(Spot test your carpets before trying any of this. Sal Suds are gentler on color than traditional carpet detergents, but do the test just to make sure.)
With three kids and two dogs and a big backyard full of dirt, my carpets get about as dirty as they can. So as you read how I clean them, don’t scoff at the miniscule amount of Sal Suds that I use. It works. You’re welcome to try out using more. Just be sure to invite me to the bubble party you’ll be throwing in the aftermath.
Sal Suds works great on carpets. Sal Suds is called a “hard surface cleaner”, but it works in many soft surface applications, such as laundry and carpets. It has taken some trial and error, and many bubbles to figure it out. The long and short of it is, the biggest mistake you can make is to use too much Sal Suds. It takes a good bit of time to get all the extra suds out of the carpet.
Spot Cleaning with a Carpet Cleaner:
Using my spray bottle with the diluted Sal Suds, I spray the spots very sparingly with the solution. Do not try to saturate the spot with the Sal Suds spray. Just use one or two squirts over the spot. (Of course, it does depend on the size of your “spot”, but just be sparing.)
Then, fill the carpet cleaner only with hot water. If you have a separate cleaner tank, fill it only with hot water, too. Run the carpet cleaner over the spots until they’re gone, and run the cleaner with the dryer only over the wet areas to extract the water and the Sal Suds. Rub your fingers into the carpet to check for remaining bubbles.
Whole floor Cleaning with a Carpet Cleaner:
There are so many different types of carpet cleaners, so you’ll have to take what I say and adapt it to your particular device. I have a Bissell. It has a separate rinse water tank that holds about 2 quarts of water and cleaning solution tank that holds about 2 cups. In the solution tank, I fill it with hot water; then I add 1 DROP of Sal Suds. I want to emphasize 1 DROP of Sal Suds. One, Uno, Eins. Seriously. That’s it. I fill the rinse water tank with one (1) cup of regular white vinegar and then the rest of the way with hot water. (The vinegar is for deodorizing purposes. If you’re concerned about the color-fastness of your carpet, or rug, be sure to spot test this first. Or you can leave the vinegar out.)
On the carpet, I run the carpet cleaner over each strip twice while spraying the solution. Then I run it over 3 or 4 times to suck out the dirty stuff. When I pour out the dirty rinse water, it is horrifically, yet satisfyingly filthy. The carpet cleaner is clearly cleaning.
Rub your fingers into the carpet to make sure there are no bubbles left. If you find some, fill the carpet cleaner, and the solution tank with plain hot water and run that over your carpets.
I also need to mention that using Sal Suds in your carpet cleaner may void your warranty. Mind you, I’m not saying that using Sal Suds will break your carpet cleaner. However, it’s oftentimes a little footnote in the warranty that if you don’t buy that company’s special stuff, and keep funneling your dollars their way, they won’t honor the warranty. You’ll need to make your choice with this one. You can see that I’ve already made mine.
Spot Cleaning By Hand
Sal Suds works just as well by hand. Once again, you want to be careful not to apply too much Sal Suds to the spot. I spray the spot sparingly with my Sal Suds spray. Then, I gently rub the spot with a rag dipped in a bucket of plain hot water. Keep rinsing the rag and rubbing some more until the spots are lifted out and no Sal Suds remains.
Regardless of which of the above methods you use, it is crucial that no Sal Suds are left in the carpet.
Sal Suds – and any detergent or soap – attract dirt. That’s how they work – they hold on to it. I’ll write more details about that another time, so take my word for it now, that if you leave Sal Suds in your carpet, you will get a worse spot. If you’ve accidentally used too much, there’s nothing to do but keep rinsing.
If anyone tries this with different brands of carpet cleaners, share here how it works for others with the same model.