We’ve all been there. Something spilled on the carpet, and you’re in a panic. The best thing to remember is that it’s not a race. Sure, you need to get to it quickly before the stain sets, but resist the urge to throw soap on it and start scrubbing. Here are some great tips to keep in mind so next time you find yourself with a mess on your hands, you’ll know just what to do.
Blot, Don’t Scrub
Image via Flickr by Stephani Spitzer
Chances are when there’s a big stain on your carpet, the first thing you think to do is spray it with cleaning solution, grab a brush or towel and go to town scrubbing at it. This actually tends to make it bleed into the carpet pad, and further set the stain, and could even damage the carpet fibers. Instead, take a deep breath and grab a clean white dry towel or sponge. Firmly blot the stain, working from the outside in, to pull out any moisture.
Spray With Detergent
Once you’ve removed as much of the moisture as you can, spray the affected area with a mild cleaning solution. Spot treatments, available at department and grocery stores, usually work — otherwise, you can mix your own using this combination: 1 tsp mild dishwashing liquid, 1 quart warm water, 1/4 tsp white vinegar. Spray a modest amount of this mixture on the stain and let it sit there for 10 minutes or so.
Blot the stain with a dry cloth until the solution absorbs into the cloth, and repeat this process until the stain is gone. Once it’s been absorbed as much as you can, it’s a good idea to use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the last of the moisture.
If you carpet has just been through too much, and this is the last stain to fill in the last clean spot, it may be time to consider contacting professionals, like Prosource Flooring in Denver, to replace it.
Use the procedure above for these general liquid stains: coffee, tea, alcohol, soft drinks. Remember that not all stains are created equal, so some need special attention. Here are some common stains and tried and true methods for removing them.
- Grease or Oil: Sprinkle with baking soda and let it sit for several hours. Go over it thoroughly with a vacuum, and apply spot cleaner or the mixture listed above. Blot dry and repeat until the stain has disappeared.
- Gum: Pick as much of the gum out of the carpet fibers as you can. Then, place a bag filled with ice cubes on it to harden it. Chip away the rest of it with a metal spoon or knife and wet/dry vacuum it.
- Pet Stains (Urine, feces, vomit): After picking up any solid pieces, blot the area as detailed above. Spray with an enzymatic cleaner. This will help eliminate the stain, and discourage repeated offenses. These cleaners are most readily available at pet supply stores like Petco. Again, blot the solution until mostly dry and repeat.
- Wax: Similar to gum, freeze the spot with a bag of ice cubes, but blot using a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol to coerce the stain out.
- Wine or Juice: After blotting with a dry cloth, spritz club soda, blot with a different clean cloth, and repeat.
If you find yourself standing over spilled juice, a pet stain, or last night’s spaghetti on your carpet, don’t panic. If you follow these guidelines, you won’t be stuck with that stain forever.