Carpet stains from all walks of life. Here’s how to handle them.
Carpet stains come in all different forms. Some spots on carpet are permanent stains while others can be removed with little effort. Understanding what kinds of stains you’re working with will determine the best method for removing the carpet stain. In the following article, we will talk about various types of common household carpet stains and how to treat them. For certain situations, there are some DIY methods for removing carpet stains, however some may require professional deep cleaning for the best results. Just remember that we’re here to help when you need a professional carpet cleaner.
When we are asked how to remove a stain or whether a spot from a recent spill will come out, there are 3 questions we ask before making any recommendations.
3 Questions about Your Carpet Stain
1. What caused the stain? Was it Organic or Non-Organic?
are caused by things found in nature. Think of food, bodily fluids, soil, etc. These kinds of stains are typically much more treatable than non-organic stains. Most often, and especially if you have carpet protector applied at every professional cleaning of your carpet, you can simply cleanup the spot with plain water. For older stains or tougher stains like mustard or coffee, there may be additional treatments recommended.
are caused by man-made or manufactured products. Oil-based products like ink, nail polish, hair dye, shoe polish, slime, makeup, etc. are all examples of products that cause non-organic stains.
What to remember: Certain stains simply won’t come out. It’s the same with laundry. Think about a mustard stain on a white shirt. The chances of that coming out are really slim. Now if only we could tye-dye our carpets when we stain them up – just like our favorite white shirt ruined on spaghetti night. The fact is, carpets and fabrics can be dyed and color corrected. This is a service AmeriClean began offering back in the 80’s. While it’s not in our current service lineup, we do have the resources for you if that’s a service you’re interested in.
2. How long has the stain been on your carpet?
We want to know how long ago the accident/spill occurred, so we can determine how fresh the stain is, if it has had foot traffic or possibly more spills/accidents on top of one another. We also want to know if it is wet, dry, or crusty. Which leads us to the next question.
3. How have you treated the carpet stain so far?
What product did you use? Carpet spotters, laundry detergent, oxygen-based products, bleach, nail polish remover (acetone can take the color out), baking soda…?
This gives us the full condition of the stain and what journey it has gone through. A lot of procedures can cause more damage than good and this is a big factor in determining what to do next – knowing what you’ve already done. Another thing to consider is that it’s not unheard of to get some chemical reactions from the combination of methods.
Now that we know what we’re working with, let’s start with the basics. First, we’ll cover what not to do, before we begin with treating the spot/stain.
What NOT To Do
If you are simply not comfortable or confident in treating the stains in your carpet, call a professional, certified cleaner. Again, we are here to help.
DIY carpet stain treatments you find online will result in a wide range of suggestions. Let’s not forget all the mainstream brands that tout no-worry spot removal in a can. The truth is, be careful what you put on your carpet. Remember one really important thing… anything you put in the carpet, should be removed. If you don’t have a way of flushing and extracting the carpet, don’t use methods that douse the carpet in soap/cleaner/spotter expecting miracles.
Using the proper techniques is the most important part.
Don’t use more than one product/DIY method. If it doesn’t come out the first time, stop and call a professional, certified cleaner.
At all costs avoid over-the-counter carpet spotter solutions/sprays. Most of them leave behind too much soapy residue – which only attracts more soil over time. Be really careful using other spotters that are the oxygen bleach cleaners and never use them on silk. These could discolor your carpet or fabrics.
Never rub the spot. As much as it may seem like the natural thing to do, never rub the fibers as this will cause damage and make them appear frayed. You may also risk spreading the spot into a larger area.
If you use a cleaner, even if it is only diluted dish soap, use it sparingly. More soap is not going to make it get cleaner faster. It’s only going to leave more soil attracting residue in the carpet fibers
Never use nail polish remover to remove nail polish.
What To Do
In the event of an emergency spill or cleaning an old crusty spot out of carpet, always try to use a clean white cloth (CWC). That way, you are not using a towel that may end up transferring color to your carpet. If you don’t have a CWC, use what you have available. Always remember, time is an important factor in treating a spill succesfully.
If you have a spill, first remove any excess material from the carpet. If it is a solid, remove as much as possible before blotting. If the spot is dried and crusty, use what you can to flake away the dried material. A back of a spoon or a dull plastic putty knife would work well. Plastic spatula, remote control, your children’s toys, your husband’s comb, whatever it takes;) Sometimes, it may require a steel brush or something extensive. Just be careful and aware of the damage it may cause. Remember that spot removal is trying to repair something that is already damaged. Most of the time you can make an improvement, but you can also cause more permanent damage.
Next, determine the best approach for your treatment. Knowing a little bit of history and analyzing the condition of the carpet. Choose from A or B below.
A. The carpet is new or was recently cleaned and protected by a professional. The protector is there to assist the soil/stain in releasing from the carpet fibers.
- Use a dry CWC to blot the spot moving from the outside in, as to not spread the spot. Use all of your body pressure to blot the spot and keep rotating the CWC to a clean spot.
- Once you are no longer getting transfer of the spot to the cloth, or there are no clean areas on the cloth remaining, rinse and wring the cloth.
- Now, with a damp CWC, blot the spot in the same manner as before.
- If you have a wet vacuum system, use it to extract. You can use a more-than-damp CWC to get some clean water in the spot. Extracting will flush the fibers.
- Mix 1/4 tsp clear dish soap in a quart of water.
- Dampen a CWC in the water/soap mixture and blot the spot from the outside in.
- If you have a wet vacuum system, use this to extract.
- When using any sort of soap/surfactant, always “rinse” the spot afterward with plain water. Grab another CWC and dampen with clear H2O. Blot and extract the spot 2-3 times. You can use a more-than-damp CWC to get some clean water in the spot. Extracting will flush the fibers.
B. The carpet has not been clean and protected recently or if the spot/stain persists after trying Option A.
Keep this resource bookmarked for your next carpet stain or emergency spill. As always, free free to reach out to us during our business hours, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm if you have any questions. 301-739-4640
Remember, when you have your carpet professionally cleaned, ALWAYS have carpet protector reapplied to extend the life of your carpet and buy you more time in the event of a spill.
At AmeriClean, we pride ourselves on providing a friendly experience that you can trust. We know you trust us to really know our stuff. That’s why we continue to host in-house professional training seminars. We hire the industry-leading experts like Jim Pemberton and Bill Mountain to come on-site to our facility to train our entire staff. We recently hosted an in-depth review of carpet spot removal in April of 2019