Cleaning the carpets is one of those those housekeeping tasks that I tend to put off, and put off, and put off some more. I always address spills or stains right away, but the regular maintenance cleaning is where I struggle. I guess when I think about cleaning carpets, I still envision calling up a company with a big truck-mounted cleaning system to come do it for me. But traditional carpet cleaning services like that are far from the only option these days!
Even just a decade ago, the idea of owning a carpet cleaning machine seemed pretty far-fetched. But over the past few years, the market for home carpet cleaning machines has grown significantly. Today there are tons of home carpet cleaning machines to choose from, in price ranges that are actually pretty reasonable. (On top of that, I see sales and deals on them fairly regularly. I recently saw an Amazon “Lightning Deal” on a popular carpet cleaning machine for only $129.)
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And even if you’re not looking to buy a machine, there’s always the option to rent one. A carpet cleaner rental place is probably just a stone’s throw away from your house. Some of the stores I’ve seen with rental services are Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, PetSmart, U-Haul, and even grocery stores. Rental rates generally fall between $20 and $30 per day, which is pretty reasonable if you ask me.
Whether you rent a machine or decide to invest in purchasing one, you have some options when it comes to what carpet cleaning solution you’ll use. Most manufacturers have recommendations for products to use with their machines, but these detergents can cost as much as the rental of the machine itself! But the good news is that you can make your own solution for pennies, you’ll be amazed at just how effectively it works.
A Note from the Author: Yes, the rental carpet cleaning machines clearly state that you should use only their recommended detergent in the machines. If you use your own cleaning solution and the machine breaks or fails, you will be responsible for covering the cost of repairing or replacing the machine. I personally felt fine about using this solution in a rental machine. It worked perfectly and we had no issues. So use your best judgment and do what works for you!
Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution
Before you begin cleaning, make sure that your carpet has been thoroughly vacuumed.
Start by sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda all over the carpet in the area you’ll be cleaning. (I like to use a special mason jar lid that has a shaker top. It makes it a lot easier to spread the baking soda evenly as opposed to shaking it out of the box.)
Next, mix up a solution of equal parts warm water and vinegar. Add 5-6 drops of lemon essential oil to your solution, and stir to combine. Pour the vinegar and water solution into the tank of your carpet cleaner.
As you pass the cleaning machine over your carpets, the vinegar and baking soda will react and help scrub your carpets clean. And of course, the lemon essential oil will leave things smelling fresh and clean!
We decided to test this method out on the carpet in one of the upstairs rooms of our studio. The carpets didn’t look that dirty to begin with, but we wanted to get photos for this post so we decided to go for it anyway.
Once we got the machine going, we were all shocked at how dirty the water was that was getting pulled out of the carpet! It just goes to show that cleaning your carpets is a job that should be done regularly – whether you think you need to or not!