Carpets are often a huge part of our homes. If they look dirty then the home itself has a dirty feel about it. However, most conventional ways of keeping the carpet clean involve a lot of harshchemicals that are dangerous for us, our families, our pets, and even the environment. With a few good recipes and tips you can keep your carpets looking fresh and clean (and smelling that way as well) without the dangerouschemicals. Plus it is even less expensive!

Most of us know the advantages of vacuuming our carpets, at least on the surface. However, what most of us don't realize is how much dirt, soil, dust, and other stuff can build up in our carpets. Most vacuum cleaners don't have the power to get all of the mess that is in our carpet. Because of this it is important that we vacuum the floors regularly. Daily is best. This can help eliminate some of the build up and make it less likely for stuff to be pushed into the weave of the carpet where the vacuum can't find it.

*Additionally if you are going to be buying a new vacuum cleaner in the near future you may want to look at how much suction power the vacuum has. Most are rated a five or six on a ten point scale. This means they are leaving a lot behind. It is worth buying a new vacuum cleaner that costs a little more knowing the life of your carpet will be extended.

In addition to enjoying clean carpets we also want to have fresh carpets. Carpets take in organic matter from our shoes, our pets, and dirt. A lot of times this is enough for a smelly situation and if we don't keep it fresh we can notice. Even if we don't notice it during everyday activity we can often notice a great difference after taking the time to freshen our carpets. We have two great options for doing just that!
  • Carpet freshening powder- You can simply use baking soda sprinkled on the carpet, give it an hour or more to sit, and then vacuum it up. Or you can get fancier for a fragrance. Mix 1 teaspoon of spice (such as cinnamon, ginger, or nutmeg) with each cup of baking soda (1 cup will treat about 1 room) and use this instead of plain baking soda. The second option is to use essential oils allowing you to scent it in any way you would like. Add a few drops to each cup of baking soda and mix well with a fork. Make sure there are no lumps and that the oil is distributed throughout the mix. A few things you should note is that you shouldn't walk on the baking soda much because this will push it into the carpet weave. You should also avoid using this treatment more then once every three months because the powder (any carpet powder) isn't good for the weave of the carpet.
  • Carpet spray- Carpet spray is another way to freshen the carpet. There are a few different types that you can make and what you choose is really up to you. The best option is to get a new spray bottle and fill it 1/2 with water (distilled water is best). Fill the other half with a clear high proof alcohol such as vodka. Then add five to fifteen drops of your favorite essential oils. Let set for 24 hours. Shake before use. The product will smell of alcohol when sprayed, but it will kill germs and dry leaving the fresh scent you choose. You can replace the alcohol with rubbing alcohol, but it isn't all natural that way. Another option is vinegar, but this is an even more potent smell.
Both of these options offer you fresh carpets, odor eliminating possibilities, and the spray even kills germs. It also does so without any harsh chemicals!

Spot Cleaning.

No matter how careful we are spots seem to happen on our carpets. This can be disappointing, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. You can treat the stain and remove it completely without harsh chemicals! You can do it naturally!

  1. Pick it up- If there is anything solid involved with the stain then you should pick it up and throw it away. Doing this before it dries will keep it from getting stuck to the carpet and will allow you to treat the mess before it dries.
  2. Soak it up- The first step in taking care of a stain is to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. It is best to do this with a light colored rag and make sure you blot the stain rather then scrub it.
  3. Double time- If the stain is greasy then your best option is to cover it in baking soda and let it set over night. In the morning vacuum up the baking soda and treat the stain with a spot remover.
  4. Spot remover- Whether your stain is fresh or dry you should treat it with a spot remover. To make your own add 1/2 cup of salt to 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar. Stir well and apply the past to the spot using a spoon. Let it sit for a few minutes and then using a soft bristled brush gently scrub the stain up. This will work on most stains. It only smells of vinegar until it dries.
  5. Tougher spot remover- Some stains are just tougher such as blood and or wine. For these you may need a stronger solution. Mix 1/2 cold water and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide. Sprinkle salt over the stain and then use the hydrogen peroxide water to gently scrub the stain up.
  6. Vacuum- Both spot removers can leave the carpet feeling a bit stiff. Vacuum to loosen the fibers up and have a clean and soft feeling carpet again.
Spot cleaning is a great way to keep your carpets looking new and fresh. It should be noted that while vinegar doesn't have any bleaching properties and can be used on any carpet, hydrogen peroxide can sometimes lighten the color of a carpet. Therefore if you are using hydrogen peroxide to aid in cleaning up messes you should test it in a less visible place to make sure it isn't going to bleach out your carpet.

Carpet Cleaners.
In this day and age everyone should own a carpet cleaner. You can get a small one for as little as $50 and it will be well worth it in time, effort, and the life of your carpet. These cleaners are easy to use and make a huge difference in how your carpet looks. You can also replace the chemical solution with healthier options and still achieve a clean look. For really dirty carpets sprinkle salt onto the carpet before you begin. Then no matter what state your carpet is in fill the tank to the solution line with distilled white vinegar instead of the harsh chemical you shouldn't place on your carpets. Follow the remaining directions for cleaning your carpets. This works well and the vinegar smell goes away after it dries.

*If the vinegar smell really bothers you then get a bottle of vinegar and add about 20 drops of your favorite essential oil to it. Let it sit for 24 hours (or more). Use this in place of regular vinegar in your house hold cleaning products and for your house hold carpet cleaning needs. This will give it a better scent and leave the house smelling wonderful.

Keeping your carpets clean is important. You house will look and feel cleaner with a clean carpet. Even the cleanest house can feel messy and dirty if the carpets look horrible. But your house can be one with the cleanest carpets on the block. Plus you can do it without lots of expense and without harsh chemicals that could harm you, your family, your pets, and Mother Earth!