bissell Crosswave. Will update with a rating and any comments about use therein if needed.
Great comments! Thanks for sharing!
How do you use it with a shampooer that has a side for solution and clean water?
As the ingredients will be added to hot water, can I use powder laundry detergent in place of liquid?
holy moly the best carpet shampoo ever
I REALLY wanted this to work! I was skeptical, but I mixed it up and went to work. My carpet was pretty dirty but it seemed to be a good start. I knew I needed something stronger, so I did the math…
For every gallon of solution that you use in your machine, you’re using the following cleaning agents:
.140625 OF A TEASPOON of OxiClean (a TINY bit more than 1/8 tsp)
.1875 OF A TEASPOON of Totally Awesome (3/16 of a tsp)
.09375 OF A TEASPOON of Tide (3/32 of a tsp)
.015625 OF A TEASPOON of Downy (1/64 tsp)
You’re mixing that with a GALLON of water! There’s simply not enough cleaning agents in that solution to do any kind of cleaning. You’re effectively cleaning with water! That would explain why you don’t have to rinse it out!
I’m sorry! Like I said, I REALLY wanted this to work!
Kitty Rivendell says
What are you talking about as it pertains to the measurements? Her Instructions to making the solution are much more than what you posted. Did you print out the correct instructions. I just didn’t see where you got your measurements from. I have cream carpet and the measurements from this site works perfectly with the rug doctor machine. I used them in the 1 gallon reservoir. I hope this helps. Try these measurements. I’d love to see what you think:)
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
Hi kitty! If you read the post, Karrie pre mixes her solution and then only uses 1/4 cup of her solution for every gallon of water.
I didn’t realize that when I first read it and used the entire mix per gallon of water….oops! Needless to say, my carpets are super clean but I did need to rinse. =]
I also added 1/4 cup of oxi- clean white revive
She is talking about making the solution by mixing the ingredients with a gallon of water. Then adding a very small amount of the recipe solution to about a gallon of water in the machine. So she is correct in her math. You aren’t supposed to use the recipe solution straight in the machine. A somewhat diluted solution is added to another gallon, which further dilutes the cleaner.
For those working in metric. Assuming that a gallon is 3.78541178 litres, the below conversion will make a 5 litre batch. I have also give the rate of millilitres per litre if you are making a different size batch (I use a 5 litre jug for storage)
Ingredient Mls per litre US total 5L
Liquid laundry detergent 7.8125 39.0625
Chemical cleaner 15.625 78.125
Oxiclean 11.71875 58.59375
fabric softener 1.302083333 6.510416667
hot water to fill to fill
Can I use it for hardwood floor?
No please dont! lol
You could just remove the la awesome… That stuff will strip varnish. But I have used the powder version with a similar mix on my vynals just fine in my mop bucket.