Treating Common Carpet Stains

by Emily McBride
(last updated November 11, 2015)

Having clean and spotless carpet makes a big difference in the overall appearance of a house or an apartment. However, carpet is expensive and a big pain to replace. The best thing to do is to keep it looking nice by cleaning spots as soon as they appear.

  • Spots vs. stains. Just to help you keep the definitions straight when you are looking at cleaners or talking to manufacturers, spots and stains are often defined differently. Spots are removable, while stains are permanent. However, stains can be diminished by products and cleaning, even if they cannot be completely removed. It is not essential to know the differences between these two, but it can often help you in your choice of cleaner or removal technique.
  • Liquids. It is very important to remember to only blot liquids—if you rub too hard you could rub the liquid further into the carpet, resulting in a stain. Use a cloth or paper towels to blot. After you have soaked up the liquid, pour a small amount of water on it to rinse it off. Blot the stain or spot again. Sometimes it is beneficial to repeat. Whatever you do, do not rub the carpet too hard. You could damage the carpet, even if you do get the spot out.
  • Semi-solids. Substances like peanut butter, mud, or pudding should not be blotted immediately, or the spot will be forced further into the carpet. Instead, scoop up as much of the substance as you can with a spoon. After you have removed most of it, rinse it with water and then use a cloth or paper towel to blot it dry.
  • Dried solids. Pick up the pieces and vacuum. If there is still a spot remaining, rinse it with water and then use a cloth or paper towel to blot it dry.
  • Using a cleaning solvent. If you are using a carpet cleaner, first apply some to a hidden area to make sure that it will not ruin your carpet. Follow manufacturer's instructions on the container. Usually you will apply a small amount of the cleaner to a cloth, and then you gently blot it into the spot, working from the outside in to the middle. After, you rinse with water, blot dry, and then repeat until the spot is gone.

If you are still not able to remove a spot or a stain, call a professional carpet cleaner.

Author Bio

Emily McBride

A senior majoring in English and editing at BYU, Emily hopes to enter the field of professional editing upon graduation. Emily has done humanitarian work in Africa and studied in London. She enjoys blogging, foreign films, and playing the piano. ...

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