What is a better homemade carpet cleaning solution for a steam cleaner: Vinegar, OxyClean or Simple Green?

I’ve done some research and it seems that those are the ones most recommended by people for cheap homemade cleaning solutions to use with a rental carpet cleaner (I’m going to rent a Rug Doctor). Any opinions? I’m mostly concerned with trying to get up cat hair/dander, NOT removing stains or smells. I’m allergic and the cats used to live in my new bedroom. Thanks!

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4 Responses to “What is a better homemade carpet cleaning solution for a steam cleaner: Vinegar, OxyClean or Simple Green?”

  1. saaanen says:

    Neither vinegar nor OxiClean contain any soaps or detergents, so they won’t clean much of anything, plus the vinegar will make the room STINK.. And the OxiClean may bleach the carpet.

    Your choice

  2. keith says:

    none of them. your choice

  3. miraarts says:

    People use vinegar in carpet cleaning machines because it is acidic. The acids break down the proteins left behind when an animal has an accident. Proteins are one of the things that leave a stink from pet accidents. On the other end, Oxy clean is primarily just sodium percarbonate, which is very alkaline. Alkaline substances break down oils, so are a better choice for oil based stains and spills. When sodium percarbonate is mixed with water it breaks down into peroxide (which is what gives it it’s whitening power,) and soda ash (also know as sodium carbonate or baking soda.) It won’t bleach your carpets, It’s the same ingredient found in "color safe bleach", but it won’t do what you want it to either.

    I’m thinking just using extremely hot water would be the most effective thing to do if you want to save your pennies, or if you have chemical sensitivities. I’m concerned that a home made solution might cause the machine to not work properly. If you insist on using a home made solution, I suppose I would favor the vinegar. I’m not sure if it acidic enough (about 5%) to really break down all the animal dander and saliva chemicals, but I think it would be the most likely effective treatment out of the ones you mentioned. Also, the vinegar smell will dissipate quickly, and if you don’t like the way it smells, you can add lavender and lime oils to it. They are VERY effective at masking the scent of vinegar. Any type of essential oil with high citrus notes will mask the vinegar scent. Bergamot is another good one… but it costs a fortune.

    Edit: Forgot to say, the acidity of vinegar not only breaks down proteins, it also kills bacteria which is another reason why it helps remove odors. How effective it is at killing bacteria is debatable.

  4. A. Spruce says:

    In my experience, Rug Doctor cleaning products are the most effective and economical, especially if you can purchase them from a warehouse store in larger sized containers. While you’re there, pick up a box of Oxy Clean crystals. If you have pet or other organic stains, pick up a bottle of Nature’s Miracle – and enzymatic stain remover from a pet store.

    Step one – Pretreat stains with Natures Miracle. You want to saturate the stain well, and work the area with a scrub brush or rag to work the solution into the carpet fiber. Natures Miracle will also help remove pet odors.

    Step two – Pretreat the entire area to be cleaned with a broadcast spray of Oxy-Clean solution, and work this in with either a scrub brush or by "kicking" it in with your feet. Basically, scuff your feet around the area well to work the Oxy-Clean solution into the carpet fibers.

    Step three – Using the same Oxy-Clean solution described above, mix up the carpet cleaning solution as per the label, but mix it to the light side, meaning use a bit less cleaning solution than the recommended amount. If a range of product quantity is suggested, say 1/2 cup to 1 cup, use the lesser amount because the Oxy-Clean will be making up for it.

    Step four – Following the cleaning equipment instructions, apply the solution, work it into the carpet, and extract it. Follow this immediately with a rinse cycle. The proper method is one cleaning stroke and several dry strokes to pick up the spent solution. Change to straight, clear, hot tap water and make at least two rinse strokes over the area. Allow this to dry thoroughly before continuing with further rinses. Additional rinses will be indicated by the color of the extraction liquid and whether or not it’s still pulling up excess soap/foam.

    The big thing is that you don’t want to over saturate the carpet, which will get the pad below wet. Wet pad can cause odors, mildew, and mold to occur. You can speed the drying process by running fans for increased air circulation over the floor.

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