Frugal Carpet Steaming

When we got our townhouse in Massachusetts, the carpets were riddled with dirt & grime. I was pregnant with our son at the time, and the carpets were so disgusting that I refused to even take my shoes off, for fear of how filthy my socks would get from our carpet. The house had been owned previously by a rental company and, let’s face it, many renters do not care about keeping a home nice that doesn’t technically belong to them.

When my in-laws saw how horrible the carpets were, they offered to purchase a small steam cleaner for our new place. They took us to Target and invested in a small Bissell Steam Cleaner for our new home and some bottles of cleaner for us to deep clean the carpet.

Despite our best efforts, we ended up having to replace the carpet throughout the entire house and then two years later, we moved here.

The Bissell Steam Cleaner has been sitting in the basement the whole time we have lived here despite having some carpet in this house. Other projects have come before deep-cleaning carpets, but the other day as I was vacuuming, I realized that one of the reasons I do not like our lower level carpet is because the carpet doesn’t seem clean to me.
A light bulb went off and I ran downstairs to grab the steamer and cleaners. I poured the cleaner into the steamer and started steaming our playroom. The water that I dumped out was a murky gray and I made my husband come in and look at all the yuckiness I was able to suck up. After all, isn’t that what husbands are supposed to do? What is being married all about, if not for the fact that we can witness the grossness together?

After steaming those floors and feeling the pride in how clean they were, I was ready to steam all the other carpets and rugs in our home. Unfortunately, the cleaner had run out so I would have to invest in some more of the carpet cleaner… Or would I?

I ran downstairs and started searching on the internet to try and find if there were any alternatives to the pricey carpet cleaners. Sure enough, I came up with several recommendations from the commercial carpet cleaning companies.

If you do not want to buy the cleaners, simply fill the tank with the hottest tap water possible and throw in a cup (or two for a large tank) of white vinegar. Begin steaming as you did with the commercial cleaners and stand back in amazement as you notice that this inexpensive solution works just as well as the pricey cleaner.

My main concern with the vinegar was that it would make our carpets smell like vinegar. I need not worry though because vinegar has great odor neutralizing properties , so after about an hour my carpets smelled fresh and they no longer harbored the bad smells or the vinegar smell.

Now that I know how cheap it is to do this, I am more motivated than ever to keeping our carpets fresh and clean.

What are some of your favorite homemade remedies for cleaning items in your home?

Published February 23, 2007 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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