How to Clean 6 Common Carpet Stains this Holiday Season
Posted by Eric Skates on
Your carpet is one of the most important and easily-damaged things about the interior of your home. It provides a soft, warm surface for bare feet, comfortable place for children to play, and adds a touch of luxury to any interior design. However, domestic life isn't always perfectly tidy and sometimes accidents happen, especially when you're entertaining family or friends over the holidays. If your carpet has endured a recent staining-spill, you don't have to live with it forever or completely replace the carpet.
For any stain, no matter what the substance, your first step is to remove as much of the staining material as possible. Scoop up the solids and blot liquids with a clean rag or paper towel, but do not try to rub the liquids out. Begin to rinse the rug with cold water and blot dry with a clean sponge. All movements should be from the outside of the stain inward to reduce the spread. If the stain is still there when you're done rinsing and blotting keep reading:
1) Alcoholic Beverages and Soft Drinks
Drinks are the number one most common thing to be spilled on a carpet or rug. Whether you fumbled in transit or kicked over a glass on the floor, it can be hard to clean up. Adult parties often involve at least one spilled drink to mark the occasion, while gatherings of children and teens are known for kicked over cans of soda or cups of staining punch.
- Start with carpet shampoo or a teaspoon of clear dish soap diluted in a cup of warm (not hot) water. Remember to work from the outside in.
- Next, try a 1 to 2 ratio of white vinegar and water.
- If all else fails, a small amount of dry cleaning solvent might do the trick. Always rinse well and blot dry immediately.
2) Ball-Point Pen
Have you ever dealt with a pen leak? The classic scenario is a pocket burst but if you step on that had fallen onto the carpet, it will leave a nasty ink stain. We suggest blotting the ink with a clean towel soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Once this dries, brush lightly with a vinegar and water solution.
While we hope you never have to deal with any sort of injury at any time, accidents occasionally do happen: Whether it's from your child's scraped knee or a surprisingly sharp fireplace grate, getting blood out of the carpets is an age-old challenge. We advise:
- Cold water wash followed by carpet shampoo or detergent mix (see beverages)
- Blot with a solution of 1 tablespoon ammonia mixed with half a cup of water
- Neutralize ammonia with a vinegar and water solution
- Treat the carpet with enzyme detergent mixed according to instructions
- Rinse thoroughly
4) Butter or Crayon
Kids are an inherent danger to any carpet, but they more than anyone adore the soft, beautiful patterns and a comfy place to play on the floor. If ever buttered toast or soft crayons end up in your carpet fibers, start treatment with a small amount of dry cleaning solvent, followed by carpet shampoo or the dish-liquid mix (rinse well, blot dry), and finish with a nice dye-sealing vinegar solution at the 1 to 2 ratio with water.
5) Chewing Gum
While gum is one of the worst things to have in your carpet is also surprisingly one of the easiest to remove. To deal with your chewing gum problem, liberally apply ice cubes to the area until the gum becomes brittle and can be broken away from your rug fibers. Any traces can be handled with a spot remover.
6) Red Wine
- With a white cloth, try and blot as much of the red wine stain as you can. The more you can soak up, the less you’ll have to remove.
- After you finish blotting, pour a bit of cold water directly onto the wine stain. Doing this helps dilute what remains of the stain, making blotting a bit easier. Continue blotting until you find that no more of the stain will come out.
- Now prepare a baking soda paste by mixing a three to one ratio of water to baking soda and applying it to the affected area. Once the paste is dry, vacuum the stain.