Homemade DIY Carpet Cleaning Solution Recipes w/ Dawn & Peroxide & Copycat Rug Doctor

Awesome DIY Carpet Cleaner & Clothing Spot Remover Recipe. #DIYCarpet Spotter #DIYClothingStainRemover #DIYCopycatRugDoctorSolution

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If you’re looking for DIY Carpet Cleaning tips and recipes this is the place. On this page, we’ll share how we spot and clean our carpets. We’ll give you the formulas for our DIY carpet spotting solution and our Rug Doctor copycat solution. We’ll also tell you about the equipment we use to keep our carpets looking brand new.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer you’re going to love the information on this page.

How Much Does It Cost to Clean A Carpet

We’ve all heard carpet cleaning ads on the radio or TV. You know those ads where they say they’ll clean 3 standard-sized rooms for $100?

But when the company to comes to your home there are usually upcharges.

  • Do you want them to pre-spot? They may charge extra.
  • Do you want a stain repellant like Scotchgard? That will cost more also.

While these costs may be unknown, you can do it yourself for just a few dollars. We’ll share how much you can expect to spend getting your carpet clean.

Hiring A Carpet Cleaning Company

According to HomeAdvisor.com, carpet cleaning companies price their work either by the room or by square footage.

  • By The Room: You can expect to pay between $120 and $250 to clean the carpet in 3 rooms.
  • By Square Foot: Expect to pay between $.20 and $.30 (20 to 30 cents) per square foot. 1000 square feet would cost between $200 and $300.

Get the Recipe and Watch a Video on
How to Make for A
Rug Doctor Copycat Solution

Renting A Carpet Cleaning Machine

If you want to save some money, rent a carpet cleaning machine. There are several places where you can rent one near you.

  1. Most grocery stores rent Rug Doctor machines.
  2. Many home improvement stores have either Rug Doctor machines or heavy-duty carpet cleaners for rent.
  3. Equipment rental companies usually rent carpet cleaning equipment.

Cost for DIY Machine Rentals

We researched a few national options so you could have an idea of the cost of renting a carpet cleaner.

  • Rug Doctor Rental cost is approximately $29.99 for a 24-hour rental. There are 40,000 locations.
  • Home Depot Tool Rental:
    • Rug Doctor Machine: approximately $22 for 4 hours or $31 for 24 Hours
    • Extraction Machine: $47 for 4 hours $67 for 24 hours. This type of machine is more like what the professionals use. It has more suction power and a built-in heater to keep the water hot.
  • Lowes Carpet Cleaner Rental
    • Rental of a Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner: approximately $30 for 24 hours.
    • Buy the Bissell Big Green Carpet Cleaner for $469

You might be able to find lower prices by calling independent rental companies in your area. Do a Google Search for “carpet cleaning rental equipment near me.”

We found prices of about $50 for a 24-hour rental of a commercial carpet cleaning machine.

Best Home Carpet Cleaning Machines – Save Money

A Bissell Home Carpet Cleaner on grey carpet.

If you want to save even more money in the long run, buy your own carpet cleaning machine.

We were given a Hoover Carpet cleaner (Steamvac Wide Path) several years ago (about $120 on Amazon). Steve cleaned it up inside and out and it’s been working great ever since.

You can find used carpet cleaners on Craigslist, Offerup and Facebook Marketplace.

Or you can buy a new one from Amazon. Steve recently purchased a new carpet cleaner for an office where he consults.

He looked at Amazon’s most popular carpet cleaners.

In the end, they purchased this Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe carpet cleaner for less than $130. It not only dispenses carpet shampoo, it also has a separate reservoir to rinse the carpet and remove shampoo residue.

Both of these machines work great and need very little maintenance. And they cost less than the price of 3 rentals of a Rug Doctor machine.

Buying your own machine and making your own cleaning solutions will really save you money.

Hoover Deluxe Carpet cleaner

Our Story—Spots Returned after Rug Doctor Cleaning

It was about 10 years ago before we had our own carpet cleaning machine. We’d been in our home for about 13 years and the carpet was in need of deep cleaning. We spotted regularly, but with 5 kids in the house and 2 dogs who occasionally came in the house, it was time.

We moved all of the furniture out of the family room. Steve spotted the carpet using a mixture of water and vinegar. Then he went to a local grocery store and rented a Rug Doctor machine. He also purchased a quart of Rug Doctor carpet cleaning solution.

The carpet looked pretty good after he had gone over it two times. The stains from the kids and the dogs looked like they had been removed. And the water that the machine sucked out of the carpet was FILTHY!

We let the carpet dry and moved back all of the furniture the next day. The project took about 6 hours total—not including drying time. You can imagine our frustration when all of the stains resurfaced within 6 months. It was really discouraging.

Homemade Carpet Stain Remover Using Dawn & Hydrogen Peroxide

Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide - Miracle Satin Remover for Carpets and Clothes.

This is our solution for cleaning stains off of carpets and clothes. It even works on tablecloths that have been washed and dried. The formula is 2 ounces of Blue Dawn and 6 ounces of Hydrogen Peroxide

Steve was on a mission. He wanted those stains completely eliminated. So he researched all of the options. He looked into Pet Urine removers and powerful commercial carpet-spotting solutions. Then he decided to look for homemade do-it-yourself carpet spotting recipes.

He stumbled on a recipe that used blue Dawn dish soap and Hydrogen Peroxide.

He knew that Dawn was a powerful degreaser when used on dishes. It has also been used to “degrease” rescued animals who were coated with oil during oil spills.

And hydrogen peroxide is a well know cleanser with loads of uses in the home.

Related Resource: Cleaning & Cleaning Products Money Saving Tips

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We had both Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide (3 percent solution) in the house, so he mixed up the recipe.

In the next section, we’ll share the recipe and how to use it.

The Best Carpet Spotting Solution

Here’s the formula for our Cleaning Solution

  • – 6 oz Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution- using a brown bottle from a drug store)
  • – 2 oz Dawn Dish Soap (blue-original formula)

It’s a 3-to-1 ratio.

Printable Bottle Label

DIY Dawn and Peroxide Carpet Spotting Solution.

Download a .pdf of this label here or by clicking on the image. Print and tape to your spray bottle to keep the recipe where you can easily find it.

Click on the image to download a .pdf version that you can print out and tape onto your own bottle.

Video: Mix & Use DIY Carpet/Clothing Stain Remover

Testing the Homemade Carpet Spotting Solution

Then he tested this homemade solution on a hidden area of the carpet.

He put this solution in a spray bottle and lightly sprayed the carpet. He used a clean white rag and rubbed the solution into the carpet. Then he scrubbed the area in several directions. The white rag was now grey.

Then he took a spray bottle of water and rinsed the carpet. He sprayed a bit of water on the same area and scrubbed it with another clean rag. This rag turned a little grey also.

He blotted the area as dry as possible and then waited about an hour to see if the homemade solution damaged anything.

It didn’t bleach or stain the carpet, so he tried it on the nastiest stain in the room. It was an area that we had cleaned with a conventional cleaning solution several times.

Monitoring the Carpet Spots

Just like we did with the Rug Doctor solution, we watched the areas we cleaned for several months to see if the stains returned. The reason we were skeptical is that the rented carpet cleaner made the carpet look clean too.

But 6 months later, the stains still hadn’t returned. The peroxide and dawn cleaning solution really worked.

There are other uses for this recipe – keep reading

Hydrogen Peroxide Spot Remover for Laundry and Upholstery

After seeing what this stain remover could do with carpet, we decided to try it on other dirty things.

Laundry Uses

We use this same Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide spotting solution on the toughest laundry stains and it gets them out.

Soil Stains: Arizona’s clay soil leaves some nasty orange stains in Steve’s shirts that he wears when doing yard work. Spraying the spot remover on the stain before washing guarantees that it will be gone.

Oil Stains: If Steve works on the car or is using a chainsaw and gets oil stains on his clothes they don’t stand a chance.

Table Cloths: Probably the most amazing use has been on white polyester tablecloths. We’ve hosted or helped to host four weddings. In the process, we’ve accumulated dozens of 120-inch round tablecloths. Some are white and others are black. We purchased all of the tablecloths used from either Craigslist or Offerup. Several of them had stains that were set in. They had been washed and dried in a drier.

Usually, when a stain has been put through the drier, it is permanent.

We decided to give the Dawn and Peroxide spotting solution a try. Some of the spots took two treatments, but all of them came out.

Inspecting the stains: After washing we would hold up the tablecloths in bright sunlight to inspect them. The spots are totally gone – no residue at all.

Watch this video where Steve and Annette show you several uses for the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide mixture.

Upholstery Uses

We’ve used the same spotting solution in our Hoover Carpet Cleaner using the upholstery attachment. Cleaning a couch is not as easy as cleaning a carpet, but it is super rewarding.

A dear friend of ours purchased an antique couch with a floral design. It had been stored for several months in a dusty garage and also had dirt from the original owner on it. Steve took on this project when we were visiting her for a weekend.

Steve used the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide spotting mixture as his primary cleaning solution. With some elbow grease, hot water, and the Hoover Carpet cleaner he made the couch look much better. The water he extracted from the couch is a different story – it was “muddy.”

A couch that is partially cleaned with a spotting solution of Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide.
Our friend’s couch in the process of being cleaned with the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide solution. Before and after picture.

How Much Does the Spotting Solution Cost?

We calculated the cost of mixing up 6 ounces of Hydrogen Peroxide with 2 Ounces of Blue Dawn dish soap.

Price Assumptions:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide 16 oz bottle: $.52 (.0325 cents per ounce)
  • Blue Dawn Dish Soap 41 oz bottle: $5.49 (13.3 cents per ounce)

The total Cost for 8 ounces of the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide spotting solution is 46.1 cents.

For less than 50 cents you can have this powerful solution at your disposal.

It would be hard to find a more effective spotting solution for less.

FAQ About The Peroxide Spotting Solution

  • Can you use Hydrogen Peroxide for stains on carpet? Yes, you can. Always test a small, out-of-the-way section first to ensure it won’t damage or discolor.
  • Is it safe to put hydrogen peroxide on carpets? According to lots of DIY websites and MarthaStewart.com, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution is safe to use on carpets and in the laundry.
  • Will Peroxide Bleach Carpet? If your Hydrogen Peroxide is stronger than 3% bleaching may occur. Read the label carefully and ONLY USE 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. The label should say something like 3”% Hydrogen Peroxide Topical Solution USP First Aid Antiseptic Oral Debriding Agent.”

Carpet Cleaner Solutions – Store-Bought and Homemade

Part of the cost of cleaning a carpet is shampoo. Carpet shampoo is not that expensive. But it can be a time waster if you run out of shampoo in the middle of the job. Below you’ll find pricing for top-rated carpet cleaning solutions from Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon.

After the retail prices, we’ll share a copycat recipe that works as good as most of these solutions and smells better.

Retail Carpet Cleaning Solutions

We gathered these retail carpet shampoo prices in September 2018. The links will take you to a page on each site that will show you all of the shampoos they carry.

Prices range from $8 to $24.50.

  • Walmart – All Carpet Shampoo Prices
    • Hoover Expert Pet Carpet Washer Detergent, Gallon –  $24.48
    • Krud Kutter Carpet Cleaner, Gallon – $9.38
    • Rug Doctor Oxy-Steam Carpet Cleaner, 64 oz – $14.97
  • Amazon – All Top Rated Carpet Shampoo Prices
    • Nature’s Miracle Deep Cleaning Pet Stain and Odor Carpet Shampoo, 64oz – $13.48
    • Bissell Deep Clean Pro 2X Deep Cleaning Concentrated Carpet Shampoo, 48 oz – $21.48
    • Hoover CleanPlus Concentrated Carpet Cleaner and Deodorizer, 64 oz – $18.88
    • Rug Doctor Oxy Deep Cleaner Solution, 96 oz. – $21.97

DIY Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solutions – Like Rug Doctor

Several years ago we were cleaning our master bedroom carpet and ran out of Rug Doctor carpet cleaning solution. We had some leftover from a previous carpet cleaning. Rather than run to the store, we looked for a homemade option and found these two.

We used the first recipe because we had all of the components in the house. The ingredients were all from the Dollar Store.

Both of these homemade carpet cleaners will work in Bissell and Hoover machines.

Option 1: Dollar Store Carpet Cleaner Solution:

We love this “Rug Doctor” solution because it smells like fresh, clean laundry.

  • 2 Tablespoons Liquid Tide Laundry Detergent (or any liquid, laundry non-bleach detergent)
  • 1/4 cup yellow LA’s Totally Awesome Cleaner (Dollar Store brand)
  • 1 scoop Oxyclean (we used generic Dollar Store brand)
  • Hot Water, one gallon

We liked this first option because it smelled nicer than using the vinegar and ammonia below, AND it worked great! Give it a try – it’s really inexpensive and does a fine job cleaning.

DIY Carpet Cleaner recipe - Rug Doctor Copycat.

Download a .pdf of this label here or by clicking on the image. Print and tape to your spray bottle to keep the recipe where you can easily find it.

– Video: Homemade Rug Doctor Solution Recipes

Watch as Steve mixes up this Dollar Store version of the Rug Doctor copycat recipe. You’ll even see our trusty old Hoover Carpet Cleaning machine in action.

How Much Does the Dollar Store Carpet Cleaner Cost?

These ingredients will mix up 1 gallon of carpet cleaning solution.

Ingredients and Prices (September 2018)

  • Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent, Original, 40 fl oz – $5.24 ($.131 per oz)
  • LA’s Totally Awesome Orange Cleaner, 32 oz – $1 ($.031 per ounce)
  • LA’s Totally Awesome Oxygen Orange, 32 oz powder – $1 ($.031 per ounce)

The total cost to mix up one gallon of this carpet cleaning solution is $.25! That’s right one-quarter of a dollar.

Option 2: Dish Soap, Ammonia, and Vinegar DIY Carpet Cleaner Solution

  • 1 Tablespoon of clear dishwashing liquid (non-moisturizing),
  • 1/4 cup of ammonia
  • 1/4 cup of vinegar
  • 1 gallon of water

Cost for the Ammonia and Vinegar Carpet Cleaner Solution

These ingredients will mix up 1 gallon of carpet cleaning solution.

Ingredients and Prices (September 2018)

  • Clear Dishwashing Liquid-24 oz – $2.67  ($.11 per oz)
  • Ammonia  64 oz – $.98 ($.022 per ounce)
  • Vinegar 128 oz – $2.48 ($.02 per ounce)

The total cost to mix up one gallon of this carpet cleaning solution is $.144! Less than 15 cents!

Wrap up on DIY Homemade Carpeting Spotting and Cleaning Solutions

By spotting and cleaning our carpets by ourselves, we’ve kept them serviceable for more than 23 years.

If you take our advice and purchase your own carpet cleaning machine and use it once or twice each year, your carpets will look awesome.

If you rented a carpet cleaner once each year and used one gallon of solution it would cost you about $80 per year. In 10 years you would have spent $800.

But if you buy a carpet cleaner for $120 and use our homemade solutions you’ll really save. In 10 years time, you will have spent less than $130. That’s an 84% savings!

Photos of dirty and clean carpet and a description of DIY carpet cleaning solution.

New Carpeting

We just put new carpet in our living room and family room.

Now that the kids are gone, we splurged a little and bought a thicker, softer carpet. We vacuum regularly and enjoy playing on the floor with our grandkids. Steve just started giving horseback rides and they are a huge hit.

We look forward to many years on this wonderful new carpet. Especially now that we have the DIY Carpet Cleaner Spotting Solution and the DIY Rug Doctor Copycat Solution!

If you want to keep your carpeting looking new read these 7 tips from BobVila.com.

If you like cleaning tips, check out this blog for how to get blood out of sheets, as well as the best dish soap test!

For more money-saving ideas & tips, consider our first book, America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money. It has strategies for saving money in every area of household spending!

24 thoughts on “Homemade DIY Carpet Cleaning Solution Recipes w/ Dawn & Peroxide & Copycat Rug Doctor

  1. Pingback: 75 nifty ways to use dish soap around the home

  2. amartin25


    Hello, I found this solution recipe via a search and YouTube. I left a comment on there, but not sure how often you check either of these mediums for new posts as this article is older. BuI I thought I would post here, too:

    Your solution is mixed with a gallon of water, then you poured it directly into your cleaner. I have a Hoover two reservoir carpet cleaner that mixes the water and cleaning solution. The cleaning solution reservoir is way smaller holding about 14 oz, and the water reservoir holds about 1 gal of water. I am not sure if I use your measurements, if the created solution will just be diluted and not effective as it mixes more with the water. Can you please advise?

    1. Steve Economides

      Sure – we’ve used it everywhere. We do recommend doing it in stages though. 1. use just water and a clean rag. 2. If that doesn’t work, then spray just a little of the dawn and hydrogen peroxide solution on the area. Then rub it in and all around with a damp rag. 3. spray with water and blot with a clean rag – the goal is to remove as much of the peroxide and dawn solution as possible. If the area foams while blotting or rinsing, then you still have some of the soap in the carpet – keep rinsing. 4. If the area is wet or moist, use a fan to dry before walking on the carpeting.

  3. Nic

    Vinegar and baking soda are amazing cleaners! I don’t know why people use so many chemicals when there are natural ways of cleaning that work great!

  4. Natalie

    Hi I was curious as to what steps your husband took in getting your friends antique couch so clean? Specifically what order of steps he found worked best for getting it nice and clean. My mother has an old couch that hasn’t been cleaned very well over the years so it has acquired some unsightly spots. I would like to try out your husband’s method for cleaning it before my mother resorts to buying new furniture.

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      The steps were pretty simple. We mixed up our carpet cleaning solution and put it in a hoover carpet cleaner. Then Steve sprayed each area of the couch with the Dawn and Hydrogen Peroxide spotting solution. After he let the spotting solution sit for a few minutes he used the Hoover’s hand suction device – it dispenses cleaning solution and sucks it up.

      He went over each area in 2 directions and we saw awesome results.

  5. Rashna

    Hi I have a Vax Carpet washer and wanted to know if you can use the DIY carpet cleaner solution in the vax carpet washer. You mention that this Rug Doctor copycat solution can be used in a Hoover or Boswell carpet washer. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Rashna – we’re not familiar with the Vac Carpet Cleaner. We would recommend testing with a small amount of the homemade carpet cleaning solution.

  6. greg

    Made the mistake of spending 60 bucks on top Bissel cleaning solution. Used DYI #1 and was amazed at how much better it was! Thought it was just a matter of time before I had to buy new carpet. Now I can put that off hopefully for a few years. Thanks!

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Wow Greg! So glad you tried the DIY carpet cleaning solution. We love it too … especially the fresh laundry smell it leaves behind.

  7. Kelly

    I’ve used it for a couple years now and it works wonders especially living with a toddler, 2 dogs, and my husband. Just a tip- if you have left over formula make sure you store it in an actual brown peroxide bottle (most generic spray nozzles will fit). Once peroxide is exposed to sunlight it weakens the strength tremendously. That’s why peroxide is sold in the brown bottle!

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      You could use a shot glass (usually about an ounce) or small pyrex measuring cup (1 cup is 8 ounces and most smaller measuring cups have ounce marks on the side). To make a large batch of the carpet cleaner, just multiply the amount of the ingredients by 2, 3 or 4 (depending on how much you want to make).

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Yes, we’ve used this same dawn and hydrogen peroxide solution on the upholstery in our car and on the carpeting. Just be careful and test with a small, out of the way area first.

  8. Angelia Peterson

    Clan you use ONLY the DIY solution in the carpet cleaner or do you need to use the cleaner that comes with it and only use the DIY for tough spots?

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      We use the Peroxide and Dawn DIY carpet cleaning solution to prespot the carpet. We use a standard carpet cleaner solution for doing the entire room.

  9. Judy

    Excellent formula! I didn’t have two spray bottles, so I put the solution in a bowl. I used a rubber brush. Many stains came out before my eyes. I’m surprised you can store this. I always thought hydrogen peroxide is only good for a little while after it is poured out from the bottle. My carpet is 30 years old. It had stains that were there a long time. I’m very happy you posted this. I will be able to hang on to this carpet

    1. Steve Economides Post author

      Drew – we’ve been using this diy carpet cleaning recipe for more than 4 years. We’ve used it on carpeting and as a stain remover on clothes. It really works well. We keep it in a spray bottle by our washing machine.

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