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How to Clean Carpets with Baking Soda and Vinegar

by Abel - November 1, 2020

How To Use Baking Soda As A Natural Carpet Cleaner

If you’ve got some unsightly stains on your carpets, you’ve probably been searching for the best ways to remove them. There are tons of products on the market that are designed specifically for carpet stains, but these specialty products can be expensive. Plus, they’re often full of harsh chemicals which can ruin your carpets and harm the environment, and they aren’t even always effective against tough stains.

A more natural and inexpensive solution is to use baking soda as your carpet cleaner. Baking soda will help freshen up both appearance and smell, and it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals – so you can feel good about your own well-being, your carpets, and the environment. And, if combined with another natural cleaning agent, vinegar, it can take care of even the toughest stains out there.

Whether you should clean with just baking soda or a mixture of both will depend on what type of stain you’re dealing with.

Removing Greasy Stains with Just Baking Soda

To figure out which method you need to use, you’ll first need to determine whether you’re dealing with a greasy or non-greasy stain. A greasy stain is one which has an underlying residue of an oily or fatty nature, and it is produced by products like cooking oils and butter, machine lubricants, and even some beauty products like lotions and hair gels.

If you’re dealing with a greasy stain, you’ll need to use the following steps:

  1. Start by blotting up as much of the grease as you can, using a white paper towel or cloth rag. Never use colored towels, and never rub the stain, as this can damage your carpet and spread the grease further or transfer the colorful dye to your carpet.
  2. Once you’ve blotted up as much of the grease as possible, you should sprinkle dry baking soda over top of the stain. You should not wet this baking soda with anything because it needs to absorb as much of the grease or oil as possible, but water will not allow it to do this.
  3. Next, you’ll need to allow the baking soda to sit (don’t rush this – the longer it sits, the more grease it will absorb). It is best to wait until the next morning.
  4. Then, you’ll need to vacuum the area and inspect the stain.

Hopefully your stain will be gone, but if it isn’t you can either repeat the process as stated with just baking soda (to remain natural) or you can help it along by adding some dish soap. To do this, you should follow these steps:

  1. Blot some dish soap directly into the stain to help remove the grease.
  2. Next, take some water and some clean towels or rags to slowly soak up all of the soap. Remember: don’t rub! Just blot it up slowly.
  3. Dry the area until it is only slightly damp, then repeat the process with the baking soda as many times as needed.

Once you’ve followed this process, you should see that the stain has been removed completely and any odors should be gone as well.

Removing Non-Greasy Stains with Just Baking Soda

If you’re dealing with a non-greasy stain, you should have a slightly easier time getting it up. Non-greasy stains are caused by things like tea, soda, wine, ink, and anything else that is colorful or dark, but without any oily or fatty residue. Because there’s no underlying residue in these stains, the baking soda only has to absorb the color causing the stain.

You’ll just need to use the following steps to remove your non-greasy stain with baking soda:

  1. First, sprinkle the top of the stain with the baking soda. Make sure it is completely covered and that it isn’t too thin.
  2. Next, you’ll need to wet the baking soda with cold water (never use heat because it could make the stain more difficult to remove), but don’t use too much or you could spread the stain. Using a spray bottle to mist the area is a good tactic because you just need the baking soda to be damp.
  3. Allow the baking soda to sit overnight – again, you shouldn’t rush this process because the longer you allow it to sit, the more it will be able to absorb.
  4. Finally, you should vacuum the area and check the stain.

Completing these steps should take care of most stains, but you may find that you need to repeat the process if the stain is stubborn.

Removing Pet Odors and Smells from Carpet

If you’ve got pets, then you know that along with their usually loving and joyful personalities can come some not-so-lovable smells. These smells can come from “accidents” in the house, or they can simply accumulate in areas where your pets hang out because of repeated exposure. Pet odors can not only be embarrassing if you have company over, but they can also become unbearable for you and others living with you if they’re not addressed.

But thankfully, baking soda can do the trick for getting rid of those pet smells.

If you find that one or more of the rooms in your house has a general “pet smell” from the animals just being there frequently, you can start by simply sprinkling a thin layer of baking soda over the entire carpet and allowing it to sit for a few hours. This should give the baking soda time to absorb the odors coming from the carpets. Then, you simply vacuum it all up!

If, however, your pet smells stem from more concentrated sources such as urine, then you’ll need to either treat them as a non-greasy stain above, or take it a step farther and add some vinegar to the mixture.

How to Clean Carpets Using Both Vinegar and Baking Soda

Tried the methods above, but still looking at an unsightly stain on your carpet or still catching a whiff of something unpleasant? Then you may need to bust out the big guns: a baking soda and vinegar mixture. But before we get to the steps you’ll need to take, let’s talk about why this mixture is so powerful.

Why Use a Mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar?

As you’ve seen, baking soda is extremely absorbent. Because it absorbs both grease and odors, it is great at removing these things from a stain and deodorizing. Meanwhile, vinegar is a natural disinfectant because it is made of acetic acid. In fact, it’s so acidic that it can kill bacteria while also dissolving dirt and grease which cause stains. It can also be used as a cleaner on its own if you just need to disinfect an area (but be careful not to use it on granite countertops or wood floors, where the acid can actually harm your surface).

Now, when these two ingredients are combined, they cause a chemical reaction which results in fizzing and crackling as the acidic vinegar transfers its proton to the absorbent base of baking soda. You may recall this chemical reaction from your school science project days – remember the volcano of baking soda and vinegar?

The end result is that you get all of the disinfecting and dissolving power of vinegar, in addition to the absorbing and deodorizing powers of baking soda, combined with the fizzing reaction which moves the mixture throughout the stain and helps to give them both some extra cleaning power. So, instead of just absorbing or just disinfecting, you’re taking care of both at the same time and the stain should be completely cleaned and removed.

How to Use the Mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar

Now, to clean with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, you should adhere to the following steps in order (we don’t want a volcano science project, after all):

  1. First, make sure that you are using white vinegar. White vinegar is clear and will not leave any discoloration, which is possible with other types of vinegar.
  2. Next, you should cover the stain with the white vinegar, being sure to leave the area wet but not completely soggy.
  3. Then you’ll need to sprinkle dry baking soda over the vinegar and stain, making sure to cover every bit of it. You should start to hear fizzing and crackling, which indicates that the chemical reaction is beginning. You may even see some bubbles form and move around a little – this is a good thing.
  4. Now it’s time to wait! You’ll probably need to let it sit overnight, but the key is to wait until the vinegar has completely dried. As it dries, the smell of the vinegar should dissipate.
  5. Finally, you’ll just need to vacuum up the baking soda. If there’s more than a little left in the spot, you may want to scoop some of it up first.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a fresh and spot-free carpet. If there’s still a slight stain or smell, you can repeat as many times as needed.

Final Thoughts on Cleaning with Baking Soda and Vinegar

If you’re looking for a natural and inexpensive way to clean stains and odors from your carpets, then you can’t go wrong with baking soda or vinegar. Its natural absorbing properties make baking soda perfect removing stains and smells, and the natural disinfectant nature of vinegar means you can be sure the area is completely clean. Just remember that you need to allow the baking soda or mixture plenty of time to work its magic before you vacuum it up, and you should have a clean, fresh carpet at the end.

However, if you’re faced with an extremely large stain, or you have a stain that just won’t come out even after repeated applications of baking soda, then you may still need to hire a professional cleaning service. They’ll have specialty equipment which can get the job done more thoroughly and quickly.



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