No matter the spill, the process of how to clean carpet stains remains pretty much the same. Thankfully, it's easy! Follow these three simple steps:
1. Remove excess ASAP.
Scrape off any excess solid with a spoon or a butter knife ASAP so your cleanable spill doesn't turn into a permanent stain.
Gently blot away excess liquid with a clean, white, absorbent cloth, working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading. "Always blot, never rub, which can permanently damage carpet fibers," says Derek Christian of My Maid Service. Repeat until the cloth no longer picks up any color.
2. Apply a cleaning agent.
Spray any remaining stain with a cleaning agent. Use a store-bought formula or our homemade stain remover (see below). Tips for removing specific stains are listed below. Take care not to over-wet the stain, which can damage the backing. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Always test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot first.
Homemade Carpet Stain Remover
Stir one teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid into 1 quart of warm water, and add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
3. Blot stain away.
Using a clean, white, absorbent cloth, again blot from the outside in. Repeat until the stain no longer transfers to the cloth. Blot with cold water, then blot dry.
Try this trick for thorough drying: Cover the damp area with a 1/2-inch-thick layer of cloth or paper towels, weighted down by a heavy object, changing out paper towels until dry.
Before You Treat a Carpet Stain: Learn What Not to Do
Solutions for Common Carpet Stains
Blood: Apply cold water or club soda, and then blot with a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain is gone.
Fat-based stains (butter, margarine, gravy, etc.): Use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner following the label instructions.
Gum: Peel away as much gum as you can. Harden the remaining gum by placing a resealable plastic bag of ice cubes over it. Chip gum away with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum. Clean lingering stain with a dry-solvent carpet cleaner, following the label instructions.
Urine: Apply an enzymatic cleaner, available at pet supply stores or co-ops and other natural retailers.
Wine or juice: Spritz with club soda. Blot with a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain is gone.
For a more complete list, download our Carpet Stain Removal Chart.
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