Carpet cleaning tips:
Covered in this article, general carpet stain
removal tricks such as:
It's vital for the long term health of your carpet that you deal with stains as they happen. The proper way to deal with a spill is to blot it up right after it happens. Don't rub at the stain, that just spreads it out and pushes the stain deeper into the carpet fibers.
Three ways to remove carpet stains --
1- For fresh stains use plain baking soda, pour it dry
on to the fresh spill but do not soak the baking soda. Let it foam and bubble,
let it sit for a few minutes, then sponge up thoroughly.
2- For older stains, combine two tablespoons detergent,
three tablespoons vinegar and one quart warm water. Work into carpet pile
and blot dry. Repeat if needed.
3- Using shaving cream, let it foam on the carpet, wipe clean with sponge and rinse with damp cloth.
After any of these methods, cover the spot with a clean paper towel and place a heavy item, like a floor lamp, on top of it. Once the towel becomes damp, replace it and repeat till dry.
Specific Stain Removing Solutions
Removing coffee stains from carpet
Coffee stains on carpet is a common problem. Blot coffee stains immediately! Then mix one tablespoon mild detergent, one tablespoon vinegar and one quart warm water. Apply the solution to the stained area. Let the carpet dry. As a worst case scenario, apply dry-cleaning fluid at this point, and let carpet dry again, then vacuum.
Removing red wine carpet stain
When removing red wine stain from carpet sponge with club soda (if you drink red wine make sure you
have a bottle of club soda around!), or cover with salt and let it absorb
the wine, vacuum up the salt, with the HOSE, if a stain remains, wipe gently
with a solution of detergent, water and vinegar.
Bleach carpet stain
As soon as possible, blot the area. Bleach is going to discolor your carpet. You may be able to water the bleach down immediately after the spill to lessen the effect of the bleach, but this may simply spread it out more as well. Soak up as much of the bleach as possible, as soon as possible, and let dry.
Your only real option is dying the spot to match the rest of the carpet. This really depends on how noticeable the spot is, if it's a bleach stain on blue carpet, you might as well dye it and blend it in, if it's a bleach stain on off-white carpet, you may be better off leaving it because the dyed spot may end up darker than the rest of the carpet. This is really your call, since after a bleach stain you're pretty much in repair territory, not cleaning. We rarely use bleach, nine out of ten times there are safer and better formulas that don't have the destructive and poisonous qualities of bleach. See our section on natural cleaning for examples.
Ink stain on carpet (other materials too)
Ball-point inks are all a bit different in their make up, they contain any different number of resins, oils and solvents, so it's unlikely one tip is going to work on them all. We list some recipes and techniques here that may help entirely or at least reduce the stain somewhat. Here is a list of known treatments.
Using an absorbent cloth
1. Spray hair spray on cloth, dab on area and blot with dry cloth to absorb ink.
2. Soak cloth in Isopropyl rubbing alcohol, dab on area and blot with dry cloth to absorb ink.
3. Soak cloth in spirits of turpentine, dab on area and blot with dry towel to absorb the ink.
4. Same as above using nail polish remover.
5. Same as above using tea tree oil.
Never apply solvents directly to the stained material! Always test an inconspicuous area first.
Do not use chlorine bleach, it sets the rust. You have two options, as far as we have found -- The first is Oxalic acid, rather toxic and the other is a product called Whink, which contains hydrofluoric acid, which is extremely poisonous, so we would try to avoid using it, but you may find it to be your only option.
We have heard that a pumice stick will work, we use pumice stones on hard water and rust stains in the toilet bowl, and it works great, so maybe try using pumice on your carpet, it can't hurt. It would probably only work on a carpet with an extremely short nap. Let us know if it works for you.
For lipstick stains on carpet scrape and blot excess, apply mild detergent on damp cloth. Blot don't rub. Apply ammonia on damp towel, blot, don't rub, apply white vinegar on damp towel, blot, (don't rub!), rinse with water, put paper towel with weight on top to absorb the stain, repeat blotting and not rubbing till dry.
Blood stains on fabrics
As soon as possible soak the spot in COLD water, do not use warm or hot water, it will set the stain. For stubborn blood stains, apply a paste of meat tenderizer crystals, leave for about an hour and rinse with cold water. For really nasty blood stains use Hydrogen Peroxide, which is the main ingredient used in commercial blood stain cleaners.
Blood stains on carpet
Use a paste of corn starch and water. Apply the paste and wait a few minutes and rinse with cold water.
Pet stains and carpet -- removing pet stain from carpet
(Removal of excrement, vomit and urine)
After scraping off solids, use 1/2 tsp. of mild detergent per pint of water and blot, then use 1/2 tsp. of ammonia per cup of water and blot, follow with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water, blot again and rinse area. The ammonia repels the pet. They won't want to resoil the area.
We hope these specific cleaning tips have been helpful. We've got three indoor kitties -- we've used this last trick and were pleased with the results!
You want to protect your investment, have your
carpet cleaned once a year by hiring a service, or do it yourself by
renting a carpet steamer. If your carpets are not heavily soiled, I see
little evidence that the over hyped high-tech van services do any better
of a job than just renting a shampooer and doing it yourself. It's
more a factor of whether you want to do it or not. If you have
allergies, see our
section on allergy cleaning strategies. Make sure you blot spots and
vacuum prior to cleaning your carpets.
We do not endorse spray-on aerosol cleaners. We've seen no evidence that they work better than the aforementioned techniques, and in fact quite often can discolor your carpet. This never happens with baking soda and vinegar.
See our natural cleaning section for brilliant tips and convincing case studies.
If your carpet is heavily soiled, you may have to go the professional cleaning service route. Make sure you get at least three bids, they vary a lot, it's amazing, and ask if the quote includes their moving the furniture and their choice of cleaners, if you're sensitive to sulfates.