Facts About Carpet Stains

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Carpet represents a big part of your decorating budget. No matter how careful you are, mishaps occur. But stains don’t have to mean permanent damage to your carpet. Everyday cleaning products are lifesavers for those inevitable accidents. For best results, remember that the fresher the stain, the more likely you will get it out. So catch them early to keep your carpet clean and stain-free.

Basics

  • Blot up any liquids that spill onto your carpet quickly. Test any cleaning solution you choose on an inconspicuous area of carpet before proceeding. Apply cleaning solutions with a cloth or spray bottle to avoid getting too much liquid on the carpet. Work from the edges of the stain inward to keep the stain from spreading. If your cleaning process leaves your carpet overly damp, dry the area using a hair dryer or fan.

Liquids

  • For liquid stains, such as red wine, coffee and blood, the basic procedure is to blot, clean, rinse and dry. For red wine stains, prepare a mild solution of dish detergent and water. Add white vinegar to the detergent solution for coffee stains. Even blood stains come out by applying cold water or club soda to the stain.

Solids

  • Solids, such as chewing gum and wax, adhere to carpet fibers and have to be removed before attacking the stain. Apply ice to harden the substance and work the residue off by scraping gently with a rounded spoon. To remove any remaining stain, dab the area with a cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol. Rinse with clear water, blot and dry.

Paint

  • For water-based painting mishaps, blot up the excess with a dry cloth, being careful not to rub the paint into the carpet. Clean the spot with a solution of mild detergent and water until the paint is removed. If the paint has dried, apply a small amount of club soda. Pour salt over the club soda and rub the area gently. Leave it on the stain for about 15 minutes and blot it up. Clean the area with a detergent and water mixture.

Pets

  • The enzymes in pet urine cause color changes to carpet dye and leave lingering odors. For best results, get to the stain early before it is absorbed into the carpet and pad. Commercial products are available to remove pet stains and odors, but for a home remedy blot urine with paper towels until you have removed all liquid. Follow with a solution of dish detergent and water. Rinse and blot as dry as possible. For odors, follow with a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water.

Difficult Stains

  • For fingernail polish or ink stains, get up the excess by blotting the area. Rubbing spreads the stain and further embeds it into the fibers. Use nonacetone nail polish remover on light carpets. Try either hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or hair spray if you are concerned about damaging the color of your carpet.

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