Cleaning the Carpet Myself -- What REALLY Works??

Updated on September 14, 2010
O.O. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
12 answers

Hello moms! I have family coming this weekend, and I want my house to look nice. My living room carpet is looking a little sad lol. I need to clean it myself (can't afford a prefessional cleaning right now). It's not too bad, just everyday spots from the kids. What "over the counter" products REALLY work? I've seen some comercials for Resolve products, that of course on the comercial make the carpet look brand new. Has anyone tried them? Would I be better off to rent a steam cleaner? Can anyone tell me what to use to make it look like I did have them professionally cleaned - but really did them myself? Thanks!!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great tips girls! I bought the Resolve powder in a red can, got down on my hands & knees and scrubbed like there was no tomorrow! And it actually did a pretty good job! Not 100% perfect, but it looks a ton better. Thanks again!

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answers from Topeka on

I get down hands and knees with a scrub brush usually a liquid spray safe for carpets or reg. dish soap.I also have a Bissel Green machine works great.Having large areas to clean wears on the knees but I don't feel it gets clean enough with a machine unless I do the work & elbow grease.Just this past week I used Resolve powder scrubbed like crazy all my rooms with carpet looks great.Now just to keep the drinks & food in the klitchen shoes off when entering my home is another task

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answers from Little Rock on

I would rent a carpet cleaner and use it. I shampoo my carpets with resolve and I pour in some Febreeze to make it smell REALLY good. Your carpet will look great and smell good. :)

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answers from Wausau on

Resolve and all of the other store bought cleaners leave a residue on your carpet which attracts dirt and they get dirty faster. Rent a cleaner and use a mixture of approx. one cup ammonia and 1/2 cup cider vinegar to one gal. of water. This provides a proper pH balance. You will be surprised how much soap residue will come out where you used store bought cleaners. And no, the house will not smell like ammonia afterward. My husband used to have a flooring business where he had access to "good" cleaning products. He told me the ammonia and vinegar is an excellent way to go (not the cleaning products that you buy to go with the cleaner you rent). Never had such clean carpet!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi O.,
If you don't have the money to rent a steam cleaner then this is what I'd do.
Get a good quality sponge/rag and some dish soap in a big bucket of hot water. Get down on hands and knees and start scrubbing. Really it works wonders! That's how I used to clean the carpets when we were trying to sell our house. Usually I only had to spot clean but the carpet always looked brand new when I was done. The reason I don't use Resolve or other carpet cleaners is because sometimes the chemicals are too harsh and can "stain" the color of the carpet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Buffalo on

ok so if you cannot afford a professional then buying a new cleaner just for yourself will not work.

I am not one to enjoy someone else's dirt in my home either, but renting the Rug Doctor is $35 and you get it for the day and then the solution is $20ish. I have used reolve and loved it, but the rug doctor is awesome I have white carpets with 3 kids, ok 4 including my husband who spills more than the kids. It gets Ice tea staines out.

I usually take the cleaner out on the padio and hose it of and bleach it to clean the cleaner 1st, then I go to work on my house. I have scholiosis and this does not require the back breaking effort some do.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have a Bissell Pro Heat cleaner and I love it. I don't have my carpets professionally cleaned or rent the machines. Something about having somebody else's dirt in my house is gross.

The Pro Heat works very well and I use the Hoover Pet Solution cleaner from Home Depot.

The machine is less than $300 and a gallon of solution is about $25

Enjoy your family!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

we rented the rug doctor couple of times, took over 3 hours to do a room 12/14 and it took FOREVER for it to dry. Resolve works great on BAD spots.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

I've been looking around myself!! Great question! I have found some coupons for oxiclean cleaners (I prefer non toxic, no chemicals) but I'm not sure if it actually cleans deep down stains.
I figure the price is about the same if I use them or rent a steam cleaner. If I rent a steam cleaner I won't be using the cleaner they sell.....I've had issues w/ it in the past staining my carpet & I can't stand the smell.
What works great is water & vinegar. I've scrubbed small areas with it or even used my hand held bissell and it really works....I just can't do my whole house on my hands & knees or w/ a tiny bissell. If you have a major stain/area try this it truly works! Good luck!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

If you just have a few bad spots, I recommed Spot Shot in a can. It really does a nice job. I once spilled blackberry puree on my carpet and it actually cleaned it up. I also use it on my upholstered chairs and in my van to clean dirty spots.

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answers from Erie on

i would invest in your own steamer. now they really aren't that can get a nice one for under $100. but i use resolve for spots and it works just fine. but for that all over cleaning you can't beat your own steamer!



answers from Harrisburg on

We actually went ahead and bought a Hoover and we regularly do it ourselves. It does a really good job. Sometimes we need to take Folex stain remover to nasty stains. If you can afford it now I would purchase a Hoover - you'll save so much money in renting steam cleaners/getting the professionals in later.


answers from Dover on

Use Sol-U-Mel to clean your carpet.

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