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How to Clean Carpet with Baking Soda (Mar. 2022) • Outlinist

4 Reasons Why You Should Not Use Baking Soda As A Carpet Cleaner

Below are our top reasons we do not suggest you use baking soda to clean your carpets. We feel the negatives clearly outweigh any perceived positives.

1. Experts Do Not Recommend It

You will be hard-pressed to find a true carpet expert that says using baking soda on your carpet is a good idea. We spoke to several vacuum manufacturers and carpet industry associations, and none of them suggested using baking soda to clean your carpet.

Vacuum Manufacturers

For example, here is our conversation with Dyson, a leading brand for vacuums. We asked them if it is ok to use baking soda on our carpet and then use a Dyson to vacuum it up.

As you can see, the response is very clear. While

As you can see, the response is very clear. While we will go into more reasons not to use baking soda on your carpet below, one of the biggest reason why is because true experts like Dyson say not to.

Industry Associations

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) does not list anywhere on their website that baking soda is an approved cleaner for carpet.

Even carpet manufacturers such as Shaw, do not list baking soda an acceptable and approved way to clean carpets.

Later in the article we provide suggestions on what types of cleaners are best for carpet.

Real World Testing

Furthermore, check out this video analysis done by the Performance Reviews team. They come to the same conclusion as our team here at Floor Critics.

2. Baking Soda Cannot Be Fully Vacuumed Up

One myth is that residential vacuums will be able to pick up all of the baking soda from the carpet. This is not true.

As described in point #1 above, you should not use a vacuum cleaner to pickup baking soda. But if you do, there will still be a lot of baking soda that remains in the carpet that a vacuum will not be able to pick up. The particles are so small that they will make their way deep into the carpet.

In the picture of a test done by Dillon Cleans you can see even after six separate vacuuming sessions, the amount of baking soda that came out each time. What’s even more astonishing is that over half of the baking soda still left in the carpet.

3. Baking Soda is An Abrasive Material That Will Cause Damage To Your Carpet Fibers and Padding

We agree that baking soda has a useful purpose for cleaning many things, carpet is just not one of them.

Baking soda (known as sodium bicarbonate) is considered an abrasive cleaner. while it great for absorbing odor and wetness, it sticks to the carpet fibers. As described above, you will never be able to get all the baking soda out. So every time you walk on your carpet the abrasive particles act like sandpaper and rub against your carpet fibers and slowly start to wear down the carpet.

You may not notice right away, but the useful life of your carpet will be reduced. Is it worth taking a risk to use baking soda on your carpet? Not one we suggest you take.

4. Baking Soda Can Ruin the Electric Motors on Vacuums and Can Clog Vacuum Filters

Manufacturers such as Dyson warn against using a vacuum to pick of powders such as baking soda, and we fully agree,

In many cases, the baking soda will overload the filters on the vacuum and the particles will bypass the filter and ruin the motor.

Why take the risk of spending hundreds of dollars on a new vacuum and then risk motor damage? It it critical that you read your vacuum’s warranty. In many cases the warranty will be void if things like baking soda are used.

Removing Greasy Stains

If you have little kids in the house, you probably spend a lot of your time removing greasy stains from your carpets.

Greasy stains such as those from oil or face creams are challenging to clean because they leave behind very stubborn marks. However, there is no stain that a handful of baking soda can’t remove.

For a greasy stain, you first need to blot up as much of the grease as possible with the help of a paper towel. Make sure that you blot it by patting down the paper towel.

Avoid rubbing the grease because that will make the stain worse by setting it deep into the carpet. Once the blotting is done, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on the stain and let it sit overnight.

Doing the above will allow the soda to absorb as much grease as possible, which will make it easier for you to remove the stain.

Many homeowners often hesitate to use baking soda on a wet carpet, especially in the case of a wet, greasy stain. However, it is perfectly safe to use it on a damp carpet since it helps in drying.

Vacuum the stained areas properly the next morning, and in case the grease marks are still there, try blotting with soapy water and a towel.


Can I Vacuum Baking Soda with My Dyson?

It depends on the filter. The issue with vacuuming baking soda is that not every vacuum cleaner prevents fine particles, like baking soda, from getting through to the motor.

If baking soda gets into the motor, it can break the Dyson vacuum. Unfortunately, this has happened with some Dyson customers.

You should read your manufacturer’s instructions to see what they say about fine particles and carpet cleaners. Generally, bagged vacuums are best for fine particles.

Fabric Matters

The fabric of your carpet plays an important role in deciding the type of method you should be used for stain removal. So, here we have some tricks that you can use to remove stains from any type of fabric. Take a look at the top 3 tricks that you can opt for soda stain removal.

How to Clean Carpets Using Both Vinegar and Baking Soda

  Tried the methods above, but still looking at an unsightly stain on your carpet or still catching a whiff of something unpleasant? Then you may need to bust out the big guns: a baking soda and vinegar mixture. But before we get to the steps you’ll need to take, let’s talk about why this mixture is so powerful.

Why Use a Mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar?

  As you’ve seen, baking soda is extremely absorbent. Because it absorbs both grease and odors, it is great at removing these things from a stain and deodorizing. Meanwhile, vinegar is a natural disinfectant because it is made of acetic acid. In fact, it’s so acidic that it can kill bacteria while also dissolving dirt and grease which cause stains. It can also be used as a cleaner on its own if you just need to disinfect an area (but be careful not to use it on granite countertops or wood floors, where the acid can actually harm your surface).

Now, when these two ingredients are combined, they cause a chemical reaction which results in fizzing and crackling as the acidic vinegar transfers its proton to the absorbent base of baking soda. You may recall this chemical reaction from your school science project days – remember the volcano of baking soda and vinegar?

The end result is that you get all of the disinfecting and dissolving power of vinegar, in addition to the absorbing and deodorizing powers of baking soda, combined with the fizzing reaction which moves the mixture throughout the stain and helps to give them both some extra cleaning power. So, instead of just absorbing or just disinfecting, you’re taking care of both at the same time and the stain should be completely cleaned and removed.

Some cleaning companies use this mixture during a very heavy duty cleaning such as a deep clean or a move out clean to get rid of tough stains.

How to Use the Mixture of Baking Soda and Vinegar

  Now, to clean with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda, you should adhere to the following steps in order (we don’t want a volcano science project, after all):

  1. First, make sure that you are using white vinegar. White vinegar is clear and will not leave any discoloration, which is possible with other types of vinegar.
  2. Next, you should cover the stain with the white vinegar, being sure to leave the area wet but not completely soggy.
  3. Then you’ll need to sprinkle dry baking soda over the vinegar and stain, making sure to cover every bit of it. You should start to hear fizzing and crackling, which indicates that the chemical reaction is beginning. You may even see some bubbles form and move around a little – this is a good thing.
  4. Now it’s time to wait! You’ll probably need to let it sit overnight, but the key is to wait until the vinegar has completely dried. As it dries, the smell of the vinegar should dissipate.
  5. Finally, you’ll just need to vacuum up the baking soda. If there’s more than a little left in the spot, you may want to scoop some of it up first.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a fresh and spot-free carpet. If there’s still a slight stain or smell, you can repeat as many times as needed.  

Spot treat stains and impressions

You want to start with stains. Whether you’re dealing with mud (thanks kids), blood, a coffee stain or red wine (oops), if it’s wet, blot it carefully with kitchen roll to remove as much of it as possible, but don’t overdo it as this can actually make it spread further. Then use your favorite stain removal method  to lift the mark while it’s fresh. Act quickly.

If your carpet stain is dry, use a blunt scraper or a hard brush to loosen the debris, vacuum, then treat it and shampoo wash your carpet as above.

Then, try and remove any dents and impressions left on the carpet by heavy furniture by rubbing an ice cube over the area.

More of our favorite carpet stain removal methods include:

  • Ironing: Iron out stains in the carpet by soaking a cloth or flannel in water, placing on the stain and running a hot iron across it. The heat will start to break up the stains, making the carpet easier to clean. This is a great way to remove spilt wax too.
  • Go organic: If the stain in question is of organic origin, and especially if it’s the result of a pet-related accident, consider using an organic stain remover, such as the Ecos Stain & Odour Remover. We’ve used it on all kinds of stains, from food stains to pet urine, and it really works. As with other stain removing products, ideally apply sooner rather than later.
  • Pre-treat if deep-set: Remove any tough marks and stains you can see with a pre-treatment before you begin deep cleaning your carpet. A treatment such as Bissell Pre-Cleaner would be ideal. This will loosen the stain making it easier for your carpet cleaner to fully wash it away. 

Top tip: Test any stain removers on an inconspicuous section of carpet as soon as you buy. This will save you from potentially ruining your carpet in a panic when a stain occurs. And, patience is important so leave your stain treatment of choice to work its magic for 15 minutes or so. Be careful not to over-wet the carpet as this could make dye from the underlay seep through.

Baking soda treatment for carpets with tougher smells

There are carpets that will require more than the ordinary cleaning process because of the tough smell. With this type of carpet, it is important to sniff it first after you are through with the initial treatment. If there is still some bad small coming, a second treatment will be inevitable. In this case, the use of baking soda alone might not be as effective as you wish. Therefore, it will be important to shampoo the carpet first before you do the baking soda treatment. This will increase the chances of eliminating the bad smell and dirt completely. If there is no shampoo, another appropriate alternative is the use of white vinegar that has been mixed with water. After washing the carpet, make sure that it is completely dry before you begin the process of cleaning with baking soda. 

Alternatively, you can also scent the baking soda if you are dealing with very smelly carpets. The fresh scent will help to dilute the old smell. You can add drops of essential oil to the baking soda and then stir. Apart from cedar, other notable fresh scents that will be of help include lavender, lemongrass, and eucalyptus. ConclusionCarpet cleaning is not as simple and easy affair because of the different issues involved. Cleaning the carpet involves a lot of steps if you want to get rid of the debris and dust from the inside areas of the carpet. In the end, you also want to maintain the good looks of your carpet so that it doesn’t look old. This is why the right cleaning methods must be applied to clean the carpet and still maintain its good looks. Baking soda provides a memorably appropriate solution as the perfect cleaning agent.