If you've ever rented a carpet shampooer and priced the cleaning solutions that you are supposed to use in them you know that they can be super expensive.
The good news is that there are numerous recipes for homemade carpet shampoo that can save you a bundle, don't have harsh chemicals and can even do a better job of cleaning your carpet than commercial cleaners.
Always remember to test for color fastness before cleaning and make sure you have adequate ventilation. Here is one of the best options you can try:
Vinegar and water as a carpet cleaner has been used by many people for years and works exceptionally well. The acid from the vinegar dissolves most stains and at the same time removes odors so you get a clean, odor free carpet.
To use, just mix equal parts of vinegar and HOT water then use in the machine just as you would any normal carpet cleaning solution. If you have greasy stains on the carpet you may want to add a little bit of dish detergent to the mix as well to help cut the grease.
When it comes to soap, less is more since most types of soap will leave behind residue. The leftover soap residue then acts like a magnet and attracts more dirt. If you've ever made the mistake of blotting up a spill with soap and water you know what I am talking about. Within a few weeks the area that you blotted has attracted all kinds of dirt and looks worse than the original stain. With that in mind, just a tiny bit of dish washing detergent mixed in with the vinegar and water will be plenty.
Some people recommend using ammonia in your carpet cleaner, however, I would advise against this...especially if you have pets. Ammonia can confuse animals and cause them to start urinating on the carpet. Not only that, but the fumes from ammonia are very harsh and can cause fainting along with other health problems. Also, don't mix ammonia and vinegar since they will just cancel each other out, making them both ineffective as cleaners.