Cleaning with Nature / The Amazing Power of Vinegar: Carpets

How did we spend a gorgeous, warm sunny day?

I'll give you a clue...
After dropping the 'Rents off at the airport (and eating breakfast, and crashing out for a nap while Mr Moon vacuumed), we discovered that this carpet cleaner the 'Rents bought three years ago and never even opened the shipping box? Oh yes, it's a steam mop. It only works on the top layer of carpet and only cleans as much as a small, dry microfiber mop head can collect. This is NOT a room-sized device, let alone one for getting the high traffic areas of three rooms. Though, possibly great for picking up spills and such, and I'm excited to use it in the kitchen.

So Mr Moon and I met up with my uncle who is in town for work for the day. I got to show off the pride of my accomplishment in the garden, he got a couple pictures and made all the right noises, oohing at my project, then we grabbed some lunch at the pub up the street.

And then came the carpet cleaning. We ended up deciding to go back down to Big Lots and rented a Rug Doctor, because we will be damned if we aren't taking advantage of the folks being gone to minimize the disruption that is carpet cleaning.

Where does vinegar come into play? We decided to save some cash and my asthma by opting out of the manufactured-chemical cleaners and stick to our own all-purpose solution: A little natural dish/all purpose detergent (not Castile soap) [about 1 tbls per fill], vinegar [about 2 cups per fill], and water [hot, until full].
* Tip: When filling the water reservoir with pitchers from the sink, rather than turning off the water a bunch of times or wasting water while you pour the pitcher into the reservoir, use two pitchers. If the water is high enough, you can set it so that the second pitcher fills in the time it takes you to dump the first. However, at worst you will have to wait half the time for the next pitcher and you won't have wasted half a pitcher's-worth of water!
We had a couple stains from spills, so we started on those first. One was Kool-aide, but the other was just plain water that had stained the white carpet a nasty brown color. Made some headway on both, but not as much as we wanted. So he moved onto other parts of the room and I decided to boost our cleaning and stain-fighting potential by sprinkling some baking soda into the wet stains and rubbing it in a little bit. When we were done with the rest of the room, we went back over these stains. The red dye stain is just going to be there no matter what, but the other one (from the plain water) came right up! You can barely tell anything!

Now, in our old apartment, we had a couple spots in the main walkway that got soap on them, and they started collecting dirt like nobody's business. So we made a point, after using a little soap in the cleaning solution, to go back and rinse with straight vinegar water. I would recommend, if I were to do this again, that you alternate fills with soap and not soap, because the soap seemed to build up after a couple tanks.

The Final Word:
Mr Moon and I want to splurge on a carpet cleaner to live here one of these days, although my dream house has all hardwood floors and area rugs that can go in the washing machine. Whatever you decide to use inside, whether it's natural soap or the brand-name cleaners, still go back over the carpet with clean water and a splash of vinegar to rinse the cleansers out of your carpet. You will be much happier with the results, and with how much longer they will last.
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When is the last time you got your carpets cleaned? Did you do it yourself or hire a pro? How did you feel about the results?

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