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Whether it’s from a spilled drink or muddy shoes, stains are bound to occur on your rug at one point or another. Before you go rushing out the door to spend $10 bucks or more on a small bottle of fabric stain remover, you should consider using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Yes, the same combination that’s used in miniature volcano projects for school can also be used to clean rug stains. Best of all, it costs a fraction of the price of stain remover spray.

To clean stains from a rug, you’ll first need to purchase a bottle of filtered white vinegar. It’s important to only use filtered vinegar because the organic varieties contain brown organic matter known as “mother.” Although mother won’t harm your rug, it may leave some temporary stains behind. Stick with an inexpensive bottle of basic filtered white vinegar and traditional baking soda.

Once you’ve acquired the necessary supplies, it’s time to get to work. To prevent your rug from turning into a science experiment, you must first apply the vinegar and then the baking soda to the stain. Pouring vinegar over baking soda will create a miniature volcano, so make sure you apply the ingredients in the correct order. Start by pouring a small amount of vinegar directly over the stain and give it about 15-20 minutes to thoroughly soak in.

After the vinegar has soaked into the stain, sprinkle a moderate amount of baking soda directly over it. The combination of the two ingredients will create a light bubbling texture, but it shouldn’t turn your rug into a volcano. Now, use a scrub brush to gently work the stain out of the rug. Continue scrubbing the affected area in a clockwise motion. When you are finished, wipe up any excess vinegar and baking soda with some paper towels.

Depending on how much baking soda you used, there might be some powder left behind on your rug that paper towels won’t remove. To clean it, wait until the vinegar has thoroughly dried (20-30 minutes) and then go over your rug with a vacuum cleaner. Make sure the vacuum cleaner is on the setting that’s closest to the floor and run it over the area containing the excess baking soda.

Baking soda and vinegar is an inexpensive yet highly effective solution for treating rug stains. Unlike most of the commercial-grade stain cleaners, this method is all-natural and doesn’t leave behind any harsh chemicals.