Some of these recipes for natural carpet cleaning products will require a bit of hunting around for obscure ingredients – try your local chemist or even ask a high school chemistry teacher where you can get them from.
Stain-removing carpet soap
* 4 oz Fuller’s earth
* 1 oz turpentine (preferably the plant-sourced variety; mineral turps will do instead but this does give off foul-smelling fumes and isn’t as natural. This ingredient is added as a solvent, so if you can’t get hold of natural plant turpentine, then you could try substituting strong alcohol, which is another natural solvent often used in cleaning products)
* 8 oz potash (aka potassium carbonate)
* ordinary soft soap, grated
Melt the soap in a double boiler or microwave set on low until it becomes gooey. Stir in the other ingredients and blend well. Store in an airtight jar. One variation on this recipe is to use soap gel instead of and make a carpet shampoo. A second variation is to add about 10–20 drops of essential oil of your choice to the ingredients.
Home-made dry cleaning carpet shampoo
This is good for using on carpets with natural fibres that have a tendency to run colour – handmade rugs from exotic places tend to fit this description.
Mix Fuller’s earth and water to make a paste. Apply this paste to the spot on the carpet you want cleaned and allow it to dry in place before vacuuming off.
Commercially produced carpet scents of the shake-on-and-vacuum-off are among some of the worst offenders for sources of household toxins – even worse than window cleaning products, as people (especially people under the age of five) often get close to the carpets and breathe them in. This recipe will have your carpets smelling nice and fresh – both by eliminating foul odours and by putting a fresh scent into your house – but without the hazardous toxins.
* 1 cup of baking soda
* 20 drops essential oil (suggested oils: lavender, lemon, neroli, grapefruit, petitgrain or cinnamon)
Blend together well and store in a screw-top jar in a dark cupboard for a week to allow the essential oils to permeate the baking soda. Sprinkle the powder as generously or as sparingly as you like over your carpets and leave it to sit for about five minutes or more to absorb any unpleasant odours. Then vacuum the powder up. As an added bonus, the scent will get blown out the back of your vacuum cleaner as you continue cleaning the whole house.
While regular vacuuming is your best ally against preventing fleas from infesting your pets and your furniture, sometimes you need a bit of extra help. This spray will chase the fleas away thanks to the pennyroyal. After all, the Latin name for pennyroyal is Mentha pulgefugium, which means “mint that makes fleas run away”.
* 20 drops essential oil of pennyroyal
* ½ pint vinegar
* ½ pint water
Shake the ingredients together in a spray-top bottle and squirt lightly over any carpets or pet bedding you suspect to be infested. If you can’t get essential oil of pennyroyal, boil the water and vinegar together and add a large bunch of fresh pennyroyal to the mixture and allow it to steep, covered, until cool. Strain and bottle, then use as normal.