DYI - How To Clean Your Rugs And Remove Carpet Stains When Accidents Happen
Clean Your Rugs - Dealing with carpet and rug stains can be a nightmare if not approached properly. Some approaches may even make the stain worse, permanently set it into the fibers, or destroy the quality of the fibers.
To avoid this after an accident or spill, follow these 10 DIY rules of rug cleaning and carpet stain removal:
Top 10 Rules For When You Clean Your Rugs By Yourself:
- Deal with all stains swiftly to prevent them from bonding with carpet and rug fibers.
- Avoid being too liberal with cleaning solutions. Affected fibers should be thoroughly moistened with the solution, but not sitting in a pool of liquid that could spread the stain to unaffected fibers and make cleaning and drying even more difficult.
- Only use cold water to dilute cleaning solutions. While certain materials may be removed more easily with hot water, the heat serves to seal in displaced color pigments into the carpet's fibers.
- Only use cleaning fluids when necessary. Many spills can be removed without the risk of dispersing the particles with liquid cleaning solutions.
- Stains should never be scrubbed or rubbed. Use a repetitive dabbing motion of press, release, and readjust cloth.... press, release, and readjust cloth... repeat the process as needed.
- Never use colored or printed cloths or paper goods to clean a stain. White cotton cloths and rags are ideal.
- Start at the edge of the stain or spill and move toward the center.
- Use a garment brush or a toothbrush with soft haired bristles if needed to gently brush out residual stain residue.
- If needed, a hair dryer or fan may be used to dry the cleaned area, especially if in a high traffic area where any leftover moisture will wick dirt.
- Restore the carpet or rug pile with a clean soft bristled garment or toothbrush. Make sure to stroke the fibers in the direction of the pile / with the nap and not against it.
Preparing The Rug Cleaning And Spot Treating Solutions To Clean Your Rugs
There are several DIY spot cleaning solutions that are usually safe and effective to clean your rugs which include:
- Vinegar - A vinegar solution of either 100% vinegar or 50 / 50 vinegar and water is one of the safest and most effective solutions for most stains.
- Detergent - Mix a tablespoon of translucent dish detergent, such as liquid Dawn, with a tablespoon of cold water.
- Ammonia - Mix a tablespoon of household ammonia into half a cup of cold water.
- Oil solvent - Examples include mineral spirits and fingernail polish remover.
How To Apply The Spot Cleaning Solutions While You Clean Your Rugs:
Never pour spot cleaning solutions directly on the carpet or rug because it often leads to overly saturating the fibers and possibly acting as a conduit to spread the stain. Instead, pick a method based on the size and depth of the stain, including;
- Spray bottle (hand held)
- Apply the solution directly to an uncolored cloth.
- Eye dropper or medicine dropper
- Ladle or spoon
- Cotton tipped cosmetic stick (Q-Tip)
When You Clean Your Rugs, Treat Each Accident or Stain Appropriately:
Some people make the mistake of learning a stain trick and applying it to all stains. Stains operate very differently due to their various chemical makeups and adhesion properties. For safe and effective removal, each type of carpet stain should be treated and cleaned appropriately.
Most Common Types Of Carpet Accidents Or Damages And How You Should Clean Your Rugs
How To Clean And Treat Burns From Your Rugs
Burn markings should never be rubbed or scrubbed at. Dabbing methods also will rarely remove soot on burnt carpet. Carefully push the unaffected fibers away from the burned section. The burn will often be on the surface or top portion of each carpet fiber. In this case, use craft or cosmetic scissors to snip the burnt section of each carpet fiber away. Use a garment brush to overlap unaffected fibers around the snipped pieces.
How To Clean And Remove Asphalt Stains From Your Rugs
Use a blunt object, such as a spoon, to gently scrape as much of the asphalt off as possible. Lightly apply an oil solvent solution directly over the stain to moisten it. Use a cloth to dab to solution and stain away. Continue the effort until all the asphalt is lifted. A detergent solution may be used to finish cleaning up any residual staining.
How To Clean And Remove Wax And Gum From Your Rugs
Wax and gum will harden if ice is applied over either of them. Leave the ice for five minutes so that the wax pieces or gum is hard enough to be broken free of the rug or carpet fibers. Any remaining traces of the wax’s color may be removed with the solvent and dab technique.
Wax has an alternative method should it not come up easily following an ice treatment. A brown paper bag may be laid over the wax. Swiftly run a warm iron across the bag, never leaving it idle in one place, until the wax adheres to the bag. Keep in mind that this method does pose a fire and burn risk.
How To Clean And Remove Oil And Grease Stains From Your Rugs
Use a spoon or blunt object to gently scrape away hardened particles. Use an oil solvent solution and the dab technique until oil is lifted. Follow up with a detergent solution and the dab technique. Dry and bush if needed. An ammonia solution and the dab method may be necessary for set-in, stubborn stains.
How To Clean And Remove Spills From Your Rugs - Beer, Soft Drinks, Milk, Juice, Tea, Liquor And So Forth
Begin by absorbing and removing the spillage itself by blotting with a dry colorless cloth as follows: Lay the cloth over the spillage to absorb surface liquid, never pressing down just yet. Repeat until surface liquid is completely absorbed. Use a second dry cloth to press down directly on the stain to remove deeper spillage. This two-step absorptive technique helps to ensure surface spillage isn’t pressed deeper into the carpet or rugs fibers. And, this in of itself may often remove the stain.
If stain remains, apply a detergent solution and the dab technique. Any residual stains may be removed with a vinegar solution and the dab method. Harshly-colored beverages may require an ammonia treatment with the dab method. Thoroughly dry the cleaned area. If necessary, use a garment brush to restore the natural placement of the fibers.
How To Clean And Remove Blood Stains From Your Rugs
Use the two-step absorption process to remove surface liquid without deeper penetration. Go with a detergent solution and the dab method first. Ammonia solution and the dab method may be used to remove any residual staining. Thoroughly dry.
How To Clean And Remove Chocolate Stains From Your Rugs
Use a spoon to scrape off any bits of chocolate. Use a detergent solution to dab the stain. Ammonia and the dab method may be used for difficult stains. Dry and brush if needed.
How To Clean And Remove Coffee Stains From Your Rugs
Use the two-step method to absorb the liquid. Apply and ammonia solution to the stain and let it sit for two to three minutes. Use the dab method to remove the stain. Reapply ammonia as needed and repeat until the stain is lifted. Dry thoroughly.
How To Clean And Remove Glue Stains From Your Rugs
Saturate a cloth with vinegar. Dab and gently pull upwards against the carpet fibers. Repeat until all the glue is lifted. Follow up with a detergent solution or minimal amount of alcohol solution may be necessary to remove any residual stickiness.
How To Clean And Remove Ice cream Spills From Your Rugs
Scrape away as much of the ice cream as possible with a spoon. Use the dab method with an ammonia solution to remove any stains. Dry and brush if needed.
How To Clean And Remove Condiment Spills From Your Rugs
Scrape away as much of the ketchup, mustard, mayo as possible. Dab away any remaining condiment from the surface gently. Apply a detergent solution and use the dab method to lift deeper residue. If stain remains, use an ammonia or vinegar solution and the dab method. Dry and brush if needed.
How To Clean And Remove Ink Stains From Your Rugs
Ink is like the gladiator of stains, but it’s not without a DIY stain solution. Spray the stain thoroughly with hairspray. Wait 10 - 15 minutes for it to dry and adhere to the ink. Use a soft-haired garment brush dipped in a 50 / 50 vinegar to water solution to lift the stain.
How To Clean and Remove Lipstick Stains From Your Rugs
Scrape away as much of the lipstick as possible. Dab away any remaining lipstick from the surface gently. Apply a detergent solution and use the dab method to lift deeper residue. If stain remains, use an ammonia or vinegar solution and the dab method. Dry and brush if needed
How To Clean And Remove Nail polish, Paint, & Shoe Polish From Your Rugs
Scrape away any dried or liquid polish. Dip a cotton-tip cosmetic stick into nail polish remover. Dab at the stain, using a new cotton stick as needed until the bulk of the stain is removed. Follow up with a detergent solution, clean cloth, and the dab method. Difficult colors may require an ammonia solution and the dab method.
How To Clean And Remove Soot and Ash Stains From Your Rugs
These dried particles shouldn’t be moistened. Instead, use a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to suck up the particles. Be sure to place the nozzle head just above the particles, avoiding pressing them into or rubbing them across the carpet or rug
How To Clean and Remove Vomit Stains From Your Rugs
Scrape the vomit from the carpet or rug with a spoon. Use a vinegar solution and the dab method to both disinfect the fabric and remove the stain. Follow up with a detergent solution if needed. Thoroughly dry.
How To Clean and Remove Urine Stains From Your Rugs
Urine removers often damage carpets and don’t even sanitize them. Use the two-step method to absorb the liquid. Use the dab method with 100% vinegar solution to disinfect, remove odors, and remove the stain.
How To Clean And Remove Wine Stains And Spills From Your Rugs
Use the two-step method to absorb all excess fluids. Use the dab method and a vinegar solution to lift any remaining stains. Dry thoroughly.
***Special Considerations Before Starting Any DIY Carpet Or Rug Cleaning Project:
- Applying anything to a stain has the potential to worsen the stain and/or otherwise damage the carpet or rug. If this isn’t an acceptable risk, contact a professional cleaning service as soon as possible.
- Specialty flooring, such as oriental rugs, antique carpets, silk rugs, fine Persian rugs (to name but a few) may require professional cleaning services.
- Know your chemicals! Certain chemicals, such as bleach and ammonia should never be mixed. Doing so may produce chemical burns to the lungs, skin, and eyes and could even have fatal consequences. Always know what chemicals are being used and how to use them safely for the health of humans and fabrics.
- If in doubt of a product and material being compatible, use a test swatch first.
- In drying, keep in mind any pads underneath carpet and rugs. Leaving moisture underneath can create mold, dry rot and mildew.
You may also want to read our post about keeping your rug clean and how to tell when it’s time to have your rugs cleaned