Carpet and rugs add a layer of comfort and warm up a space. However, they are magnets for dust, debris, and notoriously difficult-to-remove stains. If you happen to drop red wine or chocolate on your carpet, don’t stress—you won’t need to toss them in the trash or get them replaced. Follow these simple tips on how to get stains out of carpet and rugs.
Always Blot the Stain ASAP
The key to successful stain removal is speed. The quicker you act the more likely you’ll be successful in removing a carpet stain. When a spill occurs, the first step is to absorb as much as the stain as possible. If the substance is thick or chunky, you will need to remove all the physical debris first. Try using a butter knife or spoon to scrape up as much of the debris as possible.
Next, use a damp paper towel or light-colored towel (white is best) to blot the area. The Carpet and Rug Institute says that printed or colored material may transfer ink or dye to your damp carpet. Fold the towel over and continue to blot until most of the stain is absorbed into the towel. White towels make it easier to see how much of the stain gets absorbed.
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Read Up on the Best Way to Remove the Stain & Do Not Scrub
Consult the manufacturer for the list of recommended cleaning products for use on the rug or carpet. Not using the right cleaning products could void your warranty or damage your rug. If in doubt, use an SOA Certified cleaner.
Dip a white cloth into a small amount of the cleaner. Then, work it in gently onto the stain. Start from the edges and work your way to the center. Blot, don’t scrub. And never use a scrub brush. The bristles and scrubbing action can damage the carpet and push the stain deeper into the fibers. You may have to repeat the previous step more than once to remove the stain.
Once the stain is gone, blot the area with clean water to remove any remaining product. Blot the area with a dry cloth to soak up any moisture. Allow the area to dry completely.
How to Deal with Stubborn Stains
Certain types of stains take more effort to remove. The first step to getting rid of tough stains is to remove the solids and blot as you do with any stains. Let’s take a look at how to approach notoriously difficult stains.
Immediately blot up as much of the wine as possible. Then, dilute the stained area with cold water, then blot again. You will need to get as much of the pigment out as possible before applying the stain remover. Some popular red wine stain removers include club soda, rubbing alcohol, and baking soda. As with any commercial stain removers, be sure to consult the manufacturer to make sure the cleaners are safe for the rug or carpet. Blot, rinse, and dry as described above.
Pet Stains, Grease & Chocolate
Urine, feces, and other biological (including grease and chocolate) messes require special treatment. Remove solid matter first and blot up any liquids. Next, use a stain remover designed for protein-based messes. These cleaners are enzyme-based and contain beneficial bacteria. They are designed to break down waste particles that bacteria can more easily consume. Best of all, they will no traces of scent on the carpet once cleaned. Rinse and dry the treated spot thoroughly with a clean cloth.
Blot up the spill and spray the area with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. If that doesn’t not remove the stain, let the area dry and then sprinkle baking soda over the stain. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, vacuum the baking powder. If the stain is still there, you will need to use a professional grade cleaner.
Blot up as much as you can, then dilute the area with cold water (never use hot—that will cause the stain to set). Next, spray hydrogen peroxide over the stain. Make sure that the hydrogen peroxide is safe for use on your carpet or rug prior to applying. The hydrogen peroxide will start to fizz and bubble as it comes into contact with the blood. This is completely normal. Blood have enzymes that attack hydrogen peroxide molecules and converts it into water. Blot dry and repeat if necessary.
These stains can be tricky but quick action will give you positive results. Spray the affected area with rubbing alcohol. Allow the alcohol to sit on the the stain for about an hour, then gently blot it with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Repeat if necessary.
Although gum is not necessarily a stain, it does leave a terrible mess on rugs and carpets. Put a few ice cubes in a sandwich bag, and place them on top of the gum. Let it sit for about half an hour. This will cause the gum to harden. Start peeling the gum off the fibers. If it gets soft, reapply the bag and allow the gum to harden again.
Getting stains off your carpet and rugs will help keep your flooring (and space) looking bright and new. Of course, the best way to keep your flooring looking its best is to prevent the stains in the first place. However, if a spill occurs, acting quickly will save you a lot of effort later.
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