Home trends come and go, but carpet is here to stay. A good carpet isn’t a cheap investment, and you’re going to want to keep it looking and feeling great as long as possible.
Life happens, though. As careful as you may be with your floors, food spills, drinks spill, and pets track dirt or other questionable debris throughout the house. The point is everyone is going to need to get their carpets cleaned from time to time. In this post, we’ll go over some of the simplest ways you can keep your carpets looking clean and fresh.
Clean It Quick!
The key to getting rid of stains is acting quickly before the stain has the chance to set. Dry stains are much more difficult to get rid of than fresh ones.
Rubbing – The Wrong Way
Your first instinct when a stain starts to form might be to throw together a cocktail of detergent and water or turn to your favorite carpet cleaner and then scrub like your life depended on it. This is actually the wrong way to go about doing stain damage control.
Blotting is the better way to get rid of stains. Getting stains out of carpet fibers requires not so much force as it does finesse. Blotting the stain, that is dabbing the stain with a cloth and your detergent of choice is the best way to go. Rubbing the stain could cause the stain particles to further embed themselves into the fibers of the carpet.
When you blot a stain, start from the outside and work your way in. Doing the opposite could cause the stain to spread and get worse.
Most food stains, including wine and coffee, can be lifted using a stain-fighting solution used for ages – club soda. Not only does club soda work well in certain drinks (and on its own, if that’s your taste) but on annoying stains as well.
Start by blotting the stain and rinsing the area with club soda. If you need to use a water and soap solution afterward, that’s fine.
Greasy, fatty foods can be difficult to get out of carpet. However, with patience and care, you can get the spots out of your carpet (provided you work fast enough). Scrape the debris off the carpet with a knife carefully. Lay paper towels on top of the affected area and iron the paper towels onto the carpet using the highest heat to lift away the grease. To get rid of the rest of the stain, use a mix of white vinegar, soap, and lukewarm water. Rinse it with water, and you’re good.
Coffee? Tea? Beer?
Coffee and tea stains are both annoying and common on carpets. To get rid of these stains, you may want to fight it using another common household drink – beer.
Gently rub beer on the stain (don’t scrub as that may grind the stain into the carpet!) and blot it dry. This process might have to be repeated a few times, but it should lift the stain right out.
Baking soda can be a good general stain fighter when it comes to cleaning carpet, particularly when those stains come with odors. It’s cheap, accessible, and easy to use.
Sprinkle the baking soda on the affected area; don’t be afraid to give it a few really good shakes. Using a spray bottle, cover the baking soda area with a light layer of hot water.
Let the area soak for at least three hours; avoid walking on it if possible. This will soak up the dirt and bad smells.
Once everything is dry, clean the area with a vacuum.
Shaving Cream – A Catch-All Stain Fighter?
While it’s true that club soda is a reliable method for getting some stains out of carpet, shaving cream can get rid of just about any kind of stain on your carpet. You don’t have to dilute the shaving cream or put it on a cloth first. Rather, you can simply spray or spread the shaving cream directly on the stained carpet.
Let the shaving cream stay there for about 30 minutes until it’s set. Once it is, you can blot it away using a cloth; again, blot from the outside and work your way in so as not to spread the stain. To finish the job, mix together a 1:1 water/vinegar solution and spray the affected area. Wipe it away gently with a cloth.
Just Add Salt
Table salt is a surprisingly effective stain fighter. If you spill red wine on your carpet, for example, you can incorporate salt into the cleaning process.
You can add white wine to the mix to help get rid of the color. Blot the stain with cold water and a sponge or cloth. Once this is done, sprinkle salt on the affected area and allow about 10 to 15 minutes for everything to be absorbed. From there, vacuum the salt away.
Salt also helps get rid of greasy stains in the carpet using a 1:4 salt/rubbing alcohol solution. Rub the mixture gently into the carpet in the natural direction of the fiber.
Always Dry It Off
Regardless of what floor cleaner or method you use, remember to dry the affected area well. Don’t scrub with a towel; if you’re going to use a towel or a cloth at all, be sure to blot from the outside in to keep the stain contained.
Not drying the cleanup properly could result in mold growth, which in addition to being unsightly can have some rather serious effects on the health of the house and the people in it if the infestation is allowed to start and spread.
For as many foods and products that can cause stains on the carpet, there are just as many that can fight the stains. You can put together a rather formidable stain-fighting repertoire just using items you can find around the house.
What are neat, surprising ways you fight stains around your house?