Your Guide to Removing Every Type of Carpet Stain

Unfortunately, accidents happen. Whether it is muddy foot or paw prints, a spilled glass of wine or a cup of coffee, a candle wax mishap, or worse, there is a homemade carpet cleaning solution to handle the cleanup. Most if not all stains do not require special store-bought solvents or sprays. With just a few ingredients that you likely have lying around the house, you can make your own DIY carpet cleaning solvent and take on any stain.

First, you will need to determine whether your carpet is made with natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Obviously, synthetic materials are those not found in nature. They are machine-made from various chemical compounds. Synthetic fibers represent the vast majority of carpet fibers sold today. Natural fibers are comprised of materials that grow in nature that are harvested and processed into fibers. While natural fibers make up a relatively small percentage in today’s market, they still have a place in the carpet industry. Synthetic fibers are generally much more stain resistant than natural fibers. Although wool has a fairly good protective barrier thanks to the microscopic scales that cover the fiber, once a substance penetrates the barrier and gets into the fiber’s core, it is almost impossible to remove the stain. Once you have determined this, use our guide below to keep your carpets looking brand new and stain-free! As always, feel to refer to our Maintenance For Carpets & Rugs page for more information.

Food & Drink Stains:

When it comes to cleaning up food accidents, as with any stains, it is best to move fast! You will want to start with the chunks or any solid matter. Pick up the larger pieces first with a damp cloth or paper towel. Try to grab up as much as you can without wiping or pushing any solid matter into your carpet. With a damp sponge, sweep over the surface and collect the remaining bits. Now that the solid matter is gone, the stain is exposed and you’re ready for the next step. At this stage, your remaining stain is in the same state as a drink stain would be, so the cleanup is basically identical. Gently blot the excess liquid from the spill with a damp cloth or paper towel. If there is an excess amount of liquid, you can use a wet vacuum to get some of it up. If need be, wet a dry stain with a little cool water. Wait about a minute for the water to saturate the stain, and then blot gently with a paper towel. If the stain is coming out with just water, keep dampening and blotting until you get the stain out. For tougher stains, mix together one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and two cups of warm water. Do not pour directly onto the stain. Pour this solution onto a clean, white or light towel and blot the stained carpet until the stain is removed. Pat the carpet dry with a paper towel.


Mud & Dirt Stains:

Unlike most other stains you will encounter, you will want to let the mud dry first. This may seem counterintuitive, but it will be much easier to remove once the mud is dry. You will also want to avoid rubbing wet mud deeper into your carpet’s fibers. Now that you have let the mud dry, you will be left with dirt. Slowly vacuum any affected areas to remove the dirt. By vacuuming slowly, you will remove more dirt. Once the dirt is removed, mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and one cup of warm water. Use a white or light cloth to blot the solution onto the carpet. Using a white or light cloth will allow you to see the stain is lifted. Continue to blot the stain, and switch to a new cloth if necessary. Gently blot with a clean cloth or paper towel to dry the area.

Pet Stains:

No matter how well-trained your furry friend is, accidents happen. It is important to know how to act fast and avoid any smells setting in with the stain. Once the mess begins to dry, the odor will set into the carpet fibers. Whether it is vomit or urine, there is a quick solution to remove the mess.  If there are chunks in the vomit (YUCK!), you will want to remove them first with a dustpan or scraper. For any liquid from the vomit or a urine accident, place a towel on the spot to absorb. Apply as much pressure as you can so it absorbs as much liquid as possible. Next, sprinkle baking soda on the spot and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Mix a solution of 2 cups of warm water, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the mixture and apply it to the soiled area, lightly blotting. You may need to do this a couple of times to remove a tough stain. When the stain is gone, remove cleaner by putting a cloth dipped in clean water on the area. Blot dry with a towel.


Wax & Gum Stains:

No matter whether it is gum or wax, the first step is always the same. Freeze! The first thing you will want to do is get a Ziploc or waterproof plastic bag and fill it with ice. Lay the bag on top of the wax or gum and allow it to freeze. Make sure the wax stain is not getting wet from any leaks or condensation, as moisture will make the stain harder to get out. Change the ice if need be and repeat until the wax or gum is completely frozen solid. Once frozen, hit with the back of a metal kitchen utensil to break into pieces. Here is where the process changes slightly for either gum or wax. For gum, once you have broken the frozen gum into pieces, simply vacuum up the pieces thoroughly. If a stain is left, mix 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. Dab solution on the remaining gum residue, being sure not to rub. Once the stain is removed, wet a clean cloth and dab the stain again to rinse away the vinegar. If wax is the culprit, once the wax is frozen, begin scraping off as much as possible with a dull knife or another hard flat edge. Then, spread a clean terry cloth, brown paper bag, or paper towel over the wax stain. Run a warm iron over the paper or cloth to heat the wax. The paper or cloth should absorb the wax as it melts. Be careful not to let the iron get too hot or it could burn the paper or melt the carpet. The wax should be removed, but if a stain remains, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto a clean white cloth, and dab at the stain. Blot the carpet until it is dry with a towel.

Ideally, any stain you encounter will be manageable, and with regular maintenance, your carpet will be looking great for years to come. However, if the time comes to replace your carpet, Flooring Professionals has you covered! For more information, contact a Flooring Professional near you today.

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