Removing Carpet Stains
Simple ways to keep your carpets clean with items found in kitchen cabinets.
If you have carpet in your home, chances are that at some time or another you will need to learn some carpet stain removal tips. Carpeting is quite an investment for most people so they want to keep it looking clean and neat for as long as possible. Throw kids in the mix with your carpets and you will be looking at stains that you could have never imagined. From crayons to kool-aid to mud, you are sure to have stains that seem as if they are never going to come out. Never fear! There are ways to keep your carpets clean and neat, no matter how many children that you have!
Ways to Prevent Those Nasty Carpet Stains
Most carpeting sold these days comes with a stain resistant coating on it to help prevent any stains from setting in, but this does not mean that your carpeting is going to stay beautiful without any work. There are a few things that you can do to help prevent stains.
- Put rugs at all of the entrances for people to wipe their feet. This helps to remove some of the dirt and debris that can be transferred to your carpets.
- Vacuum your carpets often.
- Reevaluate eating and drinking in rooms where you have carpet. Food and drink stains are the most commonly seen carpet stains.
Catch The Stain Early
The best way to take care of a stain is to clean it as soon as possible after it occurs. The longer that you allow the stain to sit on the carpet, the harder it is going to be to completely remove it. If you do not have the tool to clean up that specific stain, then put club soda on the stain to keep it from setting and immediately go get what you need to clean up the stain. Blot up as much of the stain as you can with a white paper or cloth towel before you treat the stain. Be sure that you blot gently and that you do not push it deeper into the carpeting. If it is a dry stain, scrape up as much of the stain as possible.
Carpet Stain Removal Tools of the Trade
Preparation is the key to keeping your carpets as clean as possible. Having some basic stain removers on hand will enable you to treat stains as they occur so that they do not set into your carpeting. Some of these items will be normal, everyday items that you keep on your kitchen shelves and some of the items you may have to purchase, but if you prepare, then you will be ready for any kind of stain!
- Club Soda
- Dishwashing Liquid
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Baking Soda
- White Vinegar
- Toothpaste (non-gel)
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Dry cleaning solvent (found at grocery store or carpet cleaning supplier)
Carpet Stain Removal Tips
The main thing to remember is to keep the stain from setting into your carpet if possible. This will make it much easier for you to completely remove the stain from your carpet. There are hundreds of different stains and ways to remove them. The key is to try a stain removal method and if it does not work, don’t give up!
Ink Stain Removal
Make a liquid barrier around the ink spot by mixing a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. The ammonia is catalyst of peroxide, and makes the peroxide work better. Note if you are working on natural fibers such as cotton, wool, linen, avoid using ammonia. Just plain peroxide instead. Once the ink spot is surrounded with the liquid barrier, apply an ink solvent to dissolve the ink. If the ink wants to spread, take an eyedropper and push the ink back to the middle with your peroxide/ammonia barrier.
Repeat this process until the ink is gone. Blot to remove solution, and follow up with a plain water steam clean of the area.
Coffee Stain On Carpets
I have recent experience with this nasty type of stain- And it was ugly. Family was over, and we were all enjoying ourselves in the formal living area. Someone accidentally knocked over a fresh cup of Starbuck’s coffee (French roast, no less) on my very light gray, almost to the point of being white carpet. Thank goodness I am Mrs. Clean!
Anyway, this is what you do to remove that nasty coffee stain completely.
Blot or extract as much of the liquid as possible with a dry, clean towel. Use a steam cleaner with plain cold water or a washrag and attempt to remove as much of the coffee as possible from the carpet fibers. If the stain remains, mix a spray bottle with 50/50 water and plain white vinegar and blot carefully in the carpet fibers. Let it sit for approximately 15 minutes. Coffee is an acid which settles in the actual carpet fibers, and the vinegar is a stronger acid which will displace the coffee stain. Blot carefully to remove moisture. If it looks ok, steam clean to extract the vinegar with plain cold water, or use a clean rag with cold water.
If a stain remains after the carpet has dried, go to your medicine cabinet and grab the bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Pour it directly on the stain and massage in and around the stained fibers. Let it dry, and repeat if needed. You do not need to steam clean as the hydrogen peroxide will turn to water when exposed to sunlight. You may need to apply the hydrogen peroxide a few times to completely remove the stain.
I am happy to report my old stain is completely gone, and your stain should be too.
A couple points to remember.
- Always use COLD water as heat will set the stain.
- Be gentle. Blot do not rub as you risk fraying the carpet fibers.
- Never use soap on the carpet as a residue will remain which will attract dirt in the future.
If your children are like most children, most meals revolve around ketchup. How do you remove those stains from your carpet? Blot up as much of the ketchup as you can from your carpeting. Then take your dishwashing liquid and combine it with a little warm water. Dip a cloth into the mixture, press it on the stain for 15 seconds, and then let the stain sit for a few minutes, as it will take a little while to break down the ketchup. Blot up any excess liquid. Make a mixture of one cup of white vinegar to two cups of water and dip a cloth into it. Press the cloth onto the stain for 15 seconds and then let the stain sit again for 15 minutes. This helps to remove any soap that may be left from the dishwashing liquid so that it will not attract dirt. Blot gently with a white towel until the area is dry. This stain removal tip also works for stains like wine, tea, coffee, juice, or other non-oily stains.
Salad Dressing, Oily, and Greasy Stains
These stains will attract dirt and grime if not taken care of. Blot any excess oil or grease up with a white paper or cloth towel. Then sprinkle baking soda or salt on the stain to allow the baking soda or salt to soak up as much of the oil and grease as possible. Leave the baking soda on the carpet overnight and then vacuum it in the morning. Blot the dry cleaning solvent onto the stain gently. Then blot a cloth dipped in a mixture of dishwashing liquid and warm water onto the stain. Let it sit for 15 minutes and then blot with warm water until you remove the soap from the carpeting. Cover with several layers of paper or cloth towels and a few heavy books to help absorb any excess water. Leave overnight. Vacuum to help the carpet fibers plump up!
Finishing the Job
This list is by no means an exhaustive list of items that you can use. If you are unsure of a stain removal tip, test it out in an inconspicuous place first. If you cannot remove the stain on your own, then you may want to consult a professional carpet cleaner. Keeping your carpets clean and stain free does not have to be a chore. With a few tips and tools in hand, you will be on your way to having the cleanest carpets in town!