Oops! Whether it be grape juice, a little present from Fido, or finger-paint artwork from your 3-year-old, it seems whatever is not supposed to get on the carpet always does.
Steps to Clean & Remove Carpet Stains
To remove carpet stains:
- Simply blot the spot
- Dry, working from the outside in.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean, hot water.
- Blot again.
- Never scrub the carpet, or you risk ruining the carpet fibers or letting the spill soak through to the carpet pad.
In addition to these methods, there are several spot removers on the market.
How To Clean Red Juice & Other Water-Soluble Stains
Use a simple cleaning solution made up of 1/4 teaspoon of non-bleach detergent (or white vinegar) mixed with 32 ounces of water.
Types of water-soluble stains:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Food dyes
- Ice cream
- Washable ink
- Wet or latex paint
How To Clean Coffee & Tougher Water-Soluble Stains
Try 1 tablespoon of ammonia mixed with 1 cup of water (but not on wool or wool-blend carpet; instead use mild detergent and water).
If that doesn’t work, you can try one part chlorine bleach to five parts water, but only on solution-dyed carpets, such as polypropylene. Bleach will harm other types of carpets; check with the manufacturer if you are unsure what type of carpet you have.
Types of tough water soluble stains:
How To Clean More Common Stain Types
Fat and Oil
Place a paper towel over the carpet and iron on warm setting. The wax, fat, or oil should come up off the carpet and stick to the paper towel.
These can be removed by gently rubbing the pile with the edge of a hard and flat surface, such as a dull knife.
- Moisten a cotton ball or soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and press it on the affected area.
- Once the glue residue is thoroughly moistened, gently wipe it off and repeat until the carpet is clean.
Wax and Gum
- Use ice to freeze the wax or gum,
- Then shatter it with a blunt object, such as a spoon.
- Vacuum before the pieces soften, and blot the carpet with a white towel.
Blot the area with a rag dipped in nail polish remover.
- Absorb as much as possible with white towels, then blot with a damp, cool cloth.
- Next, spray or blot with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water.
- Finally, apply a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of clear, mild, non-bleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water, rinse, and blot dry.
- If the urine was the result of a dog’s accident, you may also want to try a housebreaking aid such as No-Go.
Dirt and Mud
- To remove mud from your carpet, first let it first dry before vacuuming it.
- Avoid rubbing it with a cloth as this will only deepen the stain.
- Vacuuming over the area several times, until most of the dirt is picked up.
- Then, mix one-teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with one cup of warm water.
- Blot over the area as needed until the stain is gone.
- Let the carpet dry.
Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance
Even if you don’t have any mishaps, you should always have your carpet thoroughly cleaned every 12 to 18 months.
There are many professional carpet cleaning services, or you can rent a steam carpet cleaner. They are usually available at your supermarket.
If you decide to do it yourself rather than hire a pro, you need to keep a few things in mind:
- Make sure the carpet cleaning machine you choose has enough vacuum power to allow the carpet to dry in 6 to 12 hours or you may risk damage from getting it too wet.
- Use fans or a dehumidifier to expedite drying time after cleaning. Be aware that if your carpet is wet for more than 24 hours, you risk mildew and bacteria growth.
- Choose a cleaning solution that has a pH of 10 or less, and make sure you remove all detergent after cleaning.
- Double-check your warranty. Carpets with stain resistance must be cleaned with products formulated for them or you risk impairing their effectiveness and voiding your warranty.