Emergency Carpet Care: Carpet Stain Removal Tips

Your dog threw up on your carpet. What do you do now? While no carpet is stain proof, all of today’s synthetic carpet fibers are stain resistant. Here’s what to do to keep a spot from becoming a permanent stain.

If your carpet warranty includes spotting instructions, now is the time to find them. Many warranties include instructions for removing specific types of spots. Follow the instructions exactly. If you can’t find the paperwork, try going to the manufacturer’s website. These instructions are often found online.

If you didn’t purchase the carpet in your home or don’t know who made it, try the following:

If you didn’t notice the “spill” right away and it has dried: vacuum up any dried, loose particles. Then, use a trigger sprayer to mist water onto the spot to soften it. Proceed as if the spot was fresh.

Minimize the size. Work from the outside towards the center so you don’t spread the spot. Scrape up any semi-solids with a spoon or dull knife. Then blot, don’t rub, the area to absorb as much liquid as possible. Carpet fibers are weakest when they are wet. Rubbing or scrubbing with a brush will fray and untwist fibers. When dry, the spot will look fuzzy.

Use white terrycloth towels or white paper towels. Colored towels or color printed paper towels may bleed color. That color may transfer onto your carpet.

Keep blotting until the carpet is just damp. If you see some color from the original contamination, use a water bottle with a trigger sprayer to mist a little water onto the spot. Do not over wet! Blot again.

If you still see the spot, you need to take additional steps. The Carpet and Rug Institute has complete spotting instructions, listed alphabetically, on their website. Go to www.carpet-rug.org. Under “Residential Customers”> Cleaning and Maintenance> Spot Solver. When you click on Spot Solver, a long list of spots appears. Click on the type of spot that is most like the one on your carpet. You will see complete removal instructions for that particular spot.

The website also lists, under “Seal of Approval Products”, a long list of tested commercial spot removers that are safe and effective . You will find many that are widely sold wherever you shop. Buy one and keep it on hand for your next emergency.

It is most important to use a low-sudsing spotter. If you shake the bottle gently and see a lot of foam, try something else. If a spotting agent has a lot of soap or detergent in it, you’ll leave a sticky residue in the carpet pile after you remove the original spot. Dirt will stick to the residue and the spot will seem to come back.

You’ll need to mist clear water on any soapy residue and gently blot to remove the excess soap. You may need to repeat several times. When the area feels clean, not slick, you know you’ve removed all the soap.

By removing spots quickly, you will keep your carpet looking new.

Who is Glenn Revere?

Glenn Revere has been a carpet expert since 1973. He’s a certified flooring inspector and the author of All About Carpets, the only book written to protect and inform you about your carpet choices, from carpet buying and carpet warranties to carpet care and maintenance. You can find him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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