Tips for Removing Stains from Carpets

All too frequently and all too soon after getting a new carpet installed in your home, an accident happens and the carpet is stained. This tends to happen most often in frequently used areas with decorative carpets, such as living or family rooms. No matter how careful you are, it sometimes seems like a stain is inevitable. Most carpet stains are easy to remove, and you can either try and remove them yourself, or hire a professional carpet cleaner to do so. If you do decide to try yourself, always make sure to test an inconspicuous area of carpet first to ensure the method you’re trying won’t mark it.

Usually the smaller a stain is, the easier it will be to remove using a home remedy. How difficult the stain will be to remove can depend on several factors. The size of the area stained and when the stain was made are two of the factors; older stains can have “set” more and be harder to remove, although some may be easier to remove once dry. A third is what caused the stain in the first place. Whilst some stains can be removed on the first attempt, others may require multiple attempts to completely remove the stain. Blot the area of the stain with a white paper or kitchen towel when cleaning it, and then continue, as opposed to scrubbing the area of the stain.. Scrubbing the stain risks damaging the carpet pile and could also spread the stain.

Dirty Carpet

stevepb / Pixabay

Here are some commercial cleaning solutions for using on stains. Dish washing liquid, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, household ammonia (mixed with water; follow any instructions that come with it), isopropyl rubbing alcohol as well as ready made carpet cleaners. Some tools that are useful to help with the job are kitchen or paper towels (white; coloured may stain the carpet), a spray bottle to apply the cleaner (some commercial cleaners will come with an applicator) and a weight to keep the paper towels pressed onto the carpet. Be careful with using anything that has bleach in it, or that is used to bleach; you don’t want to make things worse.

Greasy marks on the carpet should first be blotted with the paper towel. Surface stains should be blotted by only using the towel in one direction. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or the paper towel can be used on the stain, although care needs to be taken with the alcohol that too much isn’t used and that it doesn’t soak too deeply into the carpet.

Using a wet vacuum cleaner on water based stains immediately after the spill happens will remove a large proportion of the spilled fluid. Wetting the stain after it has dried with water (not too much; don’t soak the carpet) can help with the removal. About a minute after adding the water, start blotting the stains with the paper towel.

Tougher stains will require stronger cleaning solutions to remove. For these, try dish washing liquid or other household detergents. Blot the stain with the solution, then spray water onto it and blot again. It may be necessary to use even stronger solutions such as hydrogen peroxide on the stain first, and then blotting it.

Cleaning stains from your carpet yourself can be more time consuming than using a professional service, but it can be substantially cheaper. If the service you use has an hourly rate, they are quite likely not going to rush the job. Depending on the stain, it can be worthwhile trying to remove it yourself first. As mentioned earlier, always be careful when using cleaning solutions on your carpet; you don’t want to cause more damage than you started with. If you feel at all uncertain about what you are doing, hire a professional. It is better to pay a professional than pay for another new carpet, or to have to claim on your household insurance and have the premiums increase.

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