Do it Yourself: Cleaning Your Carpet… Borax & Vinegar!


Most of you have kiddos, and so do I. And with those kids, comes DIRTY stains on my carpet. We will take this morning as an example……..

I came out of my shower to find Rylan, my 18 mo. old, hiding behind the sofa with a pack of Oreos. How fast that little sucker stuffed them in his mouth was a world record. In the other hand? A Snickers Egg. Apparently sister Wendy had opened the fridge when I was trying to fold 2 loads of laundry, and kept it open (as usual), he climbed up on a chair, took it off the shelf, and although he could not open it, he bit through the wrapper enough to squeeze peanut butter ooey gooeyness out. So yeah, not only on his face but on the nice clean carpet. Even worse? He didn’t want his diaper on. So he un-did the velcro tabs on each side, and pushed down the front, and crawled out of the back …leaving an open “shelled” diaper on the floor, and his naked butt on my nice carpet taking a whizz as I scared the Bejeezus out of him when I found him in his new hiding spot. Wonderful. What a fun way to enjoy a Sunday morning.

I am without a carpet cleaner, so I was more than a little mad……  grabbed my Borax – fastest way and cheapest way for me to clean it. Borax is something I always have in the house – from using it to make my laundry soap, it’s also something that mops my floors, cleans my counters, and scrubs my tub. AND cleans my carpet.

I would suggest investing in a box, it’s $2.99 at Target, and $2.98 at Wal Mart.   To use it on an already existing stain, make a paste:

  • 1/4 C. Borax
  • 1/4 C. Vinegar

Apply the paste to the stain… my case? Chocolate. Rub it in well. Let it sit & dry. Vacuum. Voila.

If the stain is fresh…..then we do it a tad different:

  • Clean the stain as much as you can with a rag, but don’t smear it to make it worse.
  • Spray the stain with ice cold water, then sprinkle Borax on it
  • Take a really wet, cold washrag and lay it atop -  let it sit, and work the Borax into the stain.
  • Blot the stain with a clean rag, and continue until stain disappears.
  • Rinse well with cold water, and then set a dry towel on top – put a heavy object on it so that the towel can suck up the extra moisture. Try not to let your kiddos mess with it.

And now for Pet Urine – which, well, obviously happens to the best of us:

Mix 2 Tbsp Borax + 2 Tbsp Baking Soda, add one quart HOT water. The hotter the better.  Soak the urine-smelly area at least 4-5 hours – or preferred overnight. Use the wet vac in the morning to clean up the extra moisture.

Borax is truly awesome; it has saved me SO much ……. and saved me from running out and spending $5-$7 on carpet cleaner and even more on a steam cleaner.  Had David have been here, he would have jumped in the car to rent a cleaner for $25-$30 and felt NO remorse tossing in a $10 carpet cleaner. Not I, not I!

Hopefully these tips help you…… having kids definitely takes a toll on carpet – one day I will have wood floors then I don’t have to worry so much about cleaning stains!

  • Sherry

    I quite literally just got done making a batch 2 minutes ago! :) Love that stuff, we use it on EVERYTHING!!

  • MacKenzie

    Sheryl, I was busting up reading what Rylan was doing. (As a mom, I know there is little humor when it is your own child.) But I was cracking up because this sounds so much like my youngest who will be 3 next week. He’s the one who dumped over a thousand qtips on the floor, stuffed so much toys and junk down the toilet that we couldn’t even snake it, but had to buy another toilet! Boys are so much fun! I actually keep track of all the stuff my boys do that drive me nuts. I am hoping that some day I will look back and read everything and find the humor. :-) One day at a time girlfriend <3

  • Janette

    Can I use the mixture for pet urine in my carpet cleaner in place of the carpet shampoo?

  • April Saralequi

    Oh wow, my carpet is stained and my couch, yikes! have both my grandkids here. so im older, and i hurt ALL the time, im in chronic pain daily, alot of health problems. Im getting custody of grandaughter, shes 5. and my grandson is 2, and hes here 4 days a week. they get into alot of trouble together lol! So thank you, thank you, thank you for the tip with the borax. ive bought and used bleach with water (didnt clean as well as i thought, but yes our eyes burned lol!) windex. I bought awesome carpet cleaner at the dollar store, and a scrub brush, ummm they are still in the bag, from 4 days ago, LOL! So im definitely going to try this, cant wait actually :)

  • Anna Burrill

    I have a carpet cleaner what would be your recommendation on how much to use?

  • Lila

    OK, I’ve got a REALLY important question……does it work on “red” stains?? Remember that amazing deal for the Ocean Spray sparkling juice at Fry’s a few weeks back??? Well my lovely daughter knocked over a can of the cranberry, left it there and went about her day….I discovered it several hours later. We have a cream colored carpet-so it looks horrible :(

    • Jennifer

      Did it work? My son did the same with red popsicle last week. Ugh.

    • Sara

      This is a little late, but rubbing alcohol takes fruit & veggie stains out of fabric and carpet, maybe even after a month :).
      Hydrogen peroxide takes out tea and blood (and i believe, coffee, too). This once saved my carpet weeks after a tea spill on cream colored carpet.

      Artificial red stains, as well as some blue/purple stains, are permanent once set-that’s kool aid, popsicles, and the like. Trust me, my kids have given me rainbow colored carpet!

      However, there IS an *expensive* product (in a *small* bottle!) called Red Out that is supposed to remove a FRESH red stain, but as far as i know, you can only find it online. It lightened but did not remove our old red stains and did not last very long in our home. My policy now is either buying light colored products or natural fruit based products.

      I, too, would like to know if the vinegar/borax can be used in my carpet cleaner. The chemicals stink and i worry about my toddler being exposed to them. I’ve used vinegar -water alone, but never tried Borax.