Carpet Stain Removal

HARDWOOD-STYLES_DeepTanStripButter, wine and gum, oh my. What to do when accidents happen.




Tips & Techniques for Tricky Stains


  1. Scoop up as much of the spill as possible, with a towel or a spoon.
  2. Blot the spot, don’t rub or scrub. Gently press clean cloths into the stained area to remove moisture. Scrubbing can damage the fiber and set the stain into the carpet.
  3. Apply warm, not hot, water to the stained area and blot until the stain stops transferring to the cloth.
  4. If you can still see the stain, make a Detergent Solution by adding 1/4 teaspoon dishwashing liquid to one cup warm water. Don’t use too much soap, because it’s difficult to rinse out of the carpet.
  5. Apply the detergent solution, let sit five minutes, then rinse with clear warm water. Repeat until all the detergent is removed.
  6. Place layers of white paper towels on the spill to absorb the liquid. Weight down the towels with a non-staining glass or ceramic object. You can let them sit overnight.
  7. When the carpet is dry, vacuum to restore the texture.
  8. If you can see the stain after all this, repeat steps 3 through 7. It means the stain penetrated deep into the pile and has wicked up to the surface.




No Carpet is Absolutely Stain Proof. Some carpets have stain-resisting treatments that improve your ability to clean stains, but not prevent stains. Similarly, carpets with soil-resisting treatments reduce the rate of soiling, but all carpets require regular care and maintenance.


“Staining” versus “Soiling”. There is often confusion about the difference between soiling and staining. The majority of stain complaints are actually soil-related. For example, many sugar-based spills, such as soft drinks and coffee, leave a sugar residue after removal. This sticky residue readily attracts soil from ordinary shoe traffic, and the resulting discolored area appears to be a stain.


The same thing happens when spills are cleaned with a detergent solution and the area is not sufficiently rinsed with plain water, leaving a sticky detergent residue. It is important to rinse thoroughly with water and blot dry after removing any spill.


Protect Your Carpet. As mentioned above, no carpet is stain-proof, but since many are stain-resistant, you have time to act. Use the following general stain-removal quidelines.


  1. Remove as much of food spills as possible by scraping gently with a spoon or a dull knife.
  2. Absorb wet spills as quickly as possible by blotting repeatedly with white paper or white cloth towels. Always blot; never rub or scrub abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading the spill.
  3. Remove the stain using one of the cleaning items from the checklist below.
  4. Rinse the cleaned area with water to remove detergent residue that may become sticky and cause rapid re-soiling.
  5. Absorb any remaining moisture by placing several layers of white towels over the spot and weighing them down with a heavy object. This step is necessary even when the carpet does not seem particularly damp.



Spot Removing. What do you use to clean the spill? Be prepared with the following checklist. It is important to use only the items listed, because many other household cleaners contain chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.



  • White cloths or white paper towels
  • Detergent solution: Mix mild liquid detergent with water (no more than 1/2 teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). A clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn, Joy, or clear Ivory is recommended. Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.
  • Vinegar solution: Mix 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water.
  • Ammonia solution: Mix one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water. (Do not use on wool or wool-blend carpets.)
  • Non-oily nail-polish remover
  • Chewing gum remover (freeze or solid type)
  • Spot Remover: Use spot removers designed specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona or Energine.


Solution-dyed fibers can withstand bleach, but make very sure your carpet is solution-dyed before using bleach.


Difficult stains on carpets made from polypropylene or other solution-dyed fibers may be removed with a mild bleach solution (one part chlorine bleach to five parts water). But be careful. If you aren’t absolutely certain your carpet is solution dyed, call Carpet Mill Outlet Stores.


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