How to Remove Stains from Carpet: Proper Spot Cleaning

It can be distressing to see a spot or stain appear on your carpet. I’m here to offer some advice on how to remove stains from carpet. The following is the proper technique for spot cleaning your carpets.

First blot up the excess spill with a terrycloth towel. Then use a trigger-type sprayer to apply warm water after the first blotting. How much water depends on the size of the spill and the thickness of the carpet. Do not soak the fabric. Try to work from the outside of the spill towards its center to keep the spot from getting bigger. Do not rub!Spray enough water so that the sugars dissolve. Blot again and feel the fabric. If it still feels sticky, repeat the above steps several times. Remember: blot, don’t rub. Rubbing untwists the yarn. The pile will look fuzzy when it dries. Rubbing also pulls individual fibers from the carpet backing. The area you’ve spot cleaned will look like it’s growing a beard.

If a water-based spill dries before you have a chance to remove it, you’ll have to re-wet it so that the sugars begin to dissolve. Use a trigger sprayer and mist warm water onto the sticky spot until it is just moistened. Use an old toothbrush to gently tamp the water into the spot. You can also brush gently in one direction being careful not to distort the yarns. Work in the water and loosen any particles.

You may have to add a few drops of clear (not cloudy) liquid dish detergent to the water. This helps loosen and remove foreign particles such as orange rind or mud. If you use any detergent, you must spray the fabric thoroughly with clear water after the spot is removed. Blot again with terrycloth towels and feel the fabric. If it still feels soapy slick, keep spraying on warm clear water and blotting until the area feels clean. Otherwise, the soap residue will attract dirt and the spot will come back. If the cleaned area seems too wet, place several layers of toweling over the spot. Then put a weight, such as a pot filled with water, over the affected area. The towels will pull out the excess moisture. You’ll have the added benefit of any remaining spill soaking up into the toweling, too.

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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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