How to Clean Carpet Stains
By Jamey Wagner
Carpet stains can be a nightmare, especially if you are not armed with the right information when it comes to removing them. The first few moments after a stain occurs are crucial to whether or not your carpet will be able to recover unscathed. For this reason it is important to understand the different types of stains, as well as the different tactics which can be used to remove them. Remember, not all stains are alike. Some stains will require a totally different approach than others. If you have a carpet and would like to know what you can do to remove stains as quickly as they happen, read on.
Before we go any further on how to remove stains from carpet, it seems it would be prudent to at least mention the best way to keep your carpet looking brand new, and that is to prevent the stains from occurring in the first place. While it is true that you cannot guarantee that nothing will ever be spilled on your carpet, you can take preventative measures so that in the event something does get spilled, the stain will not set. The best way to ensure that you will not get stains on your carpet is to have it scotch guarded at least once a year. Most professional carpet cleaning companies offer scotch guard at a decent price. If you think about how much the carpet would cost to replace, you might appreciate the idea of scotch guard.
One type of stain is an acid stain such as that from battery acid, or from acids found in certain household chemicals. These stains can damage your carpet in a very short time which is why super fast action is a must. The first thing you will need to do is neutralize the stain. In order to do that, quickly make a solution of one tablespoon of baking soda to one quart of warm water. Apply this solution liberally to the effected area and then quickly blot with a towel. Repeat this step several times. The key here is to stop the action of the acid and the baking soda will work to do just that. However, the longer it takes to get to the spot, the least likely you are to prevent serious damage so again, fast action is imperative. Once you have sufficiently neutralized the acid and soaked up the excess liquid with a towel, point a fan toward the effected area and let it dry thoroughly.
Of course we do hope you will never have the occasion to have to clean blood from your carpet but as things do happen, it is better to be prepared with a good plan of action. To remove blood from a carpet, rinse the area with very cold water and soak the liquid up with a towel, applying a good amount of pressure so that all the liquid comes up. Repeat this step several times, each time making sure you soak the excess water up good. Remember, the water must be cold as hot water will actually cause the stain to set in. If you have a shop-vac that is even better; use it to really soak up that water. Next, pour a tiny bit of dawn dishwashing detergent on the spot and gently work it in. Be cautious not to scrub too hard or you may damage your carpet fibers. Repeat this step as many times as you have to and remember to always soak up the extra water. A little bit of club soda may be tried if the stain hasn’t come out. If you act quickly enough blood can be removed successfully. In some cases a professional carpet cleaning company may need to be called. Dry the carpet thoroughly using a fan.
Chewing gum in any type of fabric is a nightmare, including your carpet. To remove gum from your carpet, take out your blow dryer and begin to heat up the gum with it. Keep in mind that you want to use caution so you will not burn the carpet. Take a piece of saran wrap or a plastic bag and attempt to lift the heated gum from the carpet. In some cases this will actually do the trick right away. The next thing you will want to do is apply some sort of ointment that contains the ingredient methyl salicylate such as a muscle rub like Ben gay. Take a towel and begin to pull the rest of the loosened gum up. Once you have effectively removed all the gum from the carpet, use mild dish soap and a bit of warm water and clean the area. Use a fan to dry whatever water you are not able to soak up with a dry towel.
Commercial Stain and Spot Removers
There are a variety of products which are made not only for your carpet but also for your laundry. Sometimes tough stains will require some sort of pre-stain treatment before any of the above methods will work. Use caution when applying products to your carpet so that you do not damage the actual fibers of the rug. On stubborn stains that have already had a few minutes to set in, try adding a stain remover solution and allowing it to soak over night. The next day, take some cold water and gently work the stain solution around. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary. Be sure to dry carpet well so that wicking does not occur. Wicking is when the stain gets down into the carpet and gradually comes back up over time.
While many of the methods of stain removal mentioned above can bring you success, there will be times when you will want to have your carpet steam cleaned by a reputable company. This is good for an overall general cleaning and also to remove any stains you were not able to clean. Remember, you do not have to settle for a filthy looking carpet. Just take some steps to keep your carpet clean and it can last for years and years.