Stained Carpet 101

To expand the life of your carpet, it is important to take the proper care to protect and clean your investment.  When it comes to stain removal, there are a lot of tricks of the trade.  It is key to understand the type of stain that you are dealing with, if possible, and its composition to ultimately remove the stain.  Below is a quick guide to the most commonly asked questions of how to remove a variety of carpet stains.

Once the stain has been identified, take the first steps to remove all solids and blot with a clean cloth to remove all of the liquid.  This is imperative to do this step as soon as possible as it will make stain removal easier.  Next, follow the useful tips below.  Please note that if you are using any type of product to remove a stain, be sure to color test in a discreet location of the carpet or fabric to ensure that there will be no harm or discoloration to your carpet.

Red Dye – Begin with a combination of dishwashing detergent and luke-warm water.  Using the same initial blotting technique, work your way from the outside of the stain towards the center to prevent the spread of the colored dye.  Typically a white dishcloth is recommended so that you can evaluate if the color is being removed from the area.  If there discoloration remains, repeat the process with 1 cup of white vinegar to 2 cups luke-warm water.  Use a new white towel to clearly see the effects of the new composition.  If this does not completely remove the stain, try placing a towel over the wet stain (from trying to remove with water and dish soap or vinegar) and iron over the area as this has proved to be highly successful in removing stains.

Blood – You cannot avoid the common blood stained carpet that happens in every household.  When it does, act fast to clean it up!  Using the blotting method, take a white cloth and dab the blood stained area with hydrogen peroxide and watch the stain disappear!  This works well with a small soiled area.  For larger mishaps, mix 1 part ammonia to 2 parts cold water and dab the stain working from the outside in until the stain is lifted.

Pet Stains –   “Mom, Fido had ANOTHER accident!”  Have you ever heard those words or something similar before?  Let out a big sigh and get to work on saving your carpet from a pet stain.  It is important to blot the area to extract as much liquid as possible before trying to clean the stain to avoid it reaching the padding underneath the carpet.  Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water and get to cleaning.   This solution will neutralize the ammonia in the urine. Make sure to apply liberally as you want the solution to reach all the affected fibers of the area.  Blot to extract liquid.  Next, sprinkle baking soda over the spot.  Use an “Oxy” based stain remover (hydrogen peroxide) over the baking soda and watch it go to work right before your eyes.  Vacuum the area once dry and repeat if necessary.

Vomit – Use the same method as Red Dye.  The hot iron trick works like a charm!

Sticky Substance, AKA, Gum – How in the world did gum get in your carpet?  That’s another questions for another day…  The best method that I have utilized is the freezing method.  Put some ice cubes in a bag, rub it over the area – freezing the gum – then scrape away the remains.  If there is additional residue, try a magical product called GOO GONE.  Trust me, you will always have it on hand once you see the results.  As a side note, the ice cube in a bag trick works wonders when trying to remove furniture indentations in carpet too!

Best of luck in removing whatever stain has found a home in your carpet!  When it doubt, call a professional and ask for advice!