So I've come to find out that most commercial carpet cleaner sprays do NOT work on my carpet stains. And since we've had a kid, the stains only seem to be multiplying. I like the lighter color of our carpet, but it shows absolutely everything.
While fooling around on Pinterest the other day, I found this recipe for a "magical" homemade carpet cleaner. All you do is sprinkle some baking soda on the stain, let it sit for ten minutes, vacuum it up, and then blot the area with a mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid, and warm water. I thought, why not? I usually have those ingredients on hand anyway, and nothing else had worked.
First I tested this hideous stain from last year's Christmas party.
And wouldn't you know it, a grown-up made this one. One of our friends accidentally spilled soda on our carpet, and nothing's gotten it out so far. I followed the directions on the website, only first I dampened the stain with a little water since it was an old stain and I figured that might help the baking soda soak in better. I went over this spot a couple times with the vinegar solution, and now we have this.
Not too shabby. You can still see it very faintly, but it's really not that noticeable anymore. And who knows, maybe a few more applications will get rid of it completely.
Next, here's a stain from a few months ago when my kid grabbed my half-empty coffee mug and made a nice little design on the carpet (thankfully, the coffee in the mug had already cooled down!).
And here's what we have after:
Again, still kind of there but not as noticeable. This was still a little wet when I took the "after" picture, so maybe as it dries it'll fade even more. And it only got one application so I might go back again. Incidentally, there was a similar coffee stain from that same day a little to the left of this one; I totally should have used that one for the "before" and "after" pictures instead because it disappeared completely. :o)
Here's one from right outside our kitchen. I'm thinking one of us dropped some food or maybe my kid's sippy cup valve failed.
Ew. Look at all the dirt that got stuck to it from us walking over it. This was definitely from something sticky. And here's the after:
Ahhhhhh. Love it. There's a lot of little "mini" stains over in that area since it's near the kitchen, so they'll get some extra love very soon.
And finally, here's a stain from our bedroom floor. We usually don't have food back there, so our carpet looks pretty good in that room. Except for this sippy cup fail from awhile ago. Those darn valves.
Weird. It looks like a lowercase R. Let's get rid of that.
Yay! I'm very pleased with this method. Like I said, the majority of these stains (and the numerous others on our living room carpet alone) were sprayed with carpet cleaner almost immediately after they happened, and it did pretty much nothing. Plus I was worried about the chemicals with a toddler roaming around. The ingredients in this recipe are all natural and non-toxic. Granted, I still did this during naptime since I knew my kid would be all over the little piles of baking soda and wet spots all over the carpet and probably wouldn't be all that much help. :o)
So while there's still some work to be done (after all, we're dealing with almost three years of stains, as well as a few that were here before we moved in), I'm very pleased with the progress I've made today.