WHAT TO DO ABOUT STUBBORN CARPET STAINS

Have you ever had something like the following happen? You keep your home as clean as you can. You have invested in a nice carpet. You have taken really good care of that carpet. You vacuum. You are careful to keep food out of the living room. You remove your shoes when you come in the house. You regularly have the carpet cleaned by professionals. But then it happens. Something spills! You panic and grab the nearest washcloth and try to clean it up. You rub harder. Instead of cleaning up, the spot spreads and you are left with an ugly stain that is ground into the carpet in the middle of the room. What to do? Well, here is a guide for taking things into your own hands by wiping out those ugly stains. And the great thing is that the cleaning agents that you need to do the job with are probably already in your home. Several things to remember with all stains. Test the solution on an out-of-the-way piece of carpet first, and make sure that you are dabbing and blotting out the stain instead of rubbing it in. Lastly, make sure that you do some research before you begin. Let’s get started on learning how to deal with the following stains.

Pet Stains
We love our pets but we don’t love when they do their dirty business in the house. Probably the worst place they can make a mess is on the carpet. Clean up the mess as best you can with tissue but don’t allow it to get ground in if possible. Blot up any moisture without allowing it to smear. After that, you can use a solution of 1/4 cup of vinegar with a quart of warm water to spray on the stain and then blot it up. You can also mix water with a stain-fighting laundry detergent in a spray bottle, then spray it on the spot. There are also special pet-stain products on the market that you can purchase and use.

Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea stains need to be taken care of right away before they get ground in. Again, when the spill happens, just blot out the moisture without spreading the stain. Use vinegar and water or the gentle detergent and water mixture to loosen the stain. Beer is another thing that people use for coffee stains.  Certain types of carpet will respond to a 2:1 mixture of water and bleach. Spray, blot it out and rinse carefully with warm water afterward. Be careful to test a patch first as you don’t want to ruin the carpet by bleaching it. If you use a store-bought carpet stain product, make sure to test it on an out-of-the-way patch first.

Blood
Bloodstains need to be taken care of immediately. If a blood stain has time to set in on your carpet, it may become even more difficult to remove. If it is dry already, brush it with a steel brush then vacuum. Then put a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid into a couple of cups of cold water. Again, as with most stains, blotting is the best way to apply. If that doesn’t work, mix one-half cup of warm water with one tablespoon of ammonia and apply it onto the stain and then blot it again. Meat tenderizer and water can work too. Another mixture to try is a half and half solution of hydrogen peroxide and warm water. You can also use a wet-vac to suck up any of these solutions. If the blood stain is really stubborn, you might purchase one of the commercial solutions on the market. Blood stains are an organic stain, and contain proteins and are difficult to remove because proteins bind to each other when they’re exposed to heat and certain chemicals. Some of the products have enzymes and surfactants that convert water insoluble stains into water-soluble stains.

Ink
Cleaning up an ink stain doesn’t have to be as daunting a task that it seems at first blush. Pour a little isopropyl alcohol (find at the hardware store) onto a clean cloth and dab onto the stain very gently. Let it sit, then suck it up with a wet-vac. Repeat until it is gone. You can also experiment with certain hairsprays, nail polish removers or vinegar. Make sure to rinse the area with water then wet-vac it again after application. Again, you might want to test your cleaner on an out-of-the-way area of the carpet first, just to make sure you are not damaging your carpet. Yet another idea is to mix milk with cornstarch to make a paste, apply it to the stain, let it dry, then vacuum it up.

Red Wine, Koolaid, & Fruit Juice
First, always gently blot the stain with a dry white towel. Again, refrain from rubbing the stain in. Mix 1/4 cup white vinegar, a little dish soap, and water into a spray bottle and spritz it on the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes then blot with a paper towel. You can also try a solution made from a cup of ammonia in a gallon of water. If you spill red wine, try pouring some white wine on it first to dilute the color, then sponge it up with cold water. Sprinkle salt on it, then vacuum.

Greasy, Oily Stains
Put a little shaving cream on the spot. Blot the stain, pat it with a wet sponge, wait a few minutes, then blot with a paper towel. You can also try the solution made from a cup of ammonia in a gallon of water. Cornstarch is also great for soaking up grease and oil stains. Make a paste, pat it on, let it dry and vacuum it off.  You can also mix up 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and rub it hard on the grease stain, being careful to rub in the direction of the rug’s natural nap. You can also try using a soft-bristled nylon toothbrush on most tough stains. Borax, WD-40, and hydrogen peroxide are other products that you can try on stains. However, these products might strip color or break down the fibers so be careful to test first.

Paint
Use 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons laundry detergent, and two cups water. Sponge away the paint before it sets in and rinse it with cold water. Depending on the type of paint, you can also try dabbing the spill with paint remover or dry-cleaning fluid. Again, be careful to do a test area first.

Vomit and Urine
Wipe up what you can, then pour baking soda over the affected area and pat with a paper towel. Let dry, then vacuum it up. Club soda also works on urine. Blot up with paper towels, then soak with club soda and blot again.

Chewing Gum
Freeze the gum first with ice cubes in a plastic bag, then scrape with a butter knife and blot with dry-cleaning fluid.

Really Tough Stains
With a little research, the right product and a little ingenuity you can get nearly any stain out of your carpet. If you have done all of your research, tried everything, and still find yourself with a really tough stain problem, you might need to call for a professional. Hiring the right cleaning company to help clean your home can be a hit or miss proposition. You’ll want to contact a company with a great reputation and lots of experience in every area of cleaning. The company should be insured, bonded and licensed as well. If you would like a great referral, give us a call, we know just the right company!


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