One morning last winter our dog didn’t make it outside when he needed to “do his business.” Instead, he relieved himself on our living room carpet.
This was the cleanest room in the house. It gets relatively little traffic, so the rug looks almost new.
Our dog had been under the weather. It was also cold outside, and he knew it. So he had one of his rare “accidents” on the rug.
DIY Non Toxic Carpet Cleaner
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Years ago, we used to use a chemical cleaner whenever we spilled something on the carpet. Nowadays, we prefer a more natural approach. I was able to remove the stains easily, with vinegar, baking soda and orange essential oil.
I will admit that I had a little leftover commercial rug cleaner on hand. I did spray some on the largest stain. Then, I was sorry I did. Anyway, there was only a tiny bit left in the bottle. After a few sprays, it ran out, and I decided not to buy more.
But I still had a big mess on my hands. Our dog relieved himself in several spots.
Homemade Non Toxic Carpet Cleaner
Luckily, just three natural ingredients can tackle just about any household cleaning job. I already had them on hand, so it was easy to make my own homemade carpet cleaner. These ingredients are vinegar, baking soda and essential oils.
There are some natural pet carpet cleaners on the market. But they don’t divulge their ingredients. I figure that’s because they’re made from very simple things many of us already own. One brand contains natural enzymes, which break down the stain. I had a hunch it was powered by essential oils.
I did some research and found a recipe that was said to work well. But I had to adapt it, since it involved steeping orange peels in vinegar for a couple of weeks. (No way were we going to live with those stains for that long.) Plus, I already had some orange essential oil in the house, so I knew I didn’t have to do this.
How to Make Non Toxic Carpet Cleaner
Here is the recipe I used to deep clean our carpet. It seemed to work, as you can see from the before and after pictures below. Nearly everyone has vinegar and baking soda on hand. I had the third ingredient – orange essential oil – because I already own a collection of essential oils. (Actually, right now, I don’t know what I’d do without them.)
I took 1 cup of white vinegar and added four drops of orange essential oil. I think this was a necessary ingredient, which probably helped break down the stain. Essential oils contain natural antibacterial compounds.
Next, I soaked the stains with this mixture.
Then I covered the wet spots with baking soda.
This mixture stayed in place for several days, until it was dry.
If you’ve never used this mixture on your carpet, it’s a good idea to do a 24-hour test patch. This would mean applying a little bit in an inconspicuous spot. If it doesn’t hurt the color, then it’s likely safe to use. I didn’t do this. But you may want to.
Non Toxic Carpet Cleaner DIY
Using a homemade non-toxic carpet cleaner meant giving up some convenience. This meant waiting several days until the stain dried, until I could remove most of it with disposable plastic bags. Then I vacuumed the area. However, some dried baking soda mixture remained. So I had to dissolve it with a fresh application of vinegar.
Cleaning the rug naturally does take more effort, compared to spraying it with chemicals. But it did work. The big advantage was being able to avoid potentially toxic chemicals. If you don’t own sweet orange oil, Plant Therapy is one of the brands I recommend on this site, because its oils are tested twice for purity and potency. Orange oil is extremely versatile, and can be used for mood-elevating massage as well as for household projects.
Carpet Cleaner Health Hazards
The commercial rug cleaner we had in our house was potentially dangerous, according to the Environmental Working Group. It scored a “D” instead of an “A” because of several ingredients. These included fragrance, which could be linked to allergies and nervous system problems, noted the EWG. Also, the chemical concoction I used had a chemical called diethylene glycol propyl ether. The EWG site stated there was “Some Concern” this is carcinogenic, as well as possibly causing endocrine problems and “nervous system effects.”
This product was also made with methylchloroisothiaziolinone, which, according to the EWG, could potentially cause DNA damage.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.