Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Homemade Kirby Dry Foam Carpet Shampoo

Yesterday I mentioned how much I love my Kirby. It is seriously the greatest vacuum that I could have purchased. It does just about everything and they last forever. The one thing about the Kirby that isn't great though, is it's price. Aside from the machine itself, the price of bags and soap can add up.

Using the Kirby as a carpet shampooer is fabulous. It has worked so well for me and taken care of all of my nasty high traffic areas. A couple of weekends ago I offered to shampoo my friend's carpet because her parents were coming to visit and her toddlers had wrecked the floor. About halfway through I ran out of soap. It's a bit expensive to order so I didn't have a backup and Jenn's carpet was still crappy looking.


Like I always do, I took to Google to see if there was something else that I could use for the carpet. I ended up finding this recipe to make my own dry foam Kirby shampoo. There was only one issue though, no ammonia. I half convinced that ammonia is an ingredient in meth and that's why you can't find it anywhere in this area. My mom always had it around the house, but I guess the junkies in Georgia can't be trusted.

Anyway, I replaced the ammonia with alcohol. I've used water+vinegar+alcohol to clean my couches and it's worked great so I figured why not..?!

The recipe that I ended up using to make the shampoo was:
  • 12 cups Water
  • 1 Tbs White Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Rubbing Alcohol
  • 3 Tbs Dish Soap (Dawn, Palmolive, etc.)
All you have to do is add the dish soap last to avoid creating too many bubbles, mix well and pour directly into the soap tank. This recipe will make about enough to fill up the tank one and a half times.


The mix smelled just like the shampoo that I've purchased and worked just as well. The stubborn stains all came up and by the time I was done, the carpet was white again. I have no idea why I never thought to try something like this before. I love cleaning with vinegar so it's like a double win for me.
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83 comments:

  1. Awesome. . . . my wife and I recently purchased a Kirby Vacuum (actually about a year ago now) but the shampoo is so expensive, and we don't need it that often. This is the second page I've found with that mix. I believe that will do the job for sure. I will try it this weekend, just incase (have to have the house we're moving out of ready by the end of the month) so I have enough time to order the Kirby shampoo if it doesn't do well enough.

    BTW I grew up a military brat. Frankly I'd be in serving now, but Uncle Sam says I don't qualify medically. Way to be the good wife, and support your husband. Looking back I don't know how my poor mother survived 20 years with my twin brother and I always making life difficult.

    Again thanks,

    Anthony

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    1. Hope it works well for you! I actually like this mix better than the Kirby soap.

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  2. We bought our Kirby in October and have been barely making our payments. I haven't been able to afford the shampoo and my carpets REALLY needed cleaned. We've lived in our apartment for 2 years and a year of that our cats have decided they like the carpet better than their litter box and we also have a 4 year old so they needed to be shampooed BAD. Especially with our baby on the way. I found your recipe and am using it right now and I LOVE IT! Thank you so much for this. We have very light blue carpet and you can just tell the difference on where I shampooed and where I haven't yet. I was able to find a small bottle of the Kirby cleaner for 25 cents at a very cheap consignment shop and used it one my son's room in November and I didn't like it at all. It made the cat smell worse and it looked just as dirty when I was done. So far this just smells like the dish soap. I LOVE it! lol

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    1. I'm glad you like it!! I've purchased the Kirby soap from Amazon and it wasn't overly expensive, but I really do like using this recipe better. It just seems to work so much better! I love the cleaning properties that vinegar has!

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    2. I ran out of Kirby shampoo and came across your recipe. Should I fill the tank up with water to the appropiate line then add your DIY solution as I would using the cap on the tank?

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    3. No, you'll have to fill up the tank completely with the mixture above. You won't need any extra water than what's listed in the recipe.

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  3. Hello!!!

    I came across your DIY shampoo recipe, so excited to see i had all ingredients and wont have to buy the kirby one. I'm using my moms Kirby to shampoo my condo carpet (white) and didn't want to buy the whole jug for one use only. I am planning on using regular alcohol, like the one you find at your stores first aid aisle.... this should be fine, right (fingers crossed)? :)

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    1. Regular first aid alcohol is exactly what I used! (:

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    2. I just got time to try this today and it worked PERFECTLY, I use Gain dishwashing soap because I love the smell, and now my whole room smells great, carpet looks great (considering its been about a 9 months of no cleaning). the only area that might need a little touch up is right in front of the door. The rest of my place has hardwood so all that little dust and dirt ends up in the room. thinking of giving it a couple weeks and then doing a second try. Any advise on pre-stain treatment I can use?
      Thanks for the cool recipe!

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    3. Yay! I'm so glad you liked it! I'm not sure about a pre-treat though. Maybe a laundry one that is carpet safe?

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  4. I am going to make this and try it as soon as this heat wave breaks. My hubby and I moved into an old apartment that was formerly occupied by an alcoholic. If you get down on the floor you can smell stale beer. My Grand kids play on that floor and my cats live under our furniture. So I really want to get the carpets clean! I hope this works. When I purchased my Kirby I didn't get the shampoo for it and was promised it. So I have never used the Kirby soap in it.

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    1. I hope you love it! I've loved using it! It smells wonderful and works just as well as the real stuff at a fraction of the price!

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  5. Just tried this and it did not produce as much foam as the Kirby brand.:( sad to say I'm going to go buy some.

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  6. I mixed exactly as stated but did not get the same amount of foam as the Kirby brand. Any clue why? Used Palmolive fish soap.

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    1. So sorry to hear it didn't work for you! Did you make sure that the brush roll was attached and spinning? I've always gotten results exactly like the brand soap.

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    2. Mine didn't foam up either, but still cleaned great. Could it be a matter of concentrated dish soap vs non concentrated?

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    3. Very possible. I've honestly never paid attention to the soap, and just grabbed what was at the sink,but it's possible that I've always used concentrated.

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    4. You might get less foam if you have hard water.

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  7. Im going to try this but I think I will substitute lavender pinesol for the dish soap.

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  8. is it rubbing alcohol you use/

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  9. Does this encapsule the dirt like the kirby shampoo and does it dry as fast also?

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    1. Encapsulate the dirt so that you can vacuum it when it's dry? No, I don't think so. But everything should come up in the water. As far as dry time, both shampoos have always dried at about the same rate for me.

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  10. I used 7th generation dish liquid and it worked beautifully! Thank you soooo much!

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  11. can u vaccume it when its dry?

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  12. can the dry flakes be vacuumed up as soon as the carpet is dry?

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    1. There really aren't many dry flakes. Most of the dirt should be extracted with the water.

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  13. I tried this tonight and I didn't get a lot of foam, or any water in the tray like normal. It has seemed to clean the area very well; Now I am waiting and hoping that after it's dry I can vacuum the dirt out.

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    1. I've received some comments about the type of soap being used and this working better with concentrated dish soap, which is what I use. But most of the water and dirt should have come up in the process.

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  14. Does this work on furniture too?

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    1. For furniture I prefer to use a mixture of 1:1 water and vinegar. It works amazingly for cleaning furniture and even counter tops or cabinets

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  15. I am going to stral my mom's kirby this week anx do this! Ps, i spot treat ALL stains with a mix of blue Dawn and peroxide. It. Is. AMAZING! Possible pretreatment. I will try it on mine. Our carpet is TERRIBLE, and we are trying to sell(and not replace our carpet). I cant wait to see how it does!

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  16. I shampoo with my Kirby all the time........................but i don't get any water extracted.........was wondering why? My tray is always dry......and I do over shampoo.but, the rug is always soft after.........I thought the foam just drys no water extraction?

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    1. Is your brush spinning? There should at least be some water coming up. The one time I didn't have water come up was because I forgot to attach the brush roll. When the Kirby guy did his demo, he used the filthy water to make a point as to why I needed to buy the vacuum.
      I don't think it's a huge deal though.. It definitely shortens the drying process though.

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  17. What is the purpose of the alcohol? Is it necessary? I did enjoy reading the comments and I am thankful for finding this post. I did try the soap before I even googled Kirby soap. I will not be using ammonia because it is poison but I am curious about the alcohol.
    Thanks!

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    1. Honestly, the alcohol is just part of the cleaning recipe that I've always used from Pinterest. Extra cleaning/bacteria fighting power?

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  18. Anything for cleaning cats urine?! Does this work. We got a new kitty who thinks my daughters room is the place to go

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    1. Definitely NO ammonia! Possibly a little baking soda over the spot to neutralize the smell, and then clean over it like usual.

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  19. Alcohol also assists in evaporating the mixture faster so it doesn't sit in the carpet fibers. With a wool or silk rug (as I have) & with 3 boys & 3 LARGE dogs this is an invaluable recipe! I would go through Kirby soap by the gallon but I have all this in the house all the time...THANK YOU for sharing this!
    -Army Wife stuck in WV

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  20. Thank you so much for this recipe. I haven't used it yet cuz I still have more Kirby Shampoo, but when I run out... Great to know you DON'T HAVE TO buy their shampoo. And yes, I LOVE my Kirby :)

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  21. Thanks so much for this recipe! Once my Kirby shampoo runs out I will try this. So good to know that you DO NOT HAVE to use Kirby shampoo for a Kirby vacuum. Mahalo and Aloha!

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  22. My husband and I just got our Kirby and we decided to use this recipe and we loved it! Or carpets look Better them they ever haveand it house smells so nice. It also cleaned my kitchen wonderfully! Thanks for sharing!

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  23. I was wondering about this leaving any soap residue, that is the problem I had in the past with other shampoos. I got my Kirby now and need shampoo but worried about any dirt build up reoccurring with this formula. Thanks

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  24. I was wondering about this leaving any soap residue, that is the problem I had in the past with other shampoos. I got my Kirby now and need shampoo but worried about any dirt build up reoccurring with this formula. Thanks

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    1. That shouldn't be an issue. It's always felt fine for me. You could lessen the amount of dish soap and increase vinegar if you're worried about that though, but you might not get a ton of foam. Just make sure to let it dry completely before walking on it.

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  25. Will this leave any fine soap residue that will attract dirt in the future and possibly feel scummy ? Thanks

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  26. This is amazing. It is the first time I tried tonight and I will never go back. Thank you so much.!

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  27. If you don't have rubbing alcohol you can sub hydrogen peroxide...still works for me :)

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  28. Alex,
    good you are not using ammonia. Vinegar is an acid, while ammonia is a base. When you mix the two of them, you will get a salt (ammonium acetate) and water. with this, you won't be able to clean anything :)

    you substitution to alcohol is a good one :)

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  29. I just realized the mistake I have been making when mixing this dry foam formula together. I originally mixed the 3 Tbs of dish soap to the 12cups of water, and my kirby hardly produced any foam at all. On my second try, I added the dish soap directly to the soap tank with the already mixed ingredients and it produced just as much foam as my original kirby shampoo. I'm very pleased so far with the results, and hope this helps anyone else who might be making the same mistake as I first did.

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  30. Can you sub methylated spirits fot tye rubbing alcohol? Save me going out and buying rubbing alcohol as well

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  31. This is amazing! Okay, well haven't tried it yet. I ordered a refurbished Kirby off of eBay and I'm impatiently waiting! But I learned that it can only use dry foam solution.... so I googled dry foam and your blog was the first thing I clicked on. However, i'm a little hesitant on using rubbing alcohol...not sure why, Lol, but I have ammonia should I just go ahead and use that?

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    1. The original recipe had ammonia, so it should be just fine. I had a hard time finding it, and I prefer alcohol anyway since it isn't as harsh and smelly.

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  32. Will this work on tan/brown carpets or only white?

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    1. Any color. The photo is from my friend's white carpet, but I had a tan one at home that I used it on. It doesn't have bleach or anything, so it won't harm the color.

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  33. Is this the same soap that they say you can spray on your windows to clean them without wiping?

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    1. I'm not sure, sorry! I've actually never heard of the window spray stuff.

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    2. has anyone tried mixing a smaller amount of this product? 12 cups seems tooo much for a simple love seat or mattress clean up

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    3. For something simple like that, I would recommend a simple 50/50 water/vinegar solution. Spray it on or apply with a damp cloth, and then rub out with a dry cloth. This recipe is meant to be worked into the carpet with the vacuum shampooing system, and sucked back out .

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  34. I tried the solution to clean the mattress my toddler peed on. Seems to have tajen the odor and stsin away. Waiting to dry before vacuuming......mattress is still wet after12 hours? Wondering why so long to dry?

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    1. This recipe is meant to be worked into the carpet with the vacuum shampooing system, and sucked back out. Spraying it onto something absorbent like a mattress would cause the mattress to become saturated. Unless you can get the vacuum on the mattress to suck the water back out, it's going to take a while to dry.

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  35. I just used this recipe and I must say I totally love it. My dish soap smells good and the solution got up so much dirt from my sons carpet. I love that it foams just like the kirby stuff. Thank you so much!

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    1. I'm so glad that you liked it! I haven't gone back to the real stuff since I started mixing this up! (:

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  36. I started using this on Monday and have no complaints. My rug gets clean the foam comes out exactly like it does with the regular shampoo. Love this recipe so much !!! Thank u

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  37. Well, you saved me! I tried to use rug doctor carpet cleaner in my Kirby and what a disaster! Water everywhere and very little foam. I thought I was going to have to put everything away and start again in a week (when I had the kirby shampoo), but I found your post. The recipe worked like a charm. I used concentrated original Dawn as my soap. Thank you so much!

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  38. Shampoo is much better for cleaning old persian carpets while very effective. I have to read your whole article and understand it.

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  39. I tried this recipe & it cleaned my carpet pretty good compared to what it looked like before. I also used vinegar & water on mine & that cleaned good also. A professional told my daughter that using just water is really best to use on the carpet. The only thing, my tank of water doesn't last too long.Is it suppose to do a whole room?

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  40. I used a pre treater of water, dish soap and vinegar in a spray bottle, then I used the recipe above and it worked perfectly. All the doggie pee spots are gone! Thanks for the recipe! (Even better that it's free!)

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  41. I suspect the people asking about using on furniture may be considering using the upholstery attachment for the Kirby shampoo system.

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  42. I'm worried the soap will leave a sticky residue that becomes a dirt magnet. That's why I have always stuck with the kirby shampoo. BUT, I'm going to have a little faith and trust your recipe. I'm shampooing my best friend's carpet before we leave the state. (We are her houseguests for a couple of weeks while moving.) I hope it works!

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  43. July 2014: I just used this to clean my carpeted den/basement stairs that my husband had tracked red dirt & oil on, watched the stains disappear before my eyes. This is a really great solution & I think it works better than the many name brand carpet cleaner solutions & shampoos that I've used over the years. I used the dawn platinum with bleach alternative & it worked really great. I will continue to use this from now on as it's much more affordable than the other carpet shampoos you can buy even at Wal-mart & it works much much better. Thanks for posting & God Bless you & your family. Steph

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    1. WOW! I'm glad that it was able to take care of both of those issues. I know red dirt can be tough!

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  44. I borrowed my sister's Kirby to clean our apartment carpets. When we moved in, they offered to replace the carpets but we have two little boys and I said it was no big deal. However, because it is a small place our living room especially has gotten so dirty! I decided I would try this solution you shared and if it didn't work, no big deal, I would just buy the other stuff. But it did an AMAZING job. There are stains that had been on the floor since we moved in 6 months ago that it got out, and that's after 6 months of walking over them and grinding them into the carpet! Thank you so much for this -- my sister had been buying the solution but this recipe worked perfectly and was FREE since I had it all in my kitchen!

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  45. This mix is amazing. I've been using Kirby Carpet Shampoo for over 20 years and have been very satified. However, your recipe cleaned my carpet even better, using less solution, and less money out of my pocket. Wow, all the money I could have saved. I'll use your recipe from now on. Thank you.

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  46. I just tried your formula using distilled water. Hard water won't produce the foam you need...better than ANYTHING I have used in the past.

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    1. Good to know! We didn't have hard water in the past, but do now, so I'll keep that in mind when I go to do our carpets!

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  47. These carpets got so stained I am embarrassed to invite even the neighbor kids in. Your recipe will help us set money aside for laminate to replace this carpet. We will keep carpets in the bedrooms, so your recipe will be a standard in my housekeeping routine, forever.

    Thank you!

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  48. Wow! That machine really did an excellent work. Not to mention how effective this homemade dry foam shampoo was. The before and after photos truly amazed me. Anyone can positively see the big difference after you do the vacuuming process. This is a must share.

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