A Vinegar-Based Carpet Rinse

This treatment will help keep your carpet fresh and clean longer between shampoos:

Combine 1/4 cup vinegar and 1 gallon water. Then use the solution in a steam-cleaning vacuum after shampooing your carpet to remove any shampoo residue.

Cleaning Your Carpets and Floors

In addition to working wonders in the bathroom, vinegar is ideal for cleaning carpets and hard-surface floors.

Carpets

For general cleanup of problem areas on carpets or rugs, use equal parts vinegar and water. Lightly sponge the solution into carpet, rinse, and blot dry. Let the carpet dry before using the area again.

For carpet stains, vinegar sometimes is your best bet. Here's how to remove some specific types of carpet stains with vinegar:

Ketchup: Remove ketchup from a rug by sponging a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water into the rug. Frequently wring out the sponge until the stain is gone.

Chewing gum: To dissolve chewing gum stuck in carpet or any cloth, saturate the area with vinegar and let it sit briefly. (For faster results, heat the vinegar first.) Carefully tug at the gum to remove it.

Chocolate: Chocolate stains can be cleaned with 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. Sponge on the mixture, and blot the stain with lots of clean cloths until it is gone.

Coffee: Coffee spilled on a rug should come out easily with plain water if you attack it immediately. If not, mix 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, and sponge the solution into the rug. Blot up any excess, and rinse until the brown color is gone.

Cola: Immediately blot a cola spill with paper towels, then clean the area with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.

Crayon: Remove crayon stains from the carpet or any other fabric or surface by scrubbing the area with a toothbrush dipped in vinegar.

Glue: A well-dried spot of white school glue can be taken out of a carpet with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. Just sponge on the mixture and blot. If spot is stubborn, cover it with warm vinegar and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. When glue has softened, either scrape it up by using a dull knife or blot it with paper towels.

Ink: An ink stain on a carpet or rug should be treated immediately by blotting and spraying the stained area with hair spray. Once the ink spot is gone, work a solution of half vinegar, half water into the area to remove the sticky spray.

Mildew: Once mildew gets into a rug, it lives and grows. Kill it with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water. Make sure the rug dries completely. You may want to use a hair dryer set on low to speed the drying time.

Red wine: Immediately blot up all moisture from the spill, then sprinkle the area with salt. Let sit 15 minutes. The salt should absorb any remaining wine in the carpet (turning pink as a result). Then clean the entire area with a mixture of 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water.

Hard-Surface Floors

Whether it's ceramic tile, lineoleum and vinyl, or wood, vinegar can make your hard-surface floors sparkle. Here's how:

Ceramic tile: Mop with a mixture of 1 cup vinegar and 1 gallon warm water to make ceramic tile floors sparkle.

Linoleum and vinyl: Scrub a linoleum floor with a mixture of 1 gallon water and 1 cup vinegar. If floor needs a polish after this, use club soda.

Wood: Add a cup of plain vinegar to a gallon bucket of water, and mop lightly onto hardwood floors (do not saturate). There's no need to rinse. This will keep the floors shiny and remove any greasy buildup.

As you've seen, vinegar does a great job throughout the house. Give it a try. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

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