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How to Clean Carpet Stains

Stains on carpet flooring can seem hopeless, but this easy step-by-step guide will ensure your carpets are spotless in no time.


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How to Get Stains out of Carpet Fibres

Carpet stains can happen easily and unfortunately in so many ways: red wine, coffee, milk, paint – the list of possibilities is endless. And if you ask around, you’ll find the list of stain removal techniques recommended by friends and family can be pretty long and variable too. But there are a few rules of thumb that you should use to make cleaning carpet stains easier and more effective. Read on and learn how to remove stains from carpet with minimal fuss.

Rule 1: Treat the stain as fast as possible

Ideally, you need to deal with carpet stains as soon as they happen, to prevent the substance from soaking too far into the fibres of the carpet. The deeper the stain the harder it will be to remove. The same is true if you allow a stain to dry: it will set and is likely to be less responsible to stain-removal techniques. Make sure you protect your hands and clothes before you get started.

Rule 2: Remove excess liquid

If you ask someone for advice on how to clean carpet stains this is the part of the process you’re most likely to hear about. Sprinkling powder on a stain – be it natural powders like bicarbonate of soda and salt, or commercial carpet cleaners in powder form – will immediately help draw liquid out of carpet fibres and reduce any scrubbing you’ll have to do.

  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of powder on top the stain (follow the instructions on the label if you’re using a commercial carpet powder)

  2. Leave it for at least half an hour to soak up the liquid

  3. Vacuum up the powder and address what’s left of the stain

Rule 3: Freeze sticky stains

Not all stains are caused by liquids. Gum and glue can easily get dropped on carpets – and these stains require a different technique:

  1. Apply an ice-cube to the stained area to make the substance as brittle as possible.

  2. Pick and chip the substance away from the carpet fibres.

  3. Once you’ve removed the excess, you may need to apply a specialist carpet stain remover to lift any remaining stain. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.

Rule 4: Spot-clean the stained area

After removing any excess liquid, you need to spot-clean the stained area. Being careful not to soak the carpet or make the stain larger, you should:

  1. Use a clean damp cloth or a soft brush to gently scrub the area with diluted detergent (washing up liquid, washing liquid, or commercial carpet shampoo). Always test a cleaning agent on a hidden area of the carpet first.

  2. Blot the area with a clean damp cloth and then allow it to dry.

If the stain remains, apply a specialist carpet stain remover according to the instruction on the bottle.

Rule 5: Vacuum to finish

Once the stain is removed and the carpet is dry, you should vacuum the area one last time to restore the fibres to their usual fluffed-up state.

Never use direct heat to remove stains from the carpet. Heat can damage and melt carpet fibres, so it’s always best to use cool water when attempting to remove stains. And don’t be tempted to use a hair drier to speed up the dry process – this could also have disastrous results!

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  • Speed is of the essence: treat the stain as soon as possible.

  • Use powder to remove excess liquid or solid matter from the stain.

  • Spot-clean the stain with detergent and/or a specialist commercial stain remover. (Always test on a hidden area first.)

  • Vacuum the area once dry to restore the carpet to its original condition.

Originally published