Knowing how to properly clean a carpet stain – especially around the holidays – is not only a good skill to have, it can become a necessity. A little drop of cranberry sauce here, a red wine stain there, a greasy gravy spot over here…it’s enough to drive you crazy!
And to top it off, it seems like different stains require different treatments – because cleaning up candle wax is an entirely different process than removing chocolate ganache. And both of those differ from the way you clean up Rex’s doggy stain that came to be after Aunt Fern fed him too much turkey. And then it depends whether you have natural or synthetic carpet. What’s a homeowner to do?
First, stay calm! Just about every stain has a solution. Here are some basics to keep in mind:
- Determine whether or not you’re the best person to tackle this job. Everyday jobs you can handle; stains like oil, paint, or ink, and those that contain chemicals, are better left to a professional cleaner.
- Act quickly. The longer a stain has to set, chances are the harder it’ll be to get out.
- Work from the outside toward the middle of the stain. Starting at the central (and most concentrated) and moving outward will only spread the stain
- Use the right agents on the right stain. A grease stain doesn’t necessarily respond to the same thing as a grape juice stain.
- Detergents and chemicals are sometimes useful in cleaning certain stains. For a lot of stains, however, sometimes bleach, vinegar, ammonia or baking soda do the trick. (Just don’t combine all those ingredients together! They can produce disastrous results and/or harmful fumes.)
- Speaking of ammonia, don’t use that on pet stains or coffee & tea stains. It can actually make the spot more enticing for the animal to mark again, and actually makes coffee and tea stains worse.
- Put some elbow grease into it. Use scrubbers, brushes, your fingers – whatever will best work your cleaning agent into the stain.
- Be patient. Sometimes a solution should be left on a stain for 15 – 30 minutes. Letting a treatment properly absorb into the carpet will maximize its cleaning power.
- Blot – don’t rub – a stain. You don’t want to wipe the stain across an even wider swath of carpet. If it’s fresh, blot up what you can with a paper towel. If you find it after the fact, pour cold water over it to dilute and loosen up.
It’s always a good idea to have your flooring and surfaces treated on a yearly basis in order to maintain their cleanliness and freshness. But for those pesky stains that life brings in the meantime, we have faith that you’re the best person to tackle the job!