Removing Stains from Carpet

Cute Dog Laying on Carpet After It Has Been Cleaned.

How to Remove Stains from Carpet

When you have soft, clean carpets it’s amazing how the entire room looks cozy and inviting and the furniture looks new again.

It’s surprising just how much one carpet stain can make a room look dirty and unkempt. I have many friends that hire carpet cleaning professionals, but I know just as many that prefer to tackle the stain themselves.

So, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer and like to save a little money, below are some products – you may have in the house already – that can get a carpet stain out.

The First Steps at Stain Removal

  1. Act quickly.
  2. If it’s a liquid spill, gently blot away excess liquid with clean absorbent material such as a paper towel or cloth.
  3. If it’s a more solid spill such as mayonnaise, jam, chocolate, etc., carefully scrape up any excess with a dull edged object then blot up what you can with absorbent material.
  4. Remember, never rub or scrub a stain. Always blot carefully so you don’t damage the carpet fibers. Lay absorbent material on top of the spill and apply pressure to transfer spills from the carpet into the absorbent material.
  5. Work from the outside of the stain in towards the middle so the stain does not spread.
  6. Test cleaning methods in an inconspicuous spot first for colorfastness.
  7. When finished working on a stain, cover with clean dry towel until dry.

Stain Removal Products

If it is too late and the stain has set or has been in the carpet for awhile don’t worry there are still quite a few things you can do. Here are a few do it at home fixes for many of the stains that commonly happen:

Shaving Cream

Yes, it’s true! Shaving cream can get out many food stains, juice stains, makeup stains, pet accidents and more. Just plain old white shaving cream can do the trick.

  1. Apply the shaving cream and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, this should give it enough time to penetrate the stain.
  2. Blot the area with clean rag until the shaving cream has been removed then mist the area with clean water, blot until dry as possible.

If any stain remains, you can repeat the process and carefully use a fingernail or clean toothbrush to work in the shaving cream.

Club Soda

Another old wives’ tale that works quite well is club soda. Club soda is great carrier (when acting quickly) to help blot up and remove the color from a red wine stain, pet food, popsicle and kool-aid stains, blood stains and so on.

Pour club soda over the stain and let sit until it fizzles out. Blot. Once again, pour the club soda over the stain, let sit. Blot. Repeat again until stain is gone. For tough stains, let sit overnight, repeat if needed.

Hydrogen Peroxide

No stain removal list is complete without my personal favorite, hydrogen peroxide. Household strength 3 percent hydrogen peroxide is my secret weapon for many stains, dyes, coffee, wine, berry stains and much more.

Hydrogen peroxide, has a bleaching effect, without being an actual bleach. It is the active ingredient in the “oxy” line of cleaning products and it leaves no residue.

  1. Do a test in an inconspicuous spot first.
  2. Pour hydrogen peroxide on the stain.
  3. Cover the area with plastic wrap, and a towel.
  4. Check the stain in 30 minutes, if the stain has lightened, repeat.

Hydrogen peroxide converts to water when exposed to sunlight, which is why it’s in a dark bottle, so be sure to cover the stained area.

Brake Cleaner

Not just for mechanics anymore brake cleaner contains a chemical that dry cleaners use on your stained clothing. It can be used to remove greasy food stains, oily stains, ink, nail polish and so on.

Brake cleaner should only be used diluted as it is strong and can damage the carpet adhesive. Brake cleaners can be flammable and give off a strong odor. Work in well ventilated area and wear gloves to avoid irritating the skin.

Most people will typically use other products but if in a pinch and you have brake cleaner in the garage, it can work.

To use, just spray the diluted brake cleaner onto the stain and let sit for just a few minutes then blot up with clean rag. Rinse with clean water when done.

Enzyme Cleaning Products for Pet Stains

Enzymatic cleaning products can be used for pet urine, feces and vomit on carpeting. Pet stains and the associated odors are notoriously the hardest to take care of because they spread quickly and deep into the padding.

These products use enzymes to help break down stains, odors and they can also work on older set in stains and odors. A few brands to look into are: Capture Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator, Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Remover, and Earth Rated Stain & Odor Remover.

Hiring a Professional Carpet Cleaner

Along with routine vacuuming (with the right vacuum for your carpet type) and spot cleaning, carpets should be professionally cleaned at least every 18 months to extend the life of the carpet.

Having carpets is an investment, just like other flooring, and keeping it clean ensures it will look good for many years to come.