By Bud Coburn
Get stains out with ingredients you probably already have around the house
Oops! Whether it be grape juice, a little present from Fido, or finger-paint artwork from your 3-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even if you don’t have any mishaps, you should always have your carpet thoroughly cleaned every 12 to 18 months. There are many professional carpet cleaning services, or you can rent a steam carpet cleaner. They are usually available at your supermarket.
If you decide to do it yourself rather than hire a pro, you need to keep a few things in mind.
• Make sure the cleaning equipment you choose has enough vacuum power to allow the carpet to dry in 6 to 12 hours or you may risk damage from getting it too wet.
• Use fans or a dehumidifier to expedite drying time after cleaning. Be aware that if your carpet is wet for more than 24 hours, you risk mildew and bacteria growth.
• Choose a cleaning solution that has a pH of 10 or less, and make sure you remove all detergent after cleaning.
• Double-check your warranty. Carpets with stain resistance must be cleaned with products formulated for them or you risk impairing their effectiveness and voiding your warranty.