Can You Use Dish Soap In A Carpet Cleaner?

Carpet cleaners are an efficient household tool to get your carpets looking brand new. However, if you run out of carpet cleaner, can you use dish soap as a substitute? We will take a closer look at the answer to this question in this article.

For most carpets, dish soap isn't the best cleaner to use. Dish soap is a foaming liquid and leaves a residue on your carpet, which can attract more dirt. It is better to use a carpet-approved detergent or a solution such as Simple Green.

Carpet has several benefits over other floor types, but they do need regular cleaning to increase their lifespan. In this article, we will take a closer look at how to clean your carpets properly and why dish soap isn't the best solution to use. In addition, we will discuss and answer other frequently asked questions, so read on!

Pouring dishwashing soap on the sponge, Can You Use Dish Soap In A Carpet Cleaner?

Can You Use Dish Soap In A Carpet Cleaner?

No, you can't use dish soap as a substitute for a carpet cleaner. Dish soap leaves a residue on your carpet fibers, which attracts dirt and makes your carpets appear old faster. This is because, unlike dish soaps, most carpet cleaners are not foaming liquids.

Also, some household detergents work better than others. For example, detergents made especially for pets will remove pet odors and stains, so it's essential only to use the correct detergent on your carpets.

It is better to use a quality carpet-approved detergent than dish soap as a substitute for a carpet cleaner. It is much more cost-effective as well. Most of these cleaners can be purchased online or at your local department store.

When going to your local department store, you can take a look at Oxi-clean, diluted vinegar, Pine-Sol, Simple Green, or other carpet-specific solutions.

In addition, when purchasing a carpet cleaner, the machine should have the following components:

  • First, a built-in heater to keep water hot throughout the cleaning process.
  • A power scrubber to agitate dirt from deep within the fibers of your carpet.
  • An adjustable spray nozzle for spot and dirty area cleanup. The nozzle also ensures you get even coverage throughout your room.
  • A suction device that will remove the dirty solution from your carpet.

Not all machines have all of these components, so be sure to check what you are buying.

In addition, if you have a steam cleaner, then don't use dish soap. It is better to check your steam cleaner solution requirements before cleaning your carpets. The last thing you want to do is use the wrong solution and damage your carpet.

Pouring dishwashing soap on the sponge for washing the dishes

What Should you Use if you Run Out of Carpet Cleaner?

If you run out of carpet cleaner and need to clean your carpets immediately, then there are household remedies that you can use.

For example, it is better to lightly mist areas where dirt appears with vinegar diluted by half with water. This will help absorb some of the odor and food particles.

Another household remedy is to use baking soda on these dirty spots. First, lay a thick layer of baking soda over the carpet fibers. Then, pour another coating on top of that. Wait about 30 minutes for it to absorb some of the dirt, and then vacuum it up with your cleaner.

Also, you can try using a steam cleaner with distilled water for spot and dirty area cleaning. Make sure to check the type of solution your machine uses before filling it with water.

What Not to Use on Carpet Stains

In addition, to not use dish soap on your carpet, there are other solutions that you should avoid. Let's take a look at them below:


Bleach will destroy the colors of your carpet, so it's best to avoid using bleach on your carpets. Bleach is toxic and can cause health problems if it is inhaled. If you have pets or children at home, you will be putting them at risk if any bleach is left in the carpet.

Lemon Juice

The acid in lemon juice will cause the dyes in your carpet to fade. It is better to use a professional carpet cleaner or vinegar for this particular task.


Chemicals found in ammonia are not suitable for use around children and pets, so it's better to avoid using this solution as well.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is flammable and takes a long time to dry, so it's best to avoid using it.

Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents contain many different chemicals that can be harmful to your carpet's fibers.


This is one of the chemicals found in nail polish remover and can damage your carpets as well.

How Often Can you Shampoo your Carpets?

In order to increase the lifespan of your carpet, you should shampoo it every six to twelve months. However, make sure to clean it right after your pet has an accident. Once the urine is absorbed into the carpet's fibers, then there is nothing you can do about it.

In addition to having a carpet shampooing schedule, you should also vacuum frequently. It is a good idea to vacuum your carpet at least once a week. By doing so, will remove loose particles in the carpet.

In addition, avoid walking on any stains for a couple of hours after you have applied the cleaner. This will give it time to work and remove the dirt from your carpet.

Another thing you should do is use a special treatment designed for pet stains. These treatments will help eliminate any residual odors left by your pet's accident.

In addition to all of these steps, it is also a good idea to keep your vacuum in tip-top shape. If you have a bagless vacuum, empty the bin after every cleaning session. If you have a bagged machine, change the filter regularly because a clogged filter will reduce suction power and cause carpet damage over time.

Cleaning the carpet using a high powered vacuum

Why Does my Carpet Look Worse After Cleaning?

One of the biggest reasons your carpet looks worse after cleaning is to overwetting the carpet. While it may seem like common sense to pour more of the cleaner into the dirty area, it can do more harm than good.

Another reason your carpet may look worse after cleaning is if you are using too many solutions. Often people tend to use excess amounts of cleaning solution because they think that will remove more dirt.

However, this excess solution will only attract more dirt and debris. In turn, your carpet will look dirtier than before you cleaned it.

In addition, your carpet may have deep stains, dirt, and grime within the fibers. If your carpet looks worse after shampooing, then it may be time to call a professional. If your carpet is old and has endured a lot of foot traffic without being cleaned regularly, then it may be time to replace it.

The last common reason your carpet may look worse after cleaning is using a commercial cleaner on a high traffic area of the carpet. Commercial cleaners are stronger and meant for stubborn stains, not everyday dirt found infrequent traffic areas.

Should Carpet be Vacuumed After Cleaning?

It is a good idea to vacuum your carpet after cleaning. However, you need to wait until it is scorched.

Typically, vacuuming a wet carpet is a bad idea because it can cause your carpet to dry unevenly. When you mix something as powerful as a commercial cleaner with the carpet fibers, it is best not to mess with those fibers until they are scorched.

In particular, if you use too much water during the cleaning process, then you need to wait a lot longer before vacuuming because it takes a while for the water to evaporate from the carpet.

A woman cleaning the carpet using vacuum

When Should I Use a Commercial Cleaner?

Commercial cleaners are ideal for carpets that have been neglected and need some serious deep cleaning. In addition, your carpet probably needs some serious deep cleaning if it is thicker than half an inch.

In particular, commercial carpet cleaners are great for those who have tried other carpet cleaning solutions at home and still see some form of dirt or grime on their carpets. In addition, think about using professional cleaners if you have tried to shampoo your carpets, but the stains remain.

Commercial cleaners usually remove tougher stains and spots that home carpet cleaning solutions don't address.

Final Thoughts

Pouring dishwashing soap on the sponge

When using a carpet cleaner, stick to the recommended cleaning solution for your carpets and the carpet cleaner itself. For example, dish soap is great for dishes and countertops, but its foaming action is not great for your carpets.

If you think that the carpet cleaners were too harsh on your carpets, call a professional for help with carpets because they have access to better solutions than what can be found in a store.

If you like this article, then check these out:

Carpet Smells Of Urine After Cleaning? Here’s Why

How To Fill The Gap Between Carpet And Baseboard

How To Keep Carpet Edges From Fraying

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