Some carpet stains can easily be avoided if minor spills are dealt with immediately before there is time to set. Leaving a spill may result in a permanent stain and can worsen over time as it may attract soil and dirt. The following tips should help ensure that your minor spills do not become major carpet cleaning hassles.

Scrape with spoon or blunt knife. Remove as much of the stain as possible by gently scraping the area. Doing so will prevent the spill from spreading when solution is applied.

Use a clean white cloth or paper towel. This will ensure that no dye is transferred to the spot and that the cloth itself does not bleach.

Use a dabbing motion. Always dab the spot and avoid rubbing vigorously. Doing so may cause the carpet to become fuzzy. Work from the outside in to avoid spreading.

Dilute solution. Whether you use carpet shampoo, vinegar, ammonia or other solution, always dilute with clean warm water. Avoid over-saturating the area.

Use only one cleaning solution. Using more than one cleaning solution may cause damage to the carpet. Always test a small amount in an inconspicuous area before applying to the spill.

Follow up. Rinse the area thoroughly with warm water and remove all excess water with a towel.

Brush the pile. Once you’ve removed the stain, brush the pile up to help the carpet retain its appearance as it dries.

Carpet spill checklist

The following solutions should be most effective in cleaning most minor carpet spills. Do not use any other household cleaners other than those listed as they may contain chemicals that can harm a carpet.

  • Solution of mild liquid detergent with water. A clear dishwashing detergent is recommended as creamy liquids may leave a sticky residue.
  • Solution of white vinegar and water (1:1)
  • Solution of ammonia to water (1 tablespoon : 1 cup)
  • Non-oily nail polish remover
  • Non-flammable spot remover for grease, oil or tar

Carpet Stain removal procedures

Water soluble stains. Scrape the area if necessary and absorb as much as possible with a white cloth. Blot the area with cool water under there is no more transfer of the stain onto the cloth. If the stain remains, use one of the solutions above and blot with the towel, working from the outer edge inward to avoid spreading. Rinse thoroughly, absorb excess moisture and brush the pile up for best results.

Oil based stains. Scrape the area and absorb the spill with a white cloth. Apply an oil and grease spot remover to a paper towel and blot stain. Follow procedures as above.

Gum and wax. Freeze stains with ice or a special aerosol gum and wax remover. Shatter with a blunt object and vacuum while the chips are still hard. Follow the same procedure as with oil based stains.

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