Homemade Kirby Dry Foam Carpet Shampoo Recipe

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.
post signature

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15581841699445417394 Maverick

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Army Wife, Mommy Life

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00683931155410519529 Sean Denton

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09125523334124477760 Karina C

    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)? :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09125523334124477760 Karina C

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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?

  • Kathy

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01939612960709000129 Sabrina Sutherland

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01939612960709000129 Sabrina Sutherland

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • Anonymous

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

  • Anonymous

    is it rubbing alcohol you use/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    Yes!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16802981545530213618 Unknown

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10483592558102891694 Kylie Buckley

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • Anonymous

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

  • Anonymous

    can u vaccume it when its dry?

  • Anonymous

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

  • Kassandra

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    Glad you liked it & it worked well! (:

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • Anonymous

    Does this work on furniture too?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12480254510141119057 Unknown

    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!

  • Anonymous

    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?

  • Anonymous

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01341179860951885783 Cody Hutcheson

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05366305987834239892 Meeshou78

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    Duh! That totally makes sense! Thank you!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08804954733894857443 Carliakala

    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 :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08804954733894857443 Carliakala

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07183917921175570471 Unknown

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18000085902932509816 Louise Adsit

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18000085902932509816 Louise Adsit

    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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18000085902932509816 Louise Adsit

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08565015056026462006 Suzy mcclevey

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

  • Anonymous

    If you don’t have rubbing alcohol you can sub hydrogen peroxide…still works for me :)

  • Anonymous

    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 :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    WOW! Good to know! Thank you!! (:

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    Great!! I’m so glad you got it to work! (:

  • Anonymous

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14445056290800615650 Jillian Jacklin

    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?

  • Anonymous

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06285268104777724323 Bryana P

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • Anonymous

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

  • Anonymous

    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?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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 .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Munchkins and the Military

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14528627476323284351 Y Sanford

    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

  • Anonymous

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03877377263260350538 Rugs London

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

  • Anonymous

    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?

  • Anonymous

    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!)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12772373803915294292 Nancy R

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

  • Anonymous

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11587982341384441476 Stephanie S

    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

  • Rara

    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?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Alejandra

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

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Alejandra

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03587155314138775788 Richard

    You might get less foam if you have hard water.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08717811577028999166 Chelsey

    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!

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06031012599712882442 Kelley Olsen

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Alejandra

    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!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04331373979854204422 Alejandra

    You are very welcome!! (:

  • http://www.desertoasiscleaners.com/ Cory Waltmathe

    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.

  • Kassy

    Something you might could mention, with pet smells vinegar is the best option. It’s the opposite of the ammonia in the animal urine so it breaks up the enzymes causing the smell. Add a little more for super tough pet smells. And borax, one cup mixed in will kill fleas if they are a problem. I love this recipe, saved me so much!

  • http://www.thearmitage.com/ Serviced Apartments Guy

    Great recipe! Rubbing alcohol seems so useful for so many different things!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had my Kirby vacuum system for over four years. I’ve always bought the shampoo because honestly I didn’t think you could use anything else in them and I’m skeptical about using DIY cleaning solutions. But my sister just had a baby and he was six weeks early. They’ll be coming home to my house so that I can help her while she recovers. I’ve been desperate to get my carpet clean before they come home but couldn’t afford a bottle of the Kirby shampoo right now. I came across your recipe looking for the shampoo cheaper online and decided to try it. I wanted to just try it out on a spot before pulling the whole system out so I mixed up a batch put it in a spray bottle grabbed a clean rag and prayed… I must say this stuff worked miracles! I had a huge brown stain where my daughter spilled apple juice ( sticky stuff horrible stains! ) and I sprayed it on the stain let it sit then blotted it with the rag and I literally watched the nap on my carpet raise back up! My carpet went from brown to white before I’d even finished spraying the spot! Tomorrow I’ll be breaking out the shampooer an doing the whole room! Thank you so much this sad definitely and literally a life saver!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11438202524887569965 Tee Momma

    I just ran across this I will be trying it out in a minute. From the looks of it it looks like it’s doing a good job. I will be back with my testimony to

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06786071626304729922 Rachel Benson

    The before and after pictures of your carpet look amazing. I haven’t ever considered using common household items to clean my carpets. Would this method work well on animal stains? I have always called a professional to come clean my carpets. http://www.manningbrosflooring.com/Upholstery-Cleaning-Bogota-NJ.html

  • Lee Lee K.

    Just came across this recipe today. I have only had my Kirby for a little over a month now and I have already used up the little bottle of shampoo the lady left for me when we purchased this amazing machine. I went vacuum and shampoo crazy!! My husband works at a place where he gets really DIRTY and he comes home and walks around on the floor first and then takes off his shoes, and I am stay at home mom to our two year old little boy..who likes to take off his clothes and run around naked (you can only imagine what he deposits sometimes on our carpet)..and we have off white carpet throughout our home (yikes!) So, thank you so much for sharing this recipe! You just saved our carpet!

  • bonobosmarcos

    I have given cleaning my carpet a couple tries with no avail. If I recall correctly I have probably invested about 10 hours into the process. At this point I think I will just hire a professional to have the job done right.

    http://www.bellcountyflooring.com/services.php