Here is a fun fact: 7 out of 10 people admit to moving furniture around to cover stains on their carpets rather than cleaning up the mess.
Thing is, cleaning spills immediately prevents stains from forming in the first place. So, if there are stains on your carpet, stop moving your furniture and start cleaning them right away!
To find your remedy, simply scroll to your type of stain below. There is a variety of carpet cleaning products we recommend but as with the homemade solutions, you should always test on an unobtrusive area of the carpet to make sure it doesn’t damage the fibres.
Here you will find how to treat almost any possible stain out there, all with the help of household products. Let’s start now.
Mind the Following Before You Act
When cleaning a stained area, always blot and dry the surface first. Start from the outer edge of the stain and then work your way to the center. Rinse well with water and blot again.
Do not rub or scrub the carpet by any means!
This could damage your carpeting fibres and push the stain deeper thus making it impossible to remove even with high-end professional gear and help. DIY could increase the cost of carpet cleaning at the end of the day.
Blot the surface, instead, to make lifting the stain easier.
However, there are two variables which you should take into consideration when tackling fresh stains. Before you start, make sure you know the answers to these questions:
- What is the carpet made of?
- What is the nature of the stain?
Arm Yourself With the Proper Tools
Having the following tools beforehand will dramatically increase your chances of successfully cleaning the stain.
If your household is a playground children or pets, then it is a good idea to keep your tools in a separate room until you fully pre-treat the stain.
Your stain removal kit should look like this:
- Distilled white vinegar;
- Rubbing alcohol;
- Nail polish remover;
- Hydrogen peroxide;
- Diluted ammonia solution;
- Dull knife (to remove hard debris);
- Cotton swabs and buds;
- White cloth and/or paper towels;
- Plain water; soapy water; both poured in spray bottles.
Again, the quicker you tackle stain accidents, the bigger the chance is to remove them completely. Keep these tools stored in a box somewhere handy.
How to Remove Stains From Your Carpet
Water Soluble Carpet Stains
Statistics, 1 of 5 carpet stains are water-soluble. This means that stains can be removed with water-based cleaning products. These stains are mainly caused by faeces, jam, milk, mud, latex paint, food dye, soda, alcoholic drinks, gravy, ink, berries, ice cream and wet paint.
It is important to remove them as soon as possible. Doing so while the stain is still fresh will cost you less elbow grease in the process of removing it.
To clean water-soluble stains, follow these simple steps:
- For hard particles or thicker substances, scrape them off first using a dull knife.
- Blot the surface using a cloth or white paper.
- Combine ¼ teaspoon of distilled white vinegar with 1L of water.
- Blot the stain using the solution. Don’t scrub or rub. Dab, instead. (Not the Paul Pogba kind of dabbing.)
- Repeat steps 1) and 2) if necessary until the stain comes out.
If these fail you, try a couple of drops of dishwashing soap mixed with warm water. Avoid using laundry detergent because it is highly alkaline.
Partially-water Soluble Carpet Stains (stains that require some extra effort)
There are some stains that are partially water-soluble. They usually require a combination of cleaning techniques and hack to be fully removed. These stains include blood, melted chocolate, vomit, wine, soy sauce, tomato sauce, tea, mayonnaise, and mustard. For more detailed information on how to remove wine stains, follow that link.
A good portion of the products above are highly acidic and can permanently stain your precious carpet (or rug). To lift partially-water soluble carpet stains, follow these simple steps:
- For solid particles or thicker matter, start with scraping off the excess using a dull knife.
- Blot the surface using a cloth or kitchen paper.
- If the carpet is non-woolen, combine 1 tablespoon of ammonia with 1 cup of water and gently apply to the surface.
- If the carpet is woolen, combine detergent and water in a bottle and spray the stained area.
- Continue blotting using a paper or cloth until the carpet is fully dry.
How to Remove Fat, Oil and Wax Stains
To efficiently clean stains from wax, fat and oil, simply place a paper towel on top the carpet. Turn on your iron on a warm setting and lightly press. The substance will start to loosen up and will eventually stick to the paper towel. Repeat the process if necessary.
How to Remove Glue Off Your Carpet
To lift glue off a carpet, dab a cotton ball or soft cloth in rubbing alcohol, then press it on the stained area. Leave it to settle in for long enough so the glue can grip in. Then lightly wipe it from your carpet. Again, repeat these steps if you have a stubborn stain to deal with.
How to Remove Gum From Your Carpet
To make the gum removal easier, toss a few ice cubicles in a bag and place those on top of the gum stain. When the gum hardens, grab a rounded scraping tool like a spoon and scrape as much as possible. Blot the carpet with a white towel and repeat as many times as needed till you scrape as much as possible.
Or buy a chewing gum remover:
How to Clean Nail Polish Stains
Start with taking out as much of the nail polisher as possible. Soak it up using a white towel or paper towel. Do not rub the stain, blot instead. Frequently switch sides of the towel or replace if needed, to avoid transferring the stain back to the carpet.
Finally, apply a small amount of fingernail polish remover (make sure it is a non-acetone one!) onto the stain. The stain should start coming out. Finish by gently blotting the surface.
How to Remove Urine Stains
Using a white towel, soak up as much of the liquid particles as possible. Next, blot the surface using a damp cloth. Make a solution from one part water and one part vinegar, pour it into a spray bottle and spray over the stain, then blot. After that, apply a new solution made from ½ tablespoon mild detergent diluted in 1 litre of water.
Rinse the stained area and blot until dry.
How to Fix Cigarette Burns
Grab some sandpaper and lightly sand away any burn marks present on the carpet. Take the handheld vacuum and clean the remaining residue thoroughly. If there are any black fibres, cut them using scissors.
For partially blackened fibres, apply a solution made out of 1 part of hydrogen peroxide and 10 parts of water. Dab a cloth into the mixture and blot the starting going from the outer edge to the centre. Thoroughly rinse the stain and blot until dry. Finally, open your windows and let it completely air dry.
How to Maintain Your Carpeting
Let’s say you are one of the few people who has never had a carpet stain. Even so, you should still deep clean it once every 12 to 18 months, and even more frequently if you have children or pets on board.
To do so, you have a couple of options:
- Buy a steam carpet cleaner. Check the Bissell and VAX brands;
- Rent a steam cleaner. Take a look at what Rug Doctor is offering;
- Book a visit from a carpet cleaning company. Review-wise, Fantastic Services is one of the best options for hot water or dry chem carpet & rug cleaning.
- DIY using household products and a vacuum cleaner.
Some Helpful Tips When DIYing
In case you decide to go on your own, here are some caveats you should consider:
- Examine your warranty. Some carpets have a stain resistant layer, therefore should be cleaned using products made especially for them. Make sure you check your warranty to avoid damaging the carpet irreversibly;
- Check if your cleaning machine has enough vacuum to suck up the moisture. You want the carpet to be fully dry in 6-12 hours, otherwise, moisture can harm the fibres and damage the carpet;
- Always place fans or a dehumidifier to accelerate the drying time. Have in mind that mildew and bacteria can grow if your carpet is still wet after more than a day (24 hours);
- Make sure the cleaning solution you use has a pH of 10 or less. Also, make sure you’ve removed any residue of it after you are done with cleaning.
Squeeze These Habits into Your Routine
Also, implementing new habits will help you keep your carpet clean for a longer period of time. While they may sound obvious, we still manage to forget most of them. Squeeze these simple habits and reduce the risk of stubborn stains:
- No shoes inside. Place slippers and flip-flops near the front door to remind guests and family members that they should leave their shoes at the door.
- Vacuum high-traffic lanes often and at the right speed. And by often, I mean at least twice a week. Regular vacuuming will reduce soil buildup. You want to vacuum the carpet slowly to take out as much dust and dirt as possible. It is more efficient to do one slow turn on the carpet than several fast turns. Finally, consider vacuuming before deep cleaning for better results.
Interior/exterior doormats are extremely convenient but only if regularly maintained. They will collect dust and dirt that would usually settle on your carpet. If you haven’t used a doormat, consider purchasing one. They are relatively easy to clean and the majority of them can be treated in the washing machine on a gentle cycle.