The fabrics in our lives need a bit of attention to remain looking good. We pay a lot for upholstered furniture and carpeting in our homes and keeping them looking nice is really important. I can make a huge difference to how our house looks and can give a better impression then letting stains and dirt show up on these fabrics. There are a wide range of harsh chemicals that are available for cleaning these materials and there are expensive professional treatments as well, but cleaning them can be inexpensive, easy to do, and can be done all naturally with products you probably already have on hand at home (or can easily find at the store). You can save tons of money and clean in ways that are healthier for you, your family, those that visit you, and even your pets.

Freshening Fabrics.
Fabrics of all sorts need to be freshened. Pet odors, foot odors, and even organic materials from outside leaving behind odors can make our lives a smelly place. There are two great ways to help freshen fabrics and make the world a better smelling place. The first is very simple. Baking soda is your friend. It can be sprinkled on the carpets and on upholstery. There are just a few rules to keep in mind. First, it isn't a good idea to do this often, especially with carpet. The powder gets down into the grain of the carpet and most vacuum cleaners aren't powerful enough to suck up all of it. Over time powders can wear on the weave of the carpet causing damage. It is best to use this as a once in awhile treatment rather then a regular type of thing. This is also true for any commercial powders available.

Make Your Own Scented Carpet and Upholstery Powder- Because we all like to have wonderful fragrances in our home it is often nice to have a scented powder to use in freshening fabrics. It is easy to create your own scented powders. Simply take baking soda and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to it. You can get essential oils at many craft stores and at lots of different sites online. They come in a huge variety of options, are all natural, and many have aromatic benefits. You will want to add a few drops to a cup or so of baking soda. Then either stir well with a fork or sift through a sieve. Then simply sprinkle it on the carpet or your upholstery, let it sit for a short time, and vacuum it up.

The other way you can freshen up your carpet and upholstery is to use a linen spray. There are lots of options available in the store with Fabreeze being the largest most well known option. These can work well, but are full of chemicals. You can also make your own linen spray that will leave a great scent behind and can be used regularly. To use simply spray on the desired area and allow to dry. Because of the ingredients it will kill germs and leave behind a pleasant scent.

Make Your Own Scented Linen Spray- To make your own scented linen spray you will need to purchase a small spray bottle. These are easily found in most stores, usually with the traveling supplies (small packages of toothpaste, travel brushes, and travel containers). Four ounces is the standard size, but other sizes work as well. You will then fill the bottle with 1/2 alcohol. Rubbing alcohol works and isn't as strong as other options, but it isn't all natural or as healthy as your other options. Other then rubbing alcohol you can use vodka or another strong clear liquor (such as Ever Clear). Fill almost to the top with distilled water. Then add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil combination. Shake it well and let it set for 24 hours. After that you can use as desired. It will smell of alcohol at first, but as that dries it will leave behind your pleasant scent. It also kills odor causing germs (and other germs as well) because of the high alcohol content.

General Cleaning.
You should vacuum both your furniture and your floors often to help eliminate dirt, dust, food, and even organic materials tracked in from the outside. This is easily said, but not always easily done. However, having a regular vacuuming schedule can make it easier to keep your carpets and upholstery looking young and clean. It can also make a better impression on those that come into your home.

Stain Fighting.
Unfortunately it doesn't matter how often you vacuum, stains do happen and they can make our carpets look horrible. It doesn't have to be that way any longer though (and you don't have to use harsh chemicals to make it happen). To clean stains blot up any liquids and pick up any solids as soon as possible. This can sometimes be done right away, but not always. Then make a paste from 1/2 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar. Spoon this mixture onto the carpet and use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub the stain up. Rinse with clear water and a cloth or sponge.

For stubborn stains- Most stains come up very well with salt and vinegar, however some need a little more stain fighting strength then that. For these stains you will want to use 1/2 hydrogen peroxide, 1/2 water, and salt. First sprinkle the salt on the stain. Then spray down with the hydrogen peroxide mixture and scrub up. This mixture works on a lot of stubborn stains including blood, wine, and tomato sauce. It is a good idea to do a test spot first to make sure that this mixture doesn't bleach out the fabric's color. It isn't known for doing it often, but it can happen.

For grease stains- Grease is often hard to deal with. When it is on the carpet or the furniture it is a good idea to cover the area with baking soda and let it sit over night. Clean it up by vacuuming it. This will help absorb most of the grease. Then you can easily clean the stain using salt and vinegar mix.

For pet accidents- If you have a pet that has used the floor as a bathroom (in either sense) it is a good idea to clean it special. For these cases remove any solids and soak up any liquids. Scrub any stains using salt and vinegar mixture. Then it is a good idea to thoroughly spray the area with a mixture of either 1/2 white vinegar and 1/2 water or a mixture of 1/2 alcohol and 1/2 water. In either case it will smell like the product until it dries. Also it will kill bacteria and other germs, remove the original smell, and make it less likely that your pet will repeat the mistake because of the remaining odors.

Carpet Cleaning.
In this day and age you can get a carpet cleaner for as little as $50 at Walmart. While these machines don't have the power that commercial machines have they can make a huge difference in the life of your carpet. To clean your carpet well you have a few different options. They all have expensive and chemical cleaning options. However, it is often a better idea to use white vinegar in place of these. Simply fill the tank to the fill line (that is meant for chemicals) with white vinegar. Then use as you normally would. Try to get your water as hot as possible while still following the "no boiling" water rule. Try to get as much of the water out of the carpet as possible and put a fan on it to help dry it quicker. If you have a lot of stains you can scrub these first and if you have a really dingy look you can sprinkle salt on the carpet before you begin.

Keeping your carpets and upholstery clean can be done easily, with just a little time and care. It can also be done afford-ably and without the use of harsh and dangerous chemicals. Start keeping your carpets and upholstery cleaner, greener, and easier.