START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

We Tested It: Vinegar As A Carpet Cleaner

We Tested It: Vinegar As A Carpet Cleaner

Sometimes, when it rains, my pooch decides that his precious paws are simply too delicate to become sullied with that icky mud, and he’d rather just not go outside to do his business. Yes, the corner of the living room will suffice, thank you very much.

I hate when it rains.

A while ago, I used this awesome carpet cleaner I’d buy in a vat from Costco. It smelled like mustard gas, like a chemical weapon, which I guess it basically was. It worked weapons-grade magic against my stains and I was a happy, albeit fume-y, camper.

But that was ages ago, and in the years since then I’ve been on a steady march towards totally natural, totally homemade cleaning products. I mean really, is there anything that baking soda and vinegar can’t do? So far, I haven’t found it.

What I have found, however, is that when it comes to “green” cleaning, sometimes the technique is just as important as the ingredients. Case in point: vinegar as a carpet cleaner. It works, and it works really well, but you can’t just dump it on and wipe it up like it’s one of those industrial strength, neon blue, store-bought monsters. It takes a little more attention. A little finesse. And with much practice (thank you, dear doggie), I finally perfected the method. All you need is a spray bottle with a solution of half vinegar/half water, and a few old cleaning towels.

1. First, it’s important to get to the stain as soon as you possibly can. Whether it’s pet pee or muddy footprints or spilled wine, the longer it sits just means the harder it’ll be to get out. So make sure you get it while it’s still wet.

2. Lay the towel over the spill and firmly, using your fingertips or the heel of your palm, blot the liquid up. DO NOT rub the liquid in. Blot only, yes? That’s the “method” part of this whole tutorial. Blot.



3. Continue your blotting until you have soaked up as much of the liquid as humanly possible. You might go through a few towels, depending on the size of the spill you’re dealing with.

4. Now it’s time to apply the vinegar. On the “mist” setting, spray the entire area and spray it liberally. Get it good and soaked. Then, allow it to sit there for a while — 5 or 10 minutes should do it.

5. Once the vinegar has had a chance to soak in and work its magic, you’ll use a clean towel to soak it up. Blotting works great here, but if you’re just dying to rub or even scrub, have at it! You can even put a little elbow grease on it. Might as well give that carpet a good, deep cleaning.

And that’s all there is to it! I’ve used this technique on so many spills, everything from party punch to baby poop. As long as the soiling is relatively fresh, this easy eco-friendly method will always do the trick. With no nasty fumes to leave behind; and if you want a fresh scent, try a citrus-infused cleaning vinegar! (PS You can mop with vinegar too.)

Of course, if that spill’s coming from a leak, call your Denver-area roofer before the rainy season starts to get a handle on things.

Photo credits:, Sayward Rebhal/

Sayward Rebhal writes for

23 Ingenius Uses for White Vinegar
5 Basics for Non-Toxic Cleaning

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning, Surprising uses for ..., , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.


+ add your own
10:12PM PDT on Sep 11, 2015

The same thing I wanted to learn, which you shared with us, really inspiring! Novato CA professional carpet cleaning

5:50AM PDT on Aug 26, 2015

Thanks guys for sharing such brilliant post with all of us, surely nobody can defeat this. Urbandale carpet cleaner

3:57PM PDT on Apr 15, 2015

Cleaning with vinegar? I'm not so sure how I feel about that. I'm sure it works, but it might start to take out the color of the carpet. Also, I'm afraid the smell will linger longer than anticipated. I'll give it a shot though and see what happens. I'm willing to try things out if they have a possibility of working.

10:07PM PDT on Sep 20, 2013


3:33PM PDT on Sep 20, 2013

I will have to try it.

3:00AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

Worth a try

1:39AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013


7:23PM PDT on Sep 16, 2013


8:46PM PDT on Sep 15, 2013

ty for the info

3:37AM PDT on Sep 14, 2013


add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

None of the guys I dated looked anything alike. Don't have any idea what that means, but they had s…

I sleep 10 to 12 hours, sometimes in one block and sometimes with a break of several hours in betwee…

I like a few red pepper flakes, S&P, and a sprinkling of cumin and Lemon juice. Perfect! (Coco…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!