Oops! Whether it be grape juice, a little present from Fido, or finger-paint artwork from your three-year-old, it seems whatever is not supposed to get on the carpet always does.
Here are a few tips from carpet manufacturer Shaw and rug maker and importer Nourison on how to clean your carpets using products you can find around your house.
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What You Should Know Before You Start
To remove a stain, simply blot the spot and dry working from the outside in, rinse thoroughly with clean water, then blot again. Never scrub the carpet, or you risk ruining the carpet fibers or letting the spill soak through to the carpet pad.
For more specific advice, find your type of stain below. In addition to these methods, there are several spot removers on the market; before you try one, test it out in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn't discolor your carpet.
- alcoholic beverages
- food dyes
- ice cream
- washable ink
- wet or latex paint
Use a simple cleaning solution made up of 1/4 teaspoon of nonbleach detergent (or white vinegar) mixed with 32 ounces of water.
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Special Water-Soluble Stains
Try 1 tablespoon of ammonia mixed with 1 cup of water (but not on wool or wool-blend carpet; instead use mild detergent and water). If that doesn't work, you can try one part chlorine bleach to five parts water, but only on solution-dyed carpets, such as polypropylene. Bleach will harm other types of carpets; check with the manufacturer if you are unsure what type of carpet you have.
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Fat, Oil, Wax, and More
Fat, Oil, and Wax
Place a paper towel over the carpet and iron on warm setting. The wax, fat, or oil should come up off the carpet and stick to the paper towel.
These can be removed by gently rubbing the pile with the edge of a hard and flat surface, such as a dull knife.
Moisten a cotton ball or soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and press it on the affected area. Once the glue residue is thoroughly moistened, gently wipe it off and repeat until the carpet is clean.
Wax and Gum
Use ice to freeze the wax or gum, then shatter it with a blunt object, such as a spoon. Vacuum before the pieces soften, and blot the carpet with a white towel.
Blot the area with a rag dipped in nail polish remover.
Absorb as much as possible with white towels, then blot with a damp, cool cloth. Next, spray or blot with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water. Finally, apply a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of clear, mild, nonbleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water, rinse, and blot dry. If the urine was the result of a dog's accident, you may also want to try a housebreaking aid such as No-Go.