Can I Use Hair Shampoo In My Carpet Cleaner? [Explained]

If you’re a proud owner of a carpet cleaner, you know how important it is to keep your carpets clean and fresh. But what if you run out of carpet shampoo? Desperate times call for …

can you use any soap in a carpet shampooer

If you’re a proud owner of a carpet cleaner, you know how important it is to keep your carpets clean and fresh. But what if you run out of carpet shampoo? Desperate times call for desperate measures, and you might find yourself wondering if you can use hair shampoo as a substitute.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of carpet cleaning and explore whether hair shampoo is a viable option. Let’s get started!

Can I Use Hair Shampoo In My Carpet Cleaner?

When it comes to carpet cleaning, using the right products is crucial.

While hair shampoo is designed for cleaning hair, carpets require a different approach. Hair shampoos typically contain ingredients that are specifically formulated for the scalp and hair strands, such as conditioning agents and fragrances.

These ingredients may not be suitable for your carpet and could potentially leave behind residues that attract dirt and make your carpets look dull over time.

Additionally, hair shampoos are generally not designed to be used with carpet cleaning machines.

Carpet cleaners require specific cleaning solutions that are compatible with their mechanisms and can be easily rinsed out. Using hair shampoo in a carpet cleaner could clog the machine or lead to inadequate cleaning results.

Can You Use Dish Soap In A Carpet Cleaner?

While dish soap is great for cutting through grease on your dishes, it’s not the best choice for your carpets.

Dish soaps are formulated for dishes and cookware, and they often contain powerful degreasers and additives that are too harsh for delicate carpet fibers.

Using dish soap in a carpet cleaner can result in excessive foaming, residue buildup, and potentially damage your carpets. It’s best to avoid using dish soap as a substitute for carpet shampoo.

Using Dish Soap In Carpet Cleaner Reddit Advice

When it comes to finding advice on various topics, Reddit has become a popular platform for discussions and recommendations.

Carpet cleaning is no exception, and you can often find threads and posts discussing the use of dish soap in carpet cleaners.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the advice shared on Reddit regarding this topic:

Comment Summary
Carpet shampoo has an anti-foaming agent, and the correct substitute for dish soap is laundry detergent, which also has an anti-foaming agent. Use about 1/4 of the amount you would use for a load of washing.
Dish soap like Dawn creates excessive bubbles, which is not suitable for carpet cleaners.
Suggests using a tablespoon of castile soap in 3 cups of hot water, mixed with baking soda or washing soda for stinky carpets. Avoid pouring soap directly on the carpet and dilute the solution.
The bubbles from dish soap will never end.
Carpet steamer cleaners have surfactants and degreasers but not detergent. Using dish soap in a carpet cleaner will result in a lot of foam and not clean the carpet effectively.
Suggests using a detergent meant for fabrics, like laundry detergent, instead of dish soap.
Some surfactants act as foaming agents, but soap used in machines like dishwashers, washing machines, and carpet cleaners is designed to be low-foaming and still clean.
Using dish soap is fine, but too much can create excessive suds that are difficult to remove. Suggests using only a few drops per gallon of water.
Advises against using dish soap due to excessive suds and provides a link to a homemade carpet cleaning solution.
Suggests using a small amount of the family’s preferred laundry soap (Gain or Tide) as an alternative. Mentions the presence of brighteners in laundry soap that helps old carpets look newer.
Definitely advises against using dish soap due to excessive foaming. Recommends using powder or liquid laundry detergent and dissolving some oxi (presumably referring to an oxygen-based cleaner) if available.

On Reddit, opinions can vary, and it’s important to consider multiple perspectives. Some Reddit users have reported success in using dish soap in their carpet cleaners, while others have expressed caution and advised against it.

Cautionary Advice On Using Dish Soap In Carpet Cleaners:

  1. Residue Buildup: Dish soaps are formulated for dishes and can leave behind soapy residues on carpets. These residues may attract dirt and make the carpets appear dull over time.
  2. Foaming Issues: Dish soaps are known for their foaming properties. When used in a carpet cleaner, they can create excessive foam, leading to clogging in the machine and potentially causing damage.
  3. Harsh Ingredients: Dish soaps often contain powerful degreasers and additives that may not be suitable for delicate carpet fibers. These ingredients can cause color fading, fiber damage, and affect the overall appearance of the carpets.
  4. Compatibility Issues: Carpet cleaners are designed to work with specific cleaning solutions that are formulated for their mechanisms. Using dish soap may not be compatible with the machine, resulting in inadequate cleaning performance.

Alternative Solutions:

Some of the alternatives include:

  1. Vinegar Solution: Mixing equal parts of white vinegar and water can create a homemade carpet cleaning solution. Vinegar has natural cleaning properties and can help remove stains and odors from carpets.
  2. Baking Soda: Sprinkling baking soda liberally on carpets before using a carpet cleaner can act as a natural deodorizer and help eliminate unpleasant odors.
  3. Commercial Carpet Cleaners: Many Redditors recommend investing in a reliable carpet cleaning solution specifically designed for carpet cleaners. These commercial products are formulated to be safe and effective for carpet cleaning purposes.

It’s essential to exercise caution and consider the credibility of the sources.

Consulting with professionals or referring to manufacturer guidelines is always recommended to ensure the best outcomes for your carpet cleaning endeavors.

Is It OK to Use Laundry Detergent In A Carpet Shampooer?

When it comes to using laundry detergent in a carpet shampooer, it can be a viable alternative to carpet shampoo. However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, it’s crucial to choose the right type of laundry detergent for your carpet. Opt for a low suds detergent, as excessive foaming can cause issues with the carpet cleaner. Using a low suds detergent will help ensure that the machine functions properly and effectively cleans your carpets.

If you want to take it a step further, you can even use laundry detergent as an ingredient to make your own homemade carpet shampoo. This allows you to customize the cleaning solution to your specific needs.

However, using the laundry detergent alone without any additional ingredients will still provide satisfactory results.

Using laundry detergent in a carpet cleaner is generally considered safe and effective. It can effectively clean your carpets without requiring a large amount of detergent. This makes it a cost-effective option for carpet cleaning.

However, it’s important to note that not all types of laundry detergents and carpets are compatible.

Decorative rugs made of sensitive synthetic materials, for example, may be too delicate to withstand the concentrated agents in laundry detergents. Additionally, some laundry detergents contain bleach, which can damage the color or fabric of your carpets. It’s crucial to read the labels and choose a suitable laundry detergent that is safe for your specific type of carpet.

Cleaning carpet stains with laundry detergent in a carpet cleaner

Can You Use Powder Laundry Detergent In A Carpet Cleaner?

Powder laundry detergent is a popular choice for cleaning clothes, but is it safe to use in your carpet cleaner?

When it comes to using powder laundry detergent in a carpet cleaner, it is generally not recommended. While powder detergent may work fine in some cases, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind.

One issue with powder detergent is that it can clump into tiny balls even before it is used, and these clumps may stick in the pipes and nozzles inside your carpet cleaner. This can lead to clogs and potentially damage the machine’s functionality.

Additionally, when the powder detergent dries on the carpet, it is more likely to leave a powdery residue behind, which can be difficult to remove.

Ideally, it is best to use liquid laundry detergent in a carpet cleaner.

Liquid detergent tends to dissolve more easily and evenly in the cleaning solution, providing better cleaning performance and reducing the risk of clogs or residue buildup.

If you don’t have liquid laundry detergent available, you can use powdered detergent, but it is important to use it in small quantities to minimize the risks of clogging and residue.

It’s important to note that there is a slight difference between carpet cleaners and vacuum cleaners. While both serve the purpose of cleaning, carpet cleaners make use of steam and cleaning solutions to effectively remove dirt and stains from carpets.

When choosing a laundry detergent for carpet cleaning, it’s crucial to select one that is suitable for the task. Some laundry detergents are marked as “HE” (high efficiency) and are ideal for use in carpet cleaning. These detergents produce less foam and rinse away quickly, ensuring efficient and effective cleaning.

Furthermore, different carpet cleaners have specific requirements for the type of detergent they can accommodate.

Some cleaners may only accept liquid detergents, while others may allow both liquid and powder forms. It is essential to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your carpet cleaner to ensure compatibility and optimal cleaning results.

What Is Safe To Use In A Carpet Shampooer?

To ensure the longevity and cleanliness of your carpets, it’s essential to use cleaning solutions specifically designed for carpet cleaning.

These solutions are formulated to effectively remove dirt, stains, and odors while being gentle on your carpets. Look for carpet shampoos that are labeled as suitable for use in carpet cleaners and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

Using the right products will not only clean your carpets effectively but also help maintain their appearance and prolong their lifespan.

Carpet Cleaner Solution

What Can I Use In My Carpet Cleaner If I Don’t Have Carpet Shampoo?

If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t have carpet shampoo readily available, don’t worry! There are a few alternative options you can consider:

  1. White Vinegar Solution: Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water to create a homemade carpet cleaning solution. Vinegar has natural cleaning properties and can help remove stains and odors from your carpets.
  2. Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda liberally on your carpets before using your carpet cleaner. Baking soda acts as a natural deodorizer and can help eliminate unpleasant odors.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide Solution: Dilute hydrogen peroxide with water and use it as a spot cleaner for stubborn stains. Remember to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of your carpet before applying it more broadly.
  4. Commercial Carpet Stain Removers: If you have a specific stain or spot on your carpet, you can consider using a commercial carpet stain remover that is compatible with your carpet type. Follow the product instructions and test it on a small area first.

Remember, while these alternatives can work in a pinch, it’s still advisable to use carpet-specific cleaning solutions for regular maintenance and deep cleaning.

How Do You Make Homemade Carpet Shampoo?

If you prefer a DIY approach and want to make your own carpet shampoo, here’s a simple recipe you can try:


  • 2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the warm water, liquid dish soap, and white vinegar.
  2. Stir the mixture gently until the ingredients are well mixed.
  3. Transfer the solution to your carpet cleaner’s water reservoir.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using the carpet cleaner, ensuring you apply the solution evenly and thoroughly.
  5. Once you’ve cleaned the carpet, allow it to dry completely before walking on it.

What can I use in place of carpet shampoo?

This homemade carpet shampoo recipe provides a simple and cost-effective option for cleaning your carpets.

However, it’s important to note that homemade solutions may not be as effective as commercial carpet shampoos, especially for tough stains and deep cleaning.


Can I use regular soap in a Bissell carpet cleaner?

It’s generally not recommended to use regular soap in a Bissell carpet cleaner or any other carpet cleaner.

Regular soaps, such as hand or body soaps, are not formulated for carpet cleaning and can leave behind residue, potentially damage the machine, and affect the cleanliness of your carpets. Stick to using carpet-specific cleaning solutions for the best results with your Bissell carpet cleaner.

Here are some Bissell manufacturer’s recommendations on cleaning solutions for carpet cleaners:

  1. Test for Colorfastness: Before using any cleaning solution, test it on a hidden area of the carpet to ensure it doesn’t affect the color. If the carpet color is affected, do not use the product.
  2. Blot and Apply Water: Start by blotting the stained area with a clean, dry towel. Then, apply small amounts of cold water to the area and blot repeatedly. This helps dilute and remove any excess stain.
  3. Prepare Dishwashing Detergent Solution: Mix 1 teaspoon of a liquid dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of lukewarm water. Pour this solution into a spray bottle. Avoid using laundry detergent or automatic dishwasher detergent, as they contain chemicals that may damage the carpet.
  4. Apply the Solution: Spray the stained area with the dishwashing detergent solution from the spray bottle. Ensure that the area is lightly coated with the solution.
  5. Gently Work the Solution: Using a small brush, sponge, or cloth, gently work the solution into the stained area. Use light strokes, starting from the edges of the stain and moving towards the center. When you reach the center, lightly pinch the area in an upward motion. Avoid rubbing the stain, as it may spread or damage the carpet fibers.
  6. Rinse with Water: Thoroughly rinse the spray bottle to remove any dishwashing detergent solution. Then, fill the spray bottle with lukewarm water. Lightly spray the area with water to rinse off the detergent solution. Blot the area with a clean, dry towel to remove excess moisture. Repeat this rinsing and blotting procedure to ensure all the detergent solution is removed. Residual detergent can attract dirt, so it’s crucial to rinse thoroughly.
  7. Allow Drying: Allow the area to dry thoroughly. Open windows or use fans to aid in the drying process. Ensure the carpet is completely dry before walking on it or placing furniture back.
  8. Persistent Stains: If the stain persists, you can try applying a small amount of 3% hydrogen peroxide to a clean cloth. Blot the stain using the same light, edge-to-center strokes as before. Repeat as needed and then thoroughly rinse and blot the area. Allow it to dry.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for your carpet cleaner, as different machines may have specific requirements. By following these steps, you can effectively clean stains on your carpets using a homemade solution.


When it comes to carpet cleaning, using the right products is crucial for achieving optimal results.

While it may be tempting to use hair shampoo, dish soap, or laundry detergent as substitutes for carpet shampoo, it’s best to avoid them. Stick to carpet-specific cleaning solutions or consider homemade alternatives when you don’t have carpet shampoo available.

By following these guidelines, you can keep your carpets clean, fresh, and in great condition for years to come. Happy carpet cleaning!

About the Author

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Helga is writing here all about carpets and rugs in our lives. She puts her own expertise of an ordinary human being, looks for challenges we all face in the world of carpets, does research, and puts the most valuable parts of information together to help homeowners and business owners maintain clean, fresh, and inviting spaces. We believe that a well-maintained carpet not only enhances the aesthetics of a room but also contributes to a healthier living or working environment.

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