How to Clean Carpet with Vinegar and Nothing Else

cleaning with vinegar

You have probably heard whispers about people using vinegar to clean carpets. Maybe you grew up in a household that ​loved vinegar and all it’s uses. No matter what you know about vinegar, there is always more to learn when it comes to cleaning carpet with vinegar.

Facts about Vinegar

Vinegar can be used in so many different ways. You can cook with it, toss it in your laundry to keep colors bright and clean various surfaces. When it comes to cleaning carpets, vinegar has the ability remove stains, kill bacteria and refresh your carpet.

Vacuuming picks up debris, but what can you use to disinefect and sterilize? Vinegar is a fantastic option.

Vinegar has become a must have cleaning product due to it’s ability to clean multiple surfaces and because it is inexpensive. You can usually purchase a store brand gallon sized jug for roughly three dollars.

It became a cleaning sensation sixty years ago when people had trouble when cleaning soaps had a left over alkaline residue. Vinegar was added to the rinsing water and a new cleaning agent was born.

cleaning with vinegar

Vinegar is also good for killing bacteria. It is not listed as a disinfectant due to the fact that it only kills about 90% of bacteria and not the required 99%. To use it as a disinfectant you would use straight vinegar.

Diluting it with water makes it less effective. Also when you mix vinegar with baking soda then it loses it’s ability to disinfect. If you add baking soda while cleaning then you will need to blot the area with clean water after and then reapply only vinegar for disinfecting.

While it is safe for multiple surfaces, vinegar can be very harmful to certain surfaces. It can damage almost all stone surfaces including marble, limestone and travertine. Even a small amount in short contact can begin to etch away at these calcium-based surfaces

Vinegar Cleaning Mixes

Because of it’s high acidity properties, vinegar can break through stains and bacteria. The high amount of acidity can be bad for various surfaces, so when you go to clean with vinegar you will want to begin by mixing it half and half with water.

Water plus vinegar is a complementing combination. The water hydrates the area while the vinegar goes to work devouring the stain. While these two ingredients work well together, sometimes you will need or want to add on for more stain fighting power.

Related: Tips for Vacuuming Heavily Trafficked Areas

Add a few drops of Dawn to the water and vinegar mix to create a foaming carpet cleaner. The added Dawn dish detergent works as a degreaser and additional stain fighting cleaning agent.

While you should not scrub your carpets with a brush, due to potentially damaging the fibers. You can use a gloved hand to gentle massage carpets with this cleaner. This will help the cleaner foam up on your carpet to boost it’s stain fighting potential.

baking soda vinegar clean carpet

Another popular mixture for vinegar is to use baking soda. The best way to use this mixture to clean carpet with vinegar is to sprinkle the baking soda on the stain first. Then you spray the baking soda with a vinegar and water mixture.

Since the baking soda is on the bottom, it can sink into the carpet fibers some. When the vinegar is sprayed on, it will begin to foam up. This reaction is great for attacking and clearing stains as well as lifting dirt and debris from carpet.

The addition of baking soda will also help neutralize odors. Just remember if you are cleaning something that needs to be disinfected then you will need to respray it with vinegar or use a different disinfectant such as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

If the smell of vinegar is unpleasant to you then you can add essential oils to the mixture. A few drops of your favorite oil will brighten your carpets and cut the sour vinegar smell.

How to Clean Carpets with Vinegar

When you have chosen the right mixture for your stain, then you are ready to clean carpet with vinegar. For spot cleaning you will want to spray the stain with the vinegar solution. If you added foaming ingredients then go ahead and rub it into the carpet.

Again avoid using a harsh scrub brush. This can break apart your carpet fibers and make your carpet look ragged. Rubbing a stain can also cause it to spread.

Related: Clean Your Carpets without Vacuuming

  1. Spray the solution onto your carpet and rub in if necessary.
  2. Let the solution sit for fifteen to twenty minutes. Then take a clean rag and dip it into a bowl of water. Squeeze the rag until it is damp and use it to blot up the vinegar solution.
  3. Once it has been blotted, then stain should be clear or have improved. You may need to repeat the cleaning process for stubborn stains. Before you repeat, finish by using a paper towel to blot up the excess liquid on your carpet.
  4. You will want to dry the carpet as much as you can. A very wet carpet won’t dry properly and can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
  5. If you are using a steam cleaner, then you can simply add the vinegar mixture into the cleaner and go. It is not recommend to use baking soda in steam machines since it can clog the tubes. A simple water, vinegar and Dawn mixture will go through the machine with no trouble.

You can always follow up this process by running a powerful vacuum cleaner over the affected area.

Apple Cider Vinegar

When you are learning how to clean carpet with vinegar then most advice will point you to white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. This is mainly because white vinegar is not as expensive as the apple cider vinegar.

However, apple cider vinegar is just as effective at powering through tough stains as white vinegar is. Apple cider vinegar also has less of an astringent smell than white vinegar.

Mix apple cider vinegar half and half with water just as you would with white vinegar to cut down the high acidity levels. You can use apple cider vinegar on any color carpet without cause for worry of damage or additional staining.

It should be noted that, while we are discussing cleaning carpets, apple cider vinegar is not a great option for cleaning areas where there is food. This is because the pleasant smell can attract bugs.

Add Vinegar to your Household Cleaning Routine

Vinegar is not the universal answer to cleaning all types of grime, but it is flexible and able to clean multiple stains and surfaces. This is a great natural cleaning solution that is safe for pets and kids to be around.

About the Author Lauren Moldvay

Lauren Moldvay is a freelance writer from Virginia and the mother of one (not always) sweet little girl. She specializes in trying to help others find easier ways to clean, manage the home and save money with DIY projects.

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