Carpet Stain Removal
To maintain your rugs and carpets on a daily basis, prevention is the name of the game! Regular carpet shaking, vacuuming, rotation, and carpet and rug pre-treatment are all ways to preserve and protect your favorite floor coverings. However spills are inevitable, so you'll need to know how to act quickly to prevent permanent rug damage and irreversible carpet stains.
Carpet/Rug Steam Cleaning
Once or twice a year, rugs and carpets should be "deep cleaned" via steam cleaning. You can rent or buy a deep cleaning machine, or have your carpets steam cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning service. The experts recommend that high-quality and fragile rugs, such as Persian rugs, Oriental rugs, and antique rugs, always be professionally cleaned, and most rug cleaning companies offer in-home services for wall-to-wall carpeting and heavy-to-move rugs as well.
Carpet Spills: Act Now!
When liquid carpet spills occur, the most important thing to do is act immediately. Fortunately, most rug spills do not require professional cleaning and you can take care of them yourself in a timely manner using water, or a mixture of water and vinegar, and a cloth. Depending on the type of spillage that has occurred, there are numerous carpet cleaning products on the market, and many homemade cleaning solutions that you can apply to get rid of spills quickly. Since rugs and carpets often come pre-treated with a stain resistor, this buys you some time to take action and prevent stains from absorbing permanently.
Blotting Liquid Spills
Liquid carpet spills should be blotted as follows: Using a clean, white, cotton towel/cloth/paper towel, press down hard from the outside of the spill towards the middle. Repeat until as much moisture as possible has been absorbed (folding the towel over and over again). What you do NOT want to do is scrub or rub spills in a circular motion, since this actually spreads the liquid and can damage the pile. Similarly, do not place spot removers directly on your carpet or area rug, which can make the stain permanent; rather, first place cleaning products on a white cotton cloth/paper towel. If milk was spilled, to prevent a souring residue, rinse the affected area with mild detergent and water.
Solid Food Spills
When solid or semi-solid foods fall on your carpets or area rugs, pick up as much as possible with a spoon or knife edge; then blot remaining stain with white cloth or paper towels to absorb moisture, applying appropriate cleaning solutions as necessary.
Color Run Test
Carpet cleaning alert! Before applying chemicals to colored carpet or rug, a color-run test must be performed to ensure that the colors don't run or bleed. To conduct a color-run test, apply a small amount of cleaning product or solution to an unnoticeable area of the carpet or rug; if the colors have not run after 30 minutes, the cleaning product is safe.
Drying Carpets and Rugs
Once spills have been cleaned, make sure the area is dry before you replace furniture or let people walk on it again. A word to the wise, however: Do not try to dry a carpet stain with a hair dryer or an iron, an action will seal the stain permanently into your prized floor accessories.
Carpet Cleaning Tip of the Day
To prevent a stain from resurfacing once you have cleaned or blotted it, cover the stain with a thick cloth or layers of white paper towels weighed down with a heavy object, allowing the cloth to thoroughly absorb the stain.