A clean carpet lends to a cozy home. Avoiding stains and spills is not possible, but being prepared to quickly respond to and treat them can help you keep your carpets clean and fresh. Follow these tips for carpet spot removal to help you reduce the effects of spills, dirt, and grime on your valuable carpets.
- Test your cleaning solution. Choose an inconspicuous area of your carpet where you can test your cleaning solution to determine if it will cause damage or discoloration. Closets are great places for testing rather than under or behind furniture, which you may decide to move around one day.
- Respond to stains immediately to offset the effect they will have on your carpet. The longer a stain sits on your carpet, the harder it will be to remove the stain and any affiliated odors. This is especially true with pet stains, which can eventually crystallize, leaving strong odors that can be difficult to remove.
- Blot stains – never rub! Rubbing – or scrubbing over a stain – will actually drive the stain deeper into the carpet fibers and padding where it can become virtually impossible to remove. With the cloth, apply pressure to the stain for about 30 seconds. Repeat with a clean section of the cloth until the cloth comes off the stain clean and dry. The more liquid that is absorbed during this initial step, the better your chances of making the stain disappear.
- Follow the carpet manufacturer’s instructions for treating and removing stains. The kind of material used to make your carpet’s fibers will determine the best cleaning solution for removing stains. Contact your carpet’s manufacturer if you are not sure which solution to use, and explain the kind of stain on your carpet to get the best results.
- Create a stain removing kit to have on hand for stain emergencies. A quick response is your best defense against permanent stains and odors, so be prepared – especially if you have small children, heavy traffic, or pets. Your carpet stain removal kit should contain paper towels, cleaning cloths, a dull knife, spatula, or spoon, and cleaning solutions, such as dishwashing detergent, vinegar, ammonia, and an oil solvent.
- Use a clean, white cloth to blot up and remove excess liquid. Dyes on colored rags and cloths can seep into your carpet, especially when they become wet from liquid stains. To be safe and avoid further discoloration, have a set of clean, white cloths on hand for stain emergencies.
- Once you have removed the excess liquid, use cool water to rinse the stain out of the carpet. Warm water can actually cause stains to set into carpet fibers, making them more difficult to remove. With a clean, white cloth, dab cool water onto the stain to rinse it out of the carpet and blot until the cloth comes off the stain clean and dry.
- Use a spatula or spoon for solid matter stains. Remove solid matter, such as wax, gum, or putty, carefully with a small spatula or spoon. Gently scrape off the top of the stain, being careful not to tear the carpet’s fibers.
- For pet stains, use an enzyme cleaner specially designed for treating pet urine stains. Pet urine can crystallize and cause strong odors. Enzymatic pet stain cleaners are effective at removing microscopic amounts of odor-causing chemicals because they contain live bacteria and enzymes that love to digest the stinky chemicals, permanently removing them from the deepest fibers in your carpet.
- When in doubt, hire a professional. If nothing else seems to remove a carpet stain, contacting a professional carpet cleaner may be worthwhile. Carpet cleaning professionals have access to stronger cleaning solutions and industrial equipment that effectively remove tough, set-in stains.