Carpets might feel nice when you’re walking around on them, but when it comes to stains… holy cannoli! They have a problem letting go of stains. I mean we all have problems letting go of things sometimes, people in our lives, objects, but carpets happen to have a real issue letting go of stains.
So, I’m going to walk you through five of the most common carpet stains and I’m going to show you how to tackle them.
Before We Get Started!
Just a few quick pointers before we get into the stain removal tips; a little bit of education about carpets. First of all, there are different kinds of carpets, different materials, and different weaves. So, find out what kind of carpet you have before you actually start cleaning it – that way you can take any special cleaning instructions into consideration.
Also, an important point here – any stain solution you’re trying, you always want to check it in an inconspicuous hidden area first to see how it affects your carpet. If you have a big stain in the middle of your room, you don’t want to use something that might permanently damage the carpet, so go find a little corner and test it over there.
A couple other things to keep in mind: a) don’t use too much product, it’s so hard to extract liquid and goopy stuff from carpets, so use as little as possible, and b) don’t scrub or rub, always use a patting or blotting motion.
Finally, if you’re really stuck on a stain, you can always bring in a carpet cleaning professional – they have equipment and products that you don’t have access to, and they can really do some magic on carpet stains!
You guys know that I have two cats, and to be perfectly honest, while they are lovely, they’ve both had their share of accidents that have made me pretty frustrated. What I’ve learned over the years is that blotting is SO important! I get a lot of paper towels and I’m just pressing down, lifting up, getting a new piece of paper towel, pressing down, lifting up, a new piece of paper towel… you get the idea. You want to suck up as much of that urine as possible, and remember, don’t use the same piece of paper towel each time.
Once that’s done, just mix up a solution of equal parts, white vinegar and water. Put that in a spray bottle and mist it over the area, then, start blotting it up with clean paper towels. You want to repeat this several times so that you really lift out as much as you can and get rid of that odor.
What If the Stain Has Set?
Let’s say you didn’t see when it happened, but you certainly smelled it a few days later. What you can do is apply the process I’ve explained above with the vinegar and water solution, then, once you’ve done that a bunch of times, you can sprinkle baking soda over the area and let it sit. Baking soda is a great natural odor absorber and when you let it set for about 24 hours it’s going to do its work in terms of getting rid of those odors. You’ll also likely see some yellow-y stuff come up too – perfect. Now, you can scrape it up and then vacuum.
You’re sitting there just minding your own business reading the paper, drinking a coffee, and the next thing you know… splash! You’ve got a cleanup job on your hands. Well, the first thing to do, obviously, is to blot like a mad person, get out your paper towel and just blot up as much coffee as you can from the carpet.
What You’ll Need
Get yourself a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide and fill a clean spray bottle with it. Get yourself a bunch of towels – specifically white towels – whether they’re bar towels, old rags or just cut up old towels that you don’t use anymore, anything will suffice (If they’re colored you run the risk of dye transfer, and you don’t want that!).
You’ll also need a steam iron (and make sure that it’s full so that you have a lot of steam) and a large bowl (or bucket) of water.
How To Remove The Stain
- Start by spraying the hydrogen peroxide over the coffee stain.
- Take a towel, dunk it in the water, wring it out and lay it on top of the stained area.
- Take your steam iron (on full steam) and just put it down on that towel right over the stain and let it do its thing for about 15 to 20 seconds.
- Once that time is up, remove the towel (you should see some of the coffee in the white cloth) and then get a fresh towel and repeat steps 1 – 3.
You might have to do this 15 or 20 times but the stain will come up, and your carpet will look amazing.
A couple of warnings – first of all, make sure that you test hydrogen peroxide on your carpet before you attempt this. Hydrogen peroxide can bleach certain surfaces. Second, make sure that the heat setting on your iron is appropriate for the task that you’re doing. You guys know your iron, you know what’s going to burn something and what’s going to be okay, so make sure that you use the appropriate setting before you get going with this trick.
There’s no way about talking about blood stains without it sounding awkward. Either something really terrible has happened on your carpet or it’s like a totally embarrassing bodily thing that’s going on. Anyway, no one wants a blood stain on their carpet and thankfully, there’s a quick solution to get rid of it, but keep in mind, because this one has a little bit of soap in it, you don’t want to go over the top! You need to be really careful with how much product you use.
In a small container, mix up two parts hydrogen peroxide to one part dish soap. Depending on the size of the stain, you can use two tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to one tablespoon dish soap, or you can move it up or down, whatever you need. Stir that up and start applying it gently to the stain and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The hydrogen peroxide is going to need some time to do its work. Next, take a clean cloth and blot the stain, re-apply and repeat. Remember – we’re not rubbing, we’re just pressing hard, blotting and repeating.
Once the stain is gone you need to use clean cold water and a clean towel to flush the area clean to remove any of that soapy residue or else you’re going to get a little ghost stain from the soap.
Red Wine Stains
One of the saddest carpet stains you can get is a wine stain. Not only because you have a lot of cleaning ahead of you, but because you’ve wasted red wine, and that is a true shame. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to clean it up (and it does not involve white wine).
As usual blot up as much as you can and then simply add some club soda, not a ton, just enough to cover the stain. The bubbles are going to help break the stain away from the carpet fibers and allow you to lift the stain out. Blot up the club soda ans repeat as necessary.
Gum isn’t technically a carpet stain but tell that to someone with gum in their carpet and they’ll give you a different opinion. There’s a pretty simple thing that you can do to get rid of this sticky stuff and it centers around an ice pack. That’s right! Get some ice, put it in a Ziploc bag, or if you have an old-school ice pack, that’ll work too. Put it on top of the gum and let the gum freeze. You might need to leave it for 15 minutes, you might need to leave it for an hour and change out the ice pack, whatever you have to do, the gum can’t just be cold, it has to be frozen.
Once it’s frozen, you can use your fingers or a dull metal object like a butter knife or even the edge of a credit card and just start to pick up that frozen gum. It’ll sort of chip off – it’ll come up in your hands and you can toss it. You might be left with a little stain behind but that’s something that you can easily clean with that hydrogen peroxide, dish soap solution that I just told you about for blood.
Stains are definitely a pain but the good news is there are solutions, and they do work. The idea here is you’ve got to treat them fast and treat them with the right products and the right techniques.
COMMENT QUESTION: What’s the toughest stain you’ve encountered?