When you install carpet, you do so knowing that carpet stains are inevitable. Even a home without kids or pets is prone to at least one spill or smudge. No matter the spill, the process of how to remove stains from carpet remains pretty much the same. Thankfully, it's easy! Follow the three simple steps provided below and your carpet will be good as new without a professional carpet steam cleaning.
How to Remove a Stain
Step 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.
Step 2: Apply a Cleaning Agent
Spray any remaining stain with carpet cleaning products. Use a store-bought formula or our homemade carpet 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.
Editor's Tip: Always test for colorfastness in an inconspicuous spot before applying a cleaning agent to a stain on your carpet.
Homemade Carpet Stain Remover:
Stir 1 teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid into 1 quart of warm water, and add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar.
Step 3: Blot Stain Away
Using a clean, white, absorbent cloth, 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. Weigh them down with a heavy object and change out paper towels until dry.
Solutions for Common Carpet Stains
Blood: Apply cold water or club soda, 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 on getting stains out of carpet, download our Carpet Stain Removal Chart.
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