When you spill something on the carpet, whether it's chocolate or soda, the key to cleaning it up without leaving a stain is to act quickly. If you have to run around the house looking for your all of your cleaning supplies, by the time you get back to the spill, the stain has probably already set in. Assembling your own green carpet cleaning kit is a great way to ensure that everything you need to clean up a spill is handy and accessible. It also saves you the time of having to prepare a green cleaning solution on-the-spot.
The Homemade Cleaning Products
You really only need two homemade cleaning solutions to tackle any sort of spill on your carpet. One is a vinegar-based solution that's great for removing smelly spills, such as pet urine and milk. The other is a dish soap-based solution that's ideal for greasy and dark-colored spills, such as chocolate, butter, and peanut butter. Follow these directions to make each of these solutions:
In a spray bottle, combine:
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup water
Shake the solution gently, and make sure the lid is screwed on tightly, so it does not leak.
Dish Soap Spray
Add these three ingredients to the spray bottle, in order:
- 2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon concentrated dish soap
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
Do not shake the bottle. Instead, gently tip back and forth to combine the ingredients without creating too much foam. The baking soda gives this mixture a touch of deodorizing power, and it also makes it more effective at removing acidic spills, such as spaghetti sauce and wine, since the baking soda is alkaline and will neutralize the acids.
In addition to the two cleaning sprays above, you'll need a variety of tools in your kit, including:
Paper towels: Go as green as possible by choosing ones made from recycled paper. These are also generally free of dyes, which means you won't accidentally leave color behind on the carpet.
A scrub brush: This is useful for removing tough, ground-in material like peanut butter or chocolate. Choose one with as stiff of bristles as you can find.
Note cards: Sturdy note cards or pieces of cardboard are useful for scooping up large spills. You can place a card on either side of the spill, and push them together to gather the liquid material without making the spill bigger.
A bucket: You can keep your cleaning supplies in the bucket. When you have a spill you can dump them out of the bucket, and then temporarily stash your dirty paper towels in the bucket while you clean up the spill.
Some Tips for Using Your Kit
Depending on the type of spill, you may want to use your vinegar solution, the dish soap solution, or both. Use these tips to determine which is the best choice:
- If the spill is greasy, use the dish soap solution first to remove the grease. Follow this up with the vinegar solution if you are worried about odors.
- For clear, liquid spills where smell is the major concern, just use the vinegar solution.
- For dark-colored, but not necessarily smelly spills, such as wine or grape juice, use just the dish soap solution.
Whenever you clean up a spill, always start by removing as much of the spilled material as possible, and then apply your cleaning solution. Aim to blot, rather than wipe the stain, as this will help keep it from spreading.
With your handy, green cleaning kit on hand, you should have no reason to worry if your child spills milk on the carpet, or if you accidentally dump your glass of wine. By acting quickly, you can blot out the stain before it has a chance to set in.
If you have stains that are already set, call in professionals like Southwest Chem-Dry for assistance.