Professional Tips on Carpet Spot Cleaning

Carpets can give you a lot of pleasure, from the visual appeal of a beautiful design to the luxurious feel of a soft pile. That’s why it’s especially important to take excellent care of your carpets. Occasionally, you’ll get stains and other spots on your floors and want to know how to clean them out most effectively. This article will give you helpful hints on how to do that.

Stains come in a variety of forms. It’s essential that you know what caused your stain. For example, was it a water-based substance or oil-based? Once you know that, and with help from this article, you’ll have a better idea about how to proceed to clean your carpet.

Water-Based Stains. For these stains, begin cleaning with Step 1 below, then if the stain’s still there, go to Steps 2 and 3. These include substances like:

  • Alcohol including beer, wine and liquor
  • Latex Paint
  • Cola and soft drinks
  • Clay
  • Ketchup
  • Chocolate
  • Milk and Chocolate Milk
  • Cologne
  • Blood
  • Jelly
  • Ice cream
  • Gravy
  • Graphite
  • Fruit juice and fruit punch
  • Soil spots
  • Syrup
  • Vomit
  • Watercolors

Special Water-Based Stains. These substances include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Urine

If you have these special water-based stains, begin cleaning with Step 1 below, then if the stain is still there, skip Step 2 and move directly to Step 3.

Greasy Oil-Based Stains. For oil-based stains, begin with a dry cleaning fluid and follow the instructions closely. If the stain remains afterward, proceed with Steps 1, 2 and 3 below. Oil-based stains can include substances like:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Mayonnaise
  • Felt tip marker and crayon
  • Nail polish
  • Gum
  • Glue
  • Ointment
  • Furniture polish
  • Hand cream and Calamine lotion
  • Cooking oil
  • Cosmetics, mascara and lipstick
  • Varnish and furniture dye
  • Black grease
  • Ink
  • Wax
  • Tar
  • Salad dressing
  • Oil

Cleaning Steps. Follow these simple steps to clean stains from your carpet.

Step 1

  1. Remove all solid material from the stain that you can, like large food pieces or crayon pieces. Start at the outside of the stain and work inward to avoid spreading.
  2. If you can, use an absorbent white cloth to lift any excess liquid.
  3. Mix 16 ounces of lukewarm water with ¼ teaspoon non-bleach dishwashing liquid.
  4. Pat the detergent mix to the stain, being sure not to scrub the carpet (use only the cloth and not a brush). Be careful not to use too much solution, just dampen the stained area. Reposition the cloth often.
  5. Use lukewarm water to rinse the stain.
  6. Cover the stain with a new absorbent white cloth, blotting it again.
  7. Repeat this process until all the stain substance and the detergent solution are gone.
  8. When you’ve removed the stain, lay more white cloths over the area and place a heavy, colorfast object over them. Continually replace the cloths until they’re completely dry when you remove them.
  9. If the stain’s still there, move to Step 2.

Step 2 (If you’re cleaning a coffee, urine or tea stain, skip to Step 3.)

  1. Combine 1 cup lukewarm water with 1 tablespoon non-sudsing, non-bleaching household ammonia.
  2. Apply the ammonia solution and then rinse and blot as you did in Step 1 (don’t use paper towels).
  3. Proceed to Step 3.

Step 3

  1. Combine equal parts water and white vinegar.
  2. Apply this vinegar solution, then rinse and blot as you did in Step 1.

Here are additional helpful hints on how to care for your carpets by avoiding potential stains in the first place.

  • Vacuum regularly.
  • Use entrance mats to catch dirt and debris.
  • Clean occasionally.
  • Blot up stains immediately.
  • Don’t use do-it-yourself carpet and rug cleaners.

Visit one of our nine northern California S&G Carpet showrooms near you for help with your carpet stain cleaning.