I have a giant dirt stain in the living carpet of my apartment from a plant I overwatered about a year ago (oops). I tried to clean it with carpet cleaner at the time, but it seemed a futile pursuit, so I just repositioned my furniture to cover it. Foolish, I know, and shortsighted because now as moving day fast approaches I am realizing that a stain in my carpet may prevent me from getting my security deposit back (not very frugal). I considered renting a steam cleaner (still not so frugal), but decided first that I'd give it one more shot on my own.
First, I attacked it with carpet cleaner, following the directions on the bottle. I sprayed, I waited, I blotted. Dirt was clearly coming out of my carpet, but it wasn't making much of a difference.
Then, I realized that I could spray plain water on my carpet and achieve nearly the same results. Again, I sprayed, I blotted. I used rags, old towels, paper towels. I tried stepping on the cloths to get more dirt out. Dirt continued to come out of my carpet. Clearly this was working, but it seemed like it would be a nearly endless process.
Finally I had a breakthrough. I sprayed the carpet with water until it was really wet, then I sprinkled baking soda over the entire area. The baking soda quickly became brown as it soaked up the dirt and water. I waited a few hours until the baking soda had completely dried then picked it up with my vacuum. Wow! For the first time I could actually see a noticeable difference in the stain. It's not completely gone, so I'm repeating the process, but it's a heck of a lot easier and more frugal than anything else I had thought of!
For more frugal ideas, check out Frugal Fridays at Life as Mom.