So you’ve just installed a brand new carpet and are looking at emergency measures to make sure your carpet stays spotless. Or perhaps you’ve just stained what was once a pristine floor covering, and are now frantic to bring it back to its immaculate state.
Whichever reader you are, fret not, as we give you a rundown on everything you need to know about dreaded carpet stains, and how to remove them effectively.
Top Carpet Stains to Watch Out For
Nothing is quite as painful as seeing a vibrant, scarlet-colored stain on your carpet. Luckily, these types of stains aren’t too difficult to remove, as long as you work quickly. Just like most stains, it is much easier to remove recently spilled wine (as in, within 5-10 minutes of spillage), vs. a stain that has been sitting on your carpet overnight.
- First, you’d want to get rid of as much wine from the floor as you possibly can. Blot the spill with a damp cloth or paper towel, and try to dilute the stain with cold water using the cloth or towel.
- Next, you’d want to spray some carpet stain remover. But before you apply the solution to the carpet stain, it is best to test your carpet for colorfastness first. Pick a small spot that is usually hidden (we suggest under your sofa or any type of furniture), and hit it with a small amount of your stain remover. If no change occurs after five minutes, you should be good to go.
- Apply a generous amount of the remover to coat the stain, and let it sit for at least 5 minutes. Blot with your trusty damp paper towel or cloth, and repeat the procedure if the stain hasn’t been completely removed.
Do not be discouraged if the stain does not lift completely after one round, as it can take multiple sessions until the wine stain is removed from the carpet fibers.
If you’re an avid coffee drinker, it might be a good idea to keep some of these household items nearby for good measure. Experts say the best treatment for coffee stains on carpets are a mixture of vinegar, water, and non-bleach detergent. Alternatively, you can also use a 2:1 ratio of hydrogen peroxide and dish soap.
Just like the previous example, start by performing a patch test on a hidden spot to make sure that no discoloration occurs after application. Because you are dealing with chemicals, it is also best to wear gloves especially if you have sensitive skin.
Once you are confident that your solution won’t cause any discoloration, blot the spill first, then apply your chosen solution. Let the solution sit for a few seconds, then carefully work the solution in with your fingers. Rinse the stain with cold water, blot, and repeat until the stain disappears completely.
While removing an ink stain may sound daunting, with a little help from some handy household items and a couple of techniques, this notorious stain is actually much simpler to remove than people think.
When it comes to ink stains, alcohol is your best friend (the higher the percentage of the active ingredient, the better!) We recommend using isopropyl alcohol, but hairsprays, nail polish removers, and other colorless solutions with high alcohol content would also work. Again, be sure to test out your solution of choice in an inconspicuous area first before proceeding to prevent further damage.
Once ready, dampen a clean white cloth with your alcohol solution, and proceed to dab the cloth gently on the ink stain. Make sure not to rub the stain, as the last thing we want is to make the ink spot spread. Let the solution sit until completely dry, and repeat the process again if needed.
While there is usually a lot of unease associated with a blood stain, removing this stain is actually relatively easy.
Just like any other stain, the quicker a blood stain is treated, the better. Just make sure to use cold water instead of warm water when treating a blood stain, as blood coagulates with heat. In simpler terms, warm water might cause the blood to permeate deeper in the carpet fibers, which would only worsen the problem at hand.
For this type of stain, fill a spray bottle with a mixture of cold water and 2 teaspoons of a grease-fighting, liquid wash detergent. Spray a generous amount of the solution to the stain until the area is completely soaked, then use a paper towel or a dry white cloth to blot until the blood is transferred to the cloth.
Just like other types of stains, several sessions may be needed, so patience is key.
While we all love and adore our pets, a pet stain may be the most unpleasant one on this list, particularly because of the odor that comes with this specific stain. Fortunately, there are several methods we can use to effectively get rid of the odor as well as carpet stain entirely.
Just like the earlier examples, we need to clean up as much of the initial mess as we possibly can. When dealing with dog or cat poop, get a pair of gloves and dispose accordingly. If you’re dealing with urine, simply use a paper towel to soak up as much of the liquid until the carpet is almost dry.
In the case where the stain has already dried up, you will need to moisten the carpet again, followed by applying a carpet stain-cleaning product specifically for pet stains.
To neutralize the dreaded odor, there are several methods that you can use. Experts suggest mixing a quart of warm water with ¼ cup of vinegar or a stain-fighting laundry detergent, and spraying this on the stained area. Allow the mixture to seep in the carpet’s fibers for a few minutes, then proceed to blot, rinse with warm water, and repeat as necessary.
Other notable things that carpet owners experience aside from the 5 mentioned above are the following:
Foolproof Stain Removal in Three Steps
While different types of stains call for different products, there is a common denominator when it comes to effectively removing them. Here is an easy cheat sheet that you can jot down for the next time you get a not so pleasant stain on your favorite carpet.
Step 1: Getting Rid of Excess Stains
Once you’ve spotted the stain, scrape off as much of the stain as you can. This is so that you can remove as much of the cleanable spill before it turns into a stain. Grab a clean absorbent cloth (make sure that the cloth is white and made from a color-safe material), and start blotting from the outside edges of the stain toward the center.
Make sure to blot gently and never rub, as this may cause permanent damage on the fibers of your carpet. Keep blotting until the cloth comes out clean and no longer picks up any color from the stain.
Step 2: Carpet Stain Remover
More often than not, you’ll need some extra help in getting rid of stubborn stains from the carpet. Depending on what kind of stain it is, pour a generous amount of the appropriate stain remover on the affected area, and give it time to sit and settle into the carpet’s fibers. Be sure not to pour too much of the solution, as this may damage the backing of your carpet.
Whichever stain remover you use, be sure to perform a patch test for colorfastness on an inconspicuous area to make sure that the solution is compatible with the material of your carpet.
Step 3: Blot, Wipe, Repeat
Using a new absorbent cloth, start blotting from the outside in. Once the stain no longer transfers to the cloth, blot again with water, and blot dry. Depending on how tough the stain is, you may need to repeat these steps a few times until the stain is completely removed.
Extra Precautionary Measures
They say prevention is better than cure. Some extra steps you could take in keeping your carpet in mint condition is simply having it cleaned by a professional every 12 to 18 months. You can also invest in a carpet cleaning machine that pumps detergent liquid deep into the fibers of your carpet for a more effective cleaning. These machines also include several features such as shampoo and drying switches, spinning brushes, and even mixing detergent and water for you.
A weekly vacuum regimen is also helpful, especially in areas that are often used. Experts recommend cleaning at least once a week, and twice a day for high-traffic areas.
Rule of Thumb
No matter what type of stain it is, the process of removing them remains the same. With the help of some handy household products, a few blotting techniques, and some patience, removing a carpet stain is actually less stressful than what people perceive.