Ways to Remove Stains from Carpets: A Do It Yourself Guide
If you have a carpet, then the chances are that your carpets will get dirty and have to be cleaned. But with the many different choices of cleaners out there, it can be hard knowing which product is really best for getting stains out of your carpet-and what works on one type of carpet may not work on another type!
This guide should help clear up any confusion about how to clean the different kinds of carpets out there (and in case you get confused again, remember this simple rule: stick to liquids). Let’s begin! For whatever reason, stains or spills happen-but they’re never pleasant. Stains make life more difficult because they usually require cleaning effort and sometimes involve stinky chemicals.
Between spills, pet accidents, and kid messes, it seems like carpets are constantly dirty. But the truth is that all you need is the right strategy and a little effort to make your carpet look almost new again! Here are some tips on how to get your carpets looking fresh in no time-just follow these simple steps and enjoy cleaner living today!
Here are some basic steps you should follow when attempting to clean up stains of any kind:
1. Blot-don’t scrub! Make sure you don’t expend too much energy trying to get a stain out by scrubbing at it-you’ll only end up making it worse and wear yourself out. Instead, if there’s a hard/greasy residue left behind after blotting, make sure you use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to clean it.
2. Use a solution of water and dishwashing detergent (in liquid or powder form) for stains like juice, coffee, tea, human waste, etc.
3. If you have a stain with grease/fat in it (such as chocolate), then use warm water mixed with ammonia or baking soda dissolved in it-let the mixture sit for 5 minutes before blotting; repeat if necessary
4. For red wine stains on carpets that are going to be left outside on the patio overnight or longer, put white distilled vinegar on them until dry to make sure mold doesn’t grow underneath/around the edges of the stain (this may discolor your carpet slightly). Make sure you blot for 5-10 minutes before putting the vinegar on to make it more effective.
5. For mold or mildew stains, mix a solution of 1 part white distilled vinegar with ten parts water and apply directly onto the stain AS SOON as possible (you can let dry first if leaving out overnight), then blot up excess liquid after 30 minutes have passed. Use a stiff brush to scrub stubborn areas off; repeat if necessary
6. For viscous or sticky substances like chewing gum/wax (anything that doesn’t come off in one attempt): put ice cubes on top until they’re almost frozen all the way through, then use gloves to pick up edges and peel back material as you go, so you don’t have to try and pull a frozen layer of material into the carpet
7. For lipstick stains or any other colored stain, dab rubbing alcohol on it using a cotton ball until the color is removed: if that doesn’t work, use hydrogen peroxide instead. If all else fails (usually for tough grease stains), put hot water onto the spot overnight and vacuum in the morning-this will soften up any decayed fibers and allow your vacuum to pick them up easily.
Blot stains and blot them good!
The first step in removing a stain is to get it while it’s fresh. If you can find the exact spot where the stain was made, dab with some absorbent paper towels, give it a gentle scrub with an all-purpose cleaner or detergent, then blot until the liquid starts to come out. Repeat steps one through three as necessary and repeat until all of the stains have been blotted up.
If the stain persists, you may need to make a very diluted mixture of either 3/4 hydrogen peroxide or ammonia and warm water (get the proportions correct), then dab accordingly. Be careful not to saturate the carpet-just add enough to make a light mixture. Blot gently after every application until the stain is gone.
Baking Soda for Dry Stains and Pet Accidents (or any other kind of stains)
Dry Baking soda will absorb unwanted smells from your carpet, and it’s also great at absorbing spilled juice or coffee that has been sitting for hours! To use baking soda to clean up dried stains, sprinkle all over the affected area, let dry/bake overnight or longer in a well-ventilated space, then vacuum up the excess powder.
For pet accidents like peeing on carpets, get a plastic bowl and fill it with 1 inch of warm water mixed with baking soda. Gently dab the area with a sponge, then let it sit for 5 minutes (or more if it’s been hours) and blot until the liquid is in the bowl. If you have lots of carpets affected, do this in sections so you don’t over-saturate your carpet at one time.
After the spot has soaked for a good amount of time, use a paper towel or something absorbent to blot up excess powder and liquid that is left behind. Repeat until all of the residues is gone, and your carpet will look great again!
Leather Cleaner as Carpet Spot Treatment Tool
If you have an area on your carpet where there’s some kind of grease stain (or if you’re not sure what spilled), rubbing alcohol (preferably pure grain) dabbed onto the affected area with a cotton ball will usually do it (if not, try using water-rubbing alcohol mixtures).
Work in small circular motions until the stain is removed. Let it air dry before moving on to the next step.
Now that the stained area has been patched, you should use an all-purpose cleaning solution to clean your entire carpet (find a good spot treatment product). A light scrubbing with a stiff brush may be necessary, depending on how dirty/stained your carpet is. Finish by using the vacuum’s upholstery attachment to pick up any loose particles left behind by previous steps. Your loved one will thank you later!
If any spots still persist, try dabbing rubbing alcohol once again onto a cotton ball and working it into the stain until it’s gone-if this fails, get some hydrogen peroxide and try it instead-it can be more effective than ammonia or baking soda for getting tough stains out of carpets.
Cat/Dog Hair Removal Tips
Animal hair mixed with dirt can cause stubborn spots to staining carpets, but these tips are sure to help you get back that looking-fresh feel again. To brush up bare patches of carpet or untangle any animal hair stuck on your carpets, gently run a lint brush over any hairy areas.
For spot cleaning stubborn stains caused by pet hair or soil, try this: mix 1 part vinegar and two parts warm water, then dab the affected area until it’s soaked in. Blot with a paper towel or cloth and/or vacuum up excess liquid until the stain is gone
Note: vinegar is a natural pet hair remover, so don’t worry about your animals – as long as you aren’t using an ammonia-based cleaner on them or anything!
Upholstery cleaner is your friend.
If it’s upholstery that’s got stains on it instead of carpet, throw out whatever you were using as an upholstery cleaner because instead use this stuff-it’s called Resolve Carpet Cleaning Solution, and it works amazing! I bought myself a huge bottle at Costco for like $10, so I’ll never run out again-this in conjunction with #1, will ensure that your upholstery is spotless! Just blot the solution into the affected area after step 1 until all that.
Several different things make great cleaning solutions for carpets-and they’re probably already in your house! Try using white vinegar mixed with water (1:4 ratio) for everyday spots, cornstarch combined with lemon juice for grease stains, and a solution of liquid soap and warm water for heavy-duty stains. If you’re cleaning up after pets or if the stain is a little bit older, try using an enzyme-based cleaner to get rid of the worst spots.
Use pre-treater spray when necessary.
Pre-treater sprays are great for tough spots that don’t come out easily with blotting techniques alone. These sprays (like Shout) are designed to sink into the fabric fibers and loosen dirt so that it is easier to remove.
These are the ideal products for getting out stains like tomato sauce or grease without damaging the fabric. You can buy them at any grocery store, most cleaning supply stores, and online. If your stain is older and you’ve already tried everything else that’s on this list to no avail, grab a bottle of this stuff!
As an alternative to pre-treater sprays, you can also try using dishwashing detergent (a tablespoon should do) with warm water instead.
To remove motor oil from your carpet, first, make sure you have pulled off any excess liquid to prevent seeping into other parts of your carpet.
Next, sprinkle some baking soda over the spot and let sit for about 10 minutes. Then use a clean cloth or paper towels moistened with white vinegar to rub at the affected area until most of the oil is gone. Finish off by adding one tablespoon of laundry detergent to two cups of warm water and using an old toothbrush or scrub brush to work away at any leftover stains. If the stain is still visible, repeat these steps.
Suppose you’re dealing with a large spill of motor oil or something that has already soaked into the carpet and spread elsewhere. In that case, it’s best to call an expert and get them to come over as soon as possible to deal with it – you don’t want to risk leaving the spot untreated for too long or else you could end up having your entire carpet replaced by your landlord. Also, you should contact your landlord immediately if you’ve spilled anything on their property; many landlords won’t accept responsibility for the damage, but many will also try to help out where they can because nobody wants a stain in their building.
If your carpet is just dirty, one of the best and easiest ways to clean it is with a rug doctor. The powerhead on these machines pulls out dirt from deep within your carpet so that your entire home feels cleaner -and you can use the attachments on it to scrub away any discoloration in your carpet as well.
You could also rent one of these tools if you don’t want to make a big investment, but I recommend just going and buying one because they are so useful and will save your carpets from lots of wear-and-tear. You can usually get one of these on sale at all the major stores, or you can find them online.
Use a Rug Doctor
If your rug doctor has multiple heads for different purposes, use an attachment that works best for cleaning your specific type of carpeting. This is better than blotting because it will really draw out deep-set dirt and make sure that every inch of your carpet is clean as well.
Otherwise, just blot away with a towel (or even put paper towels under the nozzle) in order to soak up as much excess water as possible before heading over to the next step.
Now sprinkle baking soda over the area again (if you already tried this in step 1, then skip this part), and let it sit for 10 or 15 minutes. Next, use a clean cloth to scrub away any discoloration on your carpet, and be sure to use a good amount of elbow grease. Afterward, vacuum the area thoroughly with suction on high so that you can get rid of all baking soda and whatever else is still on the carpet.
Clean Your Carpet By Hand If All Else Fails
If you’ve tried everything above, but nothing has worked, then I recommend using plain old soap and water (plus some elbow grease!) to remove stains from your carpets by hand. It’s not as easy as other methods, but it can definitely work if used properly!
Be sure to dab at the stain with a damp paper towel in order to blot up as much excess water as possible before you start scrubbing.
First, soak a clean cloth in warm water and add a generous amount of soap on top (I recommend using dishwashing detergent). Then, simply scrub away at the stain until it has all been removed!
If this is incredibly difficult to do, then you can also try using an old toothbrush or even an old loofa sponge to help scrub the area. Finish off by rinsing out your cloth with more soap and then some water for good measure; blot the spot dry and vacuum it up if necessary.
After reading this article, you should have a much better idea of how to remove stains from carpets. Whether it’s something small like coffee or wine or something large like marker ink, these methods will help get your carpet looking great again in no time! If you have any questions about the methods we discussed today, please comment below, and one of our experts can provide more information on what method is best for your particular stain situation. Thanks for reading, and I hope that this blog post has been helpful!