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All-natural carpet cleaning solution: discovery of the century! (Maybe not.)

Guys, it is official: I am way, way too old for all-nighters. Also: eating whatever I want and never seeing the effects. And possibly shopping in the Junior’s department, but the jury’s still out. Can I get a ruling on that? Junior’s section at age 29: socially acceptable or creepy-and-inappropriate?

I’m asking, but I already know the answer.

Anyway, all-nighters. We just got back from seeing family in Michigan. We drove 12 hours through the night, arrived this morning, and I am literally the Walking Dead. I am an actual zombie. The good news is, the trip was easy because we just boxed up the kids and shipped them out in advance so they could meet us there.
kds
It’s cool. We shipped them first class with a “fragile” sticker on the side. We love our kids too much for economy mail.

I wanted to drop in real quick and tell you about this super cool trick Andy and I just figured out.

We’ve needed a carpet cleaner for ever, but just didn’t want to drop the cash on a brand new one. We kept hoping we’d find one at a yard sale, then whenever we did, I would get grossed out, imagining them to be filled with other people’s house-dust and specks of their skin and probably bodily fluids or something. Eeeeewwwwwww.

‘Round and ’round we’d go, not buying a carpet cleaner new OR used, while this spot on my carpet just laughed vindictively, soaking itself ever deeper into my floors.
evil_stain
I don’t even know what that stain is, just that it had terrible manners.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. We found this beautiful guy at a yard sale for $50. Never been used!! Yard sale price, minus the grossness of other people’s carpet gunk, equals a happy day.
hoover_steamvac
It’s a Hoover Steamvac. I think it’s this one? I realize it looks dirty now, but that’s just our own house-dust and skin specks and whatnot. Just forgot to photograph it before we ued it.

We didn’t want to use super-chemically carpet cleaning solution, so we poured a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and water right in it, having no idea whether it would work or cause a giant explosion or something.
Vinegar as carpet cleaner!
…and wouldn’t ya know it! Worked like a charm!

I kind of want to be best friends with white vinegar.
Stain removed with vinegar
We tried the vinegar solution on this spot on our living room rug too…
rug spot before using all-natural carpet cleaner
Spot is gone. I don’t know where he was, but he’s gone now.
Remove stains with natural carpet cleaning solution
I love discovering cheap ways to clean with fewer chemicals, so I was pretty pumped about this finding. And then I remembered my friend Virginia wrote up a brilliant post about 10 ways to clean with vinegar, which I wanted to tell you about so I just went to go find it, and there it is, on tip #1: use vinegar in place of carpet cleaner.

I guess we weren’t the first to make a groundbreaking discovery like I’d hoped, but it’s a good discovery nonetheless. (You should obviously head to her post immediately for other good vinegar cleaning ideas.)

Use what's in your pantry to clean your carpets free of chemicals and LOW COST!

What are your favorite natural cleaning tricks? At what age is the Junior’s section off-limits?


Let's connect

Comments

  1. Just a few days ago I bought a VERY CUTE chevron dress in the junior’s section of Kohl’s, and I turn 28 in a few weeks. I actually rare grow to the grown up ladies section…. the pants rise too high and the shirts sit too loose!!

    I used white vinegar and baking soda as a drain-o substitution. vinegar and water makes a good sub for windex too! :)

  2. Belinda says:

    My sister bought a refurbished carpet cleaner at Big Lots for around $60!

    And I’m 49 and occasionally shop in the Junior section. I’m well-aware of what’s age appropriate!! I scan the area for dresses (that I wear with leggings…to cove my legs!) and cute tops.

  3. Marlo says:

    I recently used vinegar to clean a cat pee mess from our mattress. Good as new! I found a great tutorial online for it.

    I feel like there’s a whole cadre of us out there who are 30-ish with that same juniors’ dept dilemma. We’re not really juniors anymore, and we’re not Old People, we’re just, well – people. While I was a size small when I truly WAS a junior, I’m now a juniors’ XL as a 30 year old, and I just can’t hang with that. That alone is enough to keep me out of the juniors’ section for all time. Plus I feel silly when I wear a shirt with any sort of writing or picture on it. (This divide also exists in the underwear dept. There HAS to be a happy medium between “Hot to Trot” scrawled across the buttocks and beige granny lace. There has to.)

  4. Laura says:

    I’ve learned not to go near pants in the juniors section unless I’m into self-loathing. ;)

    Love your post…we are really into homemade green cleaners! I just saw the doc Chemerical on Netflix and am now using plant based dish soap. It’s amazing what’s in those everyday cleaners.

  5. Ali Burtt says:

    So…I have no room for a carpet cleaner, but we desperately need to rent one or something because our carpets are gross. Dog. Need more be said?

    However, this juniors section thing! Now that I can talk about. Okay so I’m almost 35 and I bought something in juniors this summer. It was a maxi dress. I love it. I think if you’re headed for floor length skirts and cheap flannel shirts, it’s okay. That said, the booty shorts, tube tops and t-shirts featuring Justin Bieber might be out of the question. Actually, those should probably be off-limits period. For everyone.

    • Tammy says:

      Totally have to concur. I’m 29…30 in less than 90 days…. o.O.
      Bieber :shudder: should be banned :D Don’t forget the LOVerly little bikinis with about two square inches of triangle on top….two square inches total, that is…and maaayyybe a whopping four square incheroos for the “bottom”!

  6. I am so happy to hear that this works! We use vinegar and water on our ceramic floors and it works well so I had wondered about the carpet. One question though, how long do you smell the vinegar afterwards?
    Thanks! – Shelley
    Oh yeah…I am 46 and not shopping in the Junior department anymore -although I have browsed and acted like I was looking for something for my niece!

  7. cassie says:

    wow! i need that for where charlie likes to scratch his butt on the rug….

  8. I am convinced you can clean almost anything with vinegar! It is to me what windex was to the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Can I just say, I love the way you write! So funny and clever and always entertaining! xo Kristin

  9. Brilliance! Also, I had an unfortunate all-nighter last week and then the following night was out for dinner with friends and, no exaggeration, I almost fell asleep in my plate at the restaurant like a toddler. It only gets worse, my friend (I’m apparently way older than you at 35). Hmph.

  10. Jamie Rowe says:

    How long does the vinegar smell last? My hubby HATES that smell. I shop Juniors at Target ( I am 36), just avoid the super trendy, hipster clothes. I think that Target has a good ladies section, the clothes are still stylish and fit well. I mostly shop at the thrift store though. I have been doing it since I was 16. I love how it is cool now, I did it cause I was poor ha ha.

  11. Ok…as soon as I get done with this comment, I’m going to grab my vinegar and helmet and tackle our terrible stains in our bedroom carpet! I don’t have a steam vac, but now I feel like I might need one. This is the kind of cleaning I like to do…it’s like an infomercial. Here you see it and now you don’t! Love it…and I may peruse the junior section when I walk by it…just maybe…:/ lol.

    • Karin says:

      If you don’t have a steam vac, just take 1 cup vinegar/ 2 cups water and mix in spray bottle. Spray onto spot, cover with clean white rag and steam with an iron. Test first! I also like to take a 2 cup measuring cup and put in 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and a squirt of dawn(blue kind) and dip a scrub brush in then scrub on the spot. Both work but I think the second one works faster depending on your stain.

  12. Amy Ogden says:

    Makes me want to go out and buy carpets now :)

  13. Jenna S says:

    We have some stubborn stains, and I can’t wait to try this…and all the other tips at the link you gave. Thanks for posting! :)

    Also, I’ll be 28 next month and still shop the Junior’s section. Sometimes the business clothing in the Women’s section is too….umm…old?! I feel like I’d look 60 in them. Not that there’s anything wrong w/looking more mature and older when in the office, but it’s possible to look young and professional as well as mature. Also, nothing wrong w/looking 60 when you’re 60. lol I just avoid the barely there clothing that, as one commenter said, no one should be wearing.

  14. Krystal says:

    OMG thank you for posting this! I literally just emailed Virginia’s link to my hubby and I cannot wait to get home and clean my carpet and paint brushes! We already use a few of the other ideas (dishwasher, sinks and microwave). I had never heard of using vinegar as a fabric softener until today (I just read that over at yhl too). I have very sensitive skin so this is totally worth a shot! *fingers crossed*

  15. Sharon New says:

    We have had one of those carpet cleaners for about 3 years, and they work great! Our trick with it is boiling water to fill the water reservoir; I had read that on a cleaning website. We also use only distilled water in it as we have extremely hard water in our area and didn’t want to clog up the sprayer. Awesome steam cleaning!

    • Katie says:

      I bought the exact model you purchased after spending a few days researching the best quality steam cleaner for the price, this one was the winner by a landslide….This for $200.00 had the very best user reviews. I got mine as a floor model for like $179.00, so at $50.00 brand new you got a great machine for an awesome price. I have had mine for a few years and have purchases the hard floor attachment from Amazon. It works great!

  16. Stephanie says:

    I’m a total vinegar convert! I only keep one spray bottle of Seventh Generation glass cleaner in the house and everything else gets cleaned with some sort of vinegar solution. Sure it smells for a couple hours, but totally worth it for a super cost-effective (thanks Costco) and non-toxic cleaner.

    My fave is using 1 part vinegar + 1 part dish soap + a splash of lemon juice in a spray bottle = cleanest bathrooms and kitchen ever! Spray, let it sit for ~15 mins, and wipe up with a damp sponge. Sprinkle baking soda over top of where you spray for a mild abrasive on soap scum or grout. I have 2.5 baths and found by the time I spray them all down I can usually go back to the first one and start wiping up, so I have 3 sparkly clean bathrooms in ~30 minutes.

    I get all the ingredients in bulk from Costco and keep them in the bottom of my pantry, then I just keep a pre-mixed spray bottle under the sink and add my splash of lemon juice right before I clean. Fast and easy!

    Okay, I literally sound like I have stock in a vinegar company. Signing off… ;)

  17. HA! Thanks girl! And it’s true….vinegar is a magical creature. Also…JUNIORS DPMT FOR LIFE. (Still totally creepy, but I stand by my decision.) :)

  18. At 34 (holding out for 3 more days!) I normally pick up tank tops & camis in the Juniors section – because they are normally a little cheaper and come in way funner colors. Oh okay, and maybe because that is all that fits anymore, ha ha!

  19. I am a vinegar user too! love the stuff. Especially in my bathroom! it works like a charm doesn’t it?

  20. Britt says:

    Hahaha. I will be 28 this year and still get sucked into the jrs section. I think if you select wisely its cool. At our mall there is a Charlotte Russe store right next to the loft….my brain almost explodes trying to figure out which one is more me / age appropriate. And I love vinegar! It’s amazing. Didnt know it could clean carpet though!

  21. Diana W. says:

    Yeah, can’t blame you for shipping the kiddo’s. Just glad you showed loving care by using express post. I REALLY love mine, so would’ve popped for UPS. (JK, I don’t have human babies!)

    Can’t speak to the Jr. dept because I didn’t shop there when I WAS a jr. Now that I’m slapping the big 5-0 in the face I won’t be shopping there for sure.

    Love me some vinegar and water. Vinegar and soda. Cider vinegar for the dogs water…. it’s a cheapo/enviro cleaners bestest friend evah!

  22. Lindsay says:

    I think the junior section is off limits if you’re tempted by the underwear-sized shorts girls are wearing now, but for things that actually cover your body I think it’s fine. It’s not about where you buy it, it’s about how it looks on you!

  23. I really need to start cleaning with vinegar instead of a ton of chemical cleaners. This is good to know!

  24. emily says:

    Awesome tip Kelly! I will be trying this one very soon.

    regards from New York
    Emily @ Town And Country Shuffle

  25. Our carpets desparately need to be cleaned, I’ll have to give it a try. I’m 28 and still occasionally shop the juniors section :)

  26. Bliss says:

    I am going to consider this a Hoover-vinegar throw down. I have that same machine, I have white vinegar, and Lord knows I’ve got me some stubborn stains. I’ll report back….

  27. Good tip on the vinegar. We are totally in need of our own carpet cleaner. We could also use a box big enough to mail our children places. That would be awesome. Not sure about the junior’s dept. at 5’10 I haven’t been able to pull that off for many years but if it works I say go for it :)

  28. Katie @ pps says:

    I should try that in our carpet cleaner! Thanks for the tip!

  29. Debi Cooke says:

    I like to add a little Borax to my vinegar

  30. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    I couldn’t live without my carpet cleaner. But I wasn’t lucky enough to find one at a yard sale. It still was the best money ever spent.

  31. Vinegar is magical! I use it on everything and will definitely keep this in mind when we need to clean our carpets. I personally fit better into juniors than the other department store sections, but the styles aren’t always what I’m going for. But I think as long as you aren’t like 40 and buying the the junior’s one-shoulder with fake gem trim leopard blouses to compliment your spray tan it’s okay.

  32. Kelly says:

    Vinegar is my solution to everything. I buy it in bulk….
    And I wish I could be shipped in a box sometimes, I think it would be easier than actually making the road trip :)

  33. Sheesh…..I’m going to be 31 this year and for real, sometimes I’ll buy X-Large in the kid’s section. But not Hello Kitty or anything, promise. Lol ;-) And yay for awesome non-chemical cleaning solutions!

  34. Morgan says:

    Isn’t vinegar THE BEST? I just found two gallons hiding in our garage and I’m so thrilled. I usually have to dilute mine 1:4 to water because I get a very strong vinegar smell for countertops and such but it’s the greatest.

  35. Gwen says:

    My spots are now officially scared.

  36. Kelly says:

    How funny! I JUST bought a carpet cleaner JUST LIKE THIS ONE at a garage sale today!! Excited to try the vinegar/water solution. I have heard from friends that the solution you buy leaves a residue and actually ATTRACTS dirt!! So vinegar/water it is!! Thanks for posting this!! Happy cleaning!! :)

  37. Well if I fit in Jrs clothes I possibly would consider it at age 34, lol ;)
    I recently started using Vinegar for a daily cleaner for tables/kitchen counter, etc. It’s so great and cheap!

  38. Jesse says:

    I have to say thanks a million for this post. We have a charcoal stain in our carpet (and YES it was my fault), from cleaning our grill in the patio. I was bringing some removable parts inside the house for cleaning and did not notice I was dripping some charcoal on the carpet. Tried the vinegar and it worked. I can’t thank you enough. You saved me!

  39. cameo says:

    Okay, I have a few issues with you.

    1. I’m pulling an all nighter as we speak. I have to get up at 4:30 am in order to be at the hospital to have my lazy gall bladder removed so instead of taking my ambien I’m just staying awake which is not hard since I have insomnia and can’t sleep w/o my magic pill.

    2. You’re only 29? And you’ve accomplished so much? You’ve done that much work on your house and have figured out so many tricks and tips? That is just plain wrong. Man, you have your shit together! Now I hate you. I’m 37, hence the old person problem of gall bladder. Doesn’t that sound like a grandma problem?

    3. You can fit into juniors clothing. Again, I hate you. Well, I would if I didn’t love everything you’ve done thus far. Now start working on those kitchen cabinets!

    4. I have the same carpet cleaner!!! I LOVE it! I bought it 7 years ago when my 18 month old son had diarrhea but I didn’t realize it until I picked him up while he was in the lying down position and the poop literally poured out of his diaper and onto my ottoman and carpet. I didn’t even bother trying to clean it up, I just cleaned him up, ran to Best Buy, hoped he wouldn’t have a pooplosion in the store and bought my cleaner. I LOVE IT!!!!

    5. That’s it.

    • Katy says:

      I don’t have a cat, but I keep a cheap bag of kitty litter in my garage for just such an emergency! As soon as the poop pours or the vomit spews, throw kitty litter on it. It will absorb the chunks! (And usually the odor.) It will keep the gross stuff from soaking into the carpet. Sweep that up (with a dust pan — don’t ruin your sweeper!), then clean the carpet with the vinegar and Hoover steam mop. I have a much older version of this steam mop. It has never failed me. PS: I keep the kitty litter in my car in the winter — works great if I get my car stuck in the snow!

  40. Cara says:

    I bought a dress in the Jr’s department at kohl’s 2 weeks ago, and turned 29 on Monday. You’re not the only one! I prefer shopping at NY&Co because the clothes are more my style and they fit me better.

  41. Amy says:

    I still struggle with where to shop. I just feel like, I lived and dressed through the 80′s once already… not sure I can do all that again.

  42. Wow – those are serious results!! Do you also have a magic wand for a smelly carpet?? Bought one that is 100% cotton and it smells…not super chemically, but not nice either – sort of a damp chemical smell!?!? Do you think this would work on my problem?

  43. QwkDrw says:

    Shopping in the Junior’s section: at what (mental-equivalent) age is appropriate? In some nameless families …
    “Auntie Whatever” always look so young.
    Yeah, after getting up at the crack of noon.
    No, no. It’s the hip ’70s retro clothes she buys in the Junior’s section.
    Are you kidding? She bought those with a boyfriend’s credit card IN 1970! So apparently, it’s not creepy-and-inappropriate for “auntie baby boomer.”

    We keep in Junior’s section mental-equivalent age shape by using white vinegar to clean our drip coffee maker. May be too much information, but there you go

    ..

  44. SO TRUE!!! I always forget about vinegar. For some reason I have it stuck in my head that I can only use vinegar to unclog drains (when mixed with baking soda, of course). Thanks for sharing your tips…and score on finding that bad boy for so cheap. :)

  45. Anne says:

    I use vinegar in our carpet cleaner a lot. Lately, though, I have been using a little (and I mean LITTLE) bit of Sal Suds by Dr. Bronner’s. It also works super, super well on micro fiber (obviously, test a small spot first, yada yada yada). We have two young boys, a third baby (girl, thankfully!) on the way, a dog, a cat and two very active adults in our house. Our carpets get filthy – even with us taking our shoes off at the door. Well, except for the dog. He has no manners.

    I just turned 35 and still will buy some basics in the junior’s section. Well, not now – see above comment about third child on the way – but I did before I got knocked up and will again once my body regains its normal shape.

  46. Pam says:

    Have you all tried the half Dawn soap and half vinegar cleaner that’s on pintrest? It is amazing. We have really hard water and everything has build up on it. I just spray that on my glass shower doors use a scotch guard blue pad and amazing shine! I also use it for everything in the bathroom. I don’t like the smell of the vinegar so I used another pintrest tip. I take lemon peels and soak them in the vinegar for about 2 weeks. It really cuts the smell. The other thing I’m doing is using about 1/3 cup of Dawn and 2/3 cup of the vinegar seems to work just as well.

    • Katy says:

      The Dawn and vinegar work great as a shower cleaner. Do NOT add baking soda as some of the pins suggest! If you want to use baking soda, sprinkle it in the tub, THEN spray on the vinegar/Dawn mixture. If you mix the 3 together in the spray bottle, it will explode the spray bottle! You’ll get a bubbly reaction with the vinegar and baking soda — it cleans well, but needs to “breathe!”

  47. I am in love with vinegar for all things!!

  48. Jessica says:

    I use all-natural cleaners, too! Vinegar is awesome, but castile soap is pretty awesome too…. and smells a heck of a lot better lol :) More expensive, yes, but the smell is amazing… I use peppermint to help keep away summer bugs. So just if ya wanted to swap it up a bit :) And we’ve had a steamer for many years now (the same one you have it looks like) and it was by far the best purchase ever!!!!

  49. carissa says:

    love using vinegar as a cleaner! i now stock up at costco and don’t buy any other cleaner!

  50. Jill says:

    I will try this next time we clean the carpets. This past week I used another Pinterest recipe for carpet cleaner – Oxiclean, Febreeze, and White vinegar. I thought for sure someone was playing a terrible Pinterest prank AND I was making a bomb when the mixing bottle I was using began to get HOT!~ scary!

  51. CarrieH says:

    I have one carpet in my home that I have now cleaned 5 times in a row with that special “gets rid of pet odors” febreeze carpet solution and it STILL stinks like dog. I too have a hubby that can’t stand the smell of vinegar so I guess I will have to wait till Monday when he is at work, as long as you promise that the smell goes away…
    As for Juniors section shopping…I go there for jeans. I’m sorry but the womens section jeans look like mom jeans and make your butt increase by like 5 times in length and width. I don’t even care if the tag on the juniors jeans tells me I am an 11. I’d rather be an 11 with my own decently shaped bum than a 8 with a big ‘ol flat ten foot tall butt.

  52. Congratulations for getting rid of the stains and spots. You must be really happy about it, i would be. I’m taking note of the tips you shared here in how to clean the carpets naturally. I actually do the same thing, the vinegar solution but there was really one time that i could not get rid of the stain and i just had to call on a professional carpet cleaning service to do the job.

  53. Terri A. says:

    Love vinegar to clean lots of things- especially carpet!

    As for junior…if it’s something fairly “basic” (you know, NOT 80s neon or what have you) and if it fits you properly then go for it. ;) The diff is junior cuts usually are not made for curvier folks.

  54. I love Vinegar for cleaning. Pretty funny, My Mom, who has passed on, used to clean with vinegar all the time and I thought she was so old fashioned … now I find she was ahead of her time!

    I have to say though, my favorite part of this post is the tip about boxing the kids up and shipping them home! Hilarious!!

  55. Mrs. C says:

    I shampooed my carpets with vinegar and water (50/50). I used white vinegar for cleaning which is 1% more acidic than regular white vinegar. My carpets look great!……. but, my house still smells like pickles. :( I may have to go over the carpets again with just water.

  56. Mikka says:

    I have been toying with this idea for a while. But my only concern is the vinegar will eat away at the plastic and rubber parts of the machine. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on that? It seems like my carpets always get so dirty so quick when I use regular carpet shampoo so I am looking for an alternative.

  57. Stacie says:

    I use this mixture but add a few drops of tea tree essential oil. Great properties and smells a little nicer!

  58. Bible Babe says:

    I think I shopped in the junior department once–I was a FETUS at the time! lol. I like being what I call ‘woman of substance’. Now, on to the carpet cleaning. Love the ideo fo using vinegar–you’re speaking my language, girl! If you don’t have a carpet cleaning machine–try putting the vinegar on the carpet and then after it sits a bit–use a wet/dry shop vac to get the solution and stain out.

  59. Louise says:

    I love this idea and am going to try it because I have two older Yorkies that kinda lose it when they get excited. I just wanted to tell you about your machine. I had one exactly like the picture and it has one major problem when it gets older. Where the accessory hose connects to the machine under the dirty water tank…it cracks and leaks. I have had two do this to me now.

  60. Michelle says:

    As I was eating lunch and browsing Pinterest DIY I came across your cleaning tip. I did know that vinegar has many uses for cleaning, but did not think of putting it in the carpet cleaner. I enjoyed your sense of humor throughout your article. The timing of me reading this article couldn’t have been better. Just last Thursday as I was leaving for the weekend I noticed what looked like the traces of someone tracking dog poop into the house onto my recently professionally cleaned carpet. As you can imagine, I accused everyone else in the house since I am usually not the culprit for these sort of things. After more careful examination I realized that I was going to have to eat crow as I determined that it was my quadroped (four legged creature) that stepped in her own feces and tracked it in. After a foot of snow was dumped in our yard she decided that pooping at the base of the steps was a good idea until she had to walk through it to get back into the warmth of her den! Today, I will be scrubbing the carpet again with vinegar and water instead of hiring the carpet cleaner for the tune of one hundred plus dollars!

    • Kelly says:

      Oh no! The only thing worse that poop on your floor is having to eat crow over it! :) I hope it worked for you and got all cleaned up!

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