Be quick when it comes to stain removal
No carpet is stain proof. However, carpets treated to be stain resistant give you time to act. Remember, with spot and stain removal, speed is of the essence. After a stain or spill occurs, immediately scoop up solids and blot liquids as quickly as possible. Absorb as much liquid as possible with a paper towel, etc., replacing the towel as it becomes saturated. Never use a scrubbing motion—blot instead to prevent the carpet surface from fuzzing.
For effective spot cleaning, you’ll need the following items. Use the chart below to determine which cleaning tools to use and in what order to use them for optimum stain removal. Some stains may require professional cleaning, depending on the age of the stain.
- (1) Cold Water
- (2) Detergent solution. Mix one teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid with a cup of warm (not hot) water.
- (3) Ammonia solution. Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia (3% solution) with ½ cup of water.
- (4) Solvent. A dry cleaning solvent (available at grocery, drug, and hardware stores). Important note: Dry cleaning solvent should never be used on polyester. Clean polyester with a solution of 1 cup cold water and 1 teaspoon of colorless dishwashing liquid or use an all-purpose household spray cleaner or laundry pre-spray (such as 409 or Shout).
- (5) Ice. Chill with ice cubes in a plastic bag. Shatter residue, pick or scrape off, and vacuum.
- (6) Vinegar solution. Mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 2/3 cup of water.
- (7) Warm water (not hot).
- (8) Clear nail polish remover (preferably acetone).
- (9) Alcohol or methylated spirits mineral turpentine.
- (10) Rust remover.
- (11) Absorbent powder. (e.g., salt, talc, or proprietary absorbent powders).
- (12) Absorbent cleaner. (e.g., Host).
|Stain||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3|
|Colas and Soft Drinks||7||2||-|
|Felt Tip Pen||7||2||8|
|Gravy and Sauces||7||2||-|
|Ink (fountain pen)||1||2||-|
|Oil and Grease||4||2||-|
Methods for Cleaning
No matter what method of cleaning you use, there is one universal recommendation: clean your carpet before it becomes too unsightly. The cleaning chore will be easier and more successful. There are several cleaning methods that produce satisfactory results, but each has limitations that should be considered. Here’s a handy reference to help you decide which cleaning method is right for you and your carpet:
Dry Foam and Absorbent Pad
Fluffy detergent foam is worked into pile by a variety of machines. Once dry, the residue is vacuumed out. This method uses little water, dries fast, and cleans the surface well. Limitation: Overbrushing can damage some carpets.
Absorbent particles are worked into the pile with a machine and removed by vacuum. This method uses no water, little skill is required, and the carpet is ready for use immediately. This is a professional or do-it-yourself method. Limitations: It can be difficult to remove all cleaning residue from deep pile. This method also is not that effective for heavily soiled or matted areas.
Steam Cleaning (Hot Water Extraction)
Extraction of the cleaning solution and soil leaves little residue and no pile damage. Recommended for all carpet types, this method is most effective when performed by a professional using an external hot water extraction unit. Limitations: Avoid using too much detergent. Follow up with plain water, but caution is required to prevent overwetting.
Carpet pilating or grooming should be incorporated with all professional cleanings. A professional pile lifter vacuum may be effective in restoring matted or ridged carpeting.
Caution: Methods and Products to Avoid
The rotary brush wet shampoo method is not recommended for residential carpet as damage may result. Moreover, some do-it-yourself products in aerosol cans may cause rapid re-soiling due to excessive residues. Test on a scrap of carpet first. If the dried product feels sticky, don’t use it. Also avoid all cleaning agents containing an optical brightener (fluorescence) such as those found in many laundry detergents and some carpet cleaning systems.