Baking soda has earned a reputation as the go-to household carpet cleaner. However, sometimes it can cause a mess of its own!
If you’ve got baking soda stuck in your carpet or it has left behind a white stain, read on to learn how to clean it up easily.
To get baking soda out of a carpet, start with dry brushing to bust up clumps and either vacuum or shake the rug to remove the powder. If this isn’t enough, use a water and vinegar mixture to wet the spot and then dab until the baking soda is gone. If available, a carpet cleaner can get out any super tough stains.
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Can You Use Baking Soda as a Carpet Cleaner?
When I was growing up, my mom must have single-handedly kept Arm & Hammer in business. In her eyes, baking soda was the only cleaning solution a person could ever need.
It was sprinkled in the bottom of our garbage can, kept in a bowl at the back of our fridge, and quickly dabbed onto any mud or grass stains we got while playing in the yard.
So, of course, whenever there was a mess on the carpet, be it spilled juice or cat vomit, my mother was always quick on the scene with her trusty baking soda in hand.
Even when there was no mess, I remember her sprinkling it across the entire home once every month or so to keep the carpets fresh.
After moving out on my own for the first time, I too became a believer in the power of baking soda. Especially after moving into a home with wall-to-wall light beige carpeting with our dog and two toddlers!
Spill after spill, I turned to the Arm & Hammer to save my carpets. Or so I thought.
As it turns out, baking soda can actually be pretty damaging to your carpets, air quality, and even your vacuum cleaner!
The ultra-fine particles of the powder are nearly impossible to remove from a carpet or vacuum filter completely. After years of use, it’s sure to build up in and under your carpet and maybe even trap odors rather than neutralizing them.
Even more alarmingly, dried-up baking soda mixtures can create stains and clumpy messes that cling to carpet fibers. If you’ve found yourself in this predicament after a panic-fueled carpet cleaning spree, don’t fear! Read on for tips to remove a baking soda stain from your carpet.
First Step: Dry Clean With or Without a Vacuum
When dealing with baking soda stuck in a carpet, it’s always best to try to clean the spot dry first.
After it gets wet, you can sometimes find yourself in a sticky situation (quite literally!), so you should remove as much as possible while it is dry before resorting to water and vinegar.
First, take a bush with stiff bristles and scrub the spot vigorously to loosen up as many clumps as possible.
In a pinch, I even once used our dog’s wire-pin fur brush to bust up carpet clumps. It works pretty well, although I wouldn’t recommend this kind of brush for a rug with tall piles like a shag rug.
Once you’ve scrubbed and gotten the baking soda loose, vacuum the spot thoroughly. If your vacuum has a turbo brush attachment, definitely use it!
You can even try using the regular tube attachment to scrape at the baking soda clumps while vacuuming them up.
If you don’t have a vacuum, take the carpet outside and beat it or shake it vigorously to remove the loose baking soda.
If, however, it’s not possible to pick up or remove the carpet, move on to the wet-cleaning stage to remove the loose baking soda without a vacuum.
Wet the Carpet to Loosen Tough Spots
If brushing and vacuuming don’t cut it, you can try cleaning the carpet with water and vinegar to remove the baking soda. For this, you will need a 3:1 water and vinegar solution in a spray bottle or with a sponge for application.
If you can pick up your carpet, soak the spot thoroughly with the mixture before dabbing with a towel using all of your body weight. This should help dissolve the baking soda without it getting too sticky.
Repeat this process until the baking soda is removed, and then take the carpet outside or hang it up to let it dry.
If you cannot remove your carpet or pick it up to dry, avoid adding too much liquid at once. This could lead to a soggy carpet bottom and unwanted smells or even mold!
Just add enough of the vinegar mixture to get the carpet top wet and then dab with a towel. Repeat this process until the baking soda is gone, and then use a hair dryer or fan to dry the spot completely.
If your carpet smells like vinegar after using this method, don’t worry! The smell usually goes away after the carpet has totally dried and had some time to air out.
You can also use a spray like Febreeze to speed up the process if the smell bothers you too much.
Last Resort: Rent a Machine
When everything else has failed, a carpet cleaning machine or a steam cleaner might be the last option to save your carpet.
If you don’t want to spend the money on hiring a professional for this job, you can also usually rent one of these machines from most hardware stores, such as Home Depot.
If your family is very stain-prone like ours, you might want to invest in a small carpet spot cleaner to handle day-to-day messes much more effectively.
Baking soda, while commonly used as a carpet cleaner, can actually result in even more mess!
Get it out using the tips above and next time, opt for a carpet cleaning machine or products specifically marketed for carpet cleaning like this powder or spray. If everything else fails, you may have to take the help of a professional carpet cleaning company to get your carpet fixed.