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.
Now Lets Learn How Best To Keep Your Rugs Clean
Learn more about the upkeep of old rugs
Upkeep of old rugs – Good oriental rugs, antique rugs, or even first-rate hand made rugs, have a proven track record when it comes to investment. Like any other investment you may own, your house, antique paintings and furniture you must take care of them in order to help maintain their value.
With old rugs, the upkeep is easier that you may think. Naturally one needs to keep it clean so we suggest vacuuming your rugs regularly based on how much traffic they get.
For example, a library rug that you walk on just a few times a day would not need vacuuming more than once or twice a month but your entry hall rug which gets the most traffic and dirt would probably need to be vacuumed once a week.
Every two to three of years we suggest you have your rugs picked up and professionally cleaned. Also to help wear the evenly we suggest rotating your rug every time it come back from cleaning.
This simple but very effective measure will aid in adding many years to the life of your rug. When it comes to fraying, unraveling or holes we suggest getting immediate assistance. As in life, the more you put it off the worse off you may be in the long run.
A small hole or wear area will grow and grow and before you know it a minor and inexpensive matter could evolve into an avoidable headache which can cost you hundreds even thousands more than if you had attended to it immediately.
Therefore we suggest that if you have any concerns or questions about the upkeep of old antique rugs please do not hesitate to call us. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.
How To Keep Your Rug Clean – Removing Footwear
Keep Your Rug Clean – Many people are worry about how to keep their rug clean. One way to avoid the wear and tear of high volume foot traffic is to restrict the use of footwear in the home.
In many countries where rug weaving is a respected and accepted art form, both residents and visitors are required to remove hard soled footwear upon entering a residence. Bare feet or those protected only by socks, put less stress on rug fibers. In addition, by removing your shoes, you can keep soil, dirt and debris from the outside world from being tracked throughout the home as well as your clean rug.
Even when placed in high traffic areas, it’s important, for the longevity of the rug, to clean it only when it’s truly needed. Rugs in both high and low traffic areas of the home may only need to be cleaned once every few years.
A professional rug cleaner can give any rug a thorough cleaning but make sure to do so only when it’s really needed.
How to Tell if a Rug Needs to be Cleaned
There are a few ways to determine if it is time to shampoo a home’s rugs. One way to examine larger rugs is by holding up one edge of the rug and kicking the bulk of the carpet from underneath. If the impact causes a generous cloud of dust or debris to be released, that’s an indication that a deep cleaning is needed, but bear in mind that carpet fibers and some dust is to be expected.
A method that will work on any sized rug is to kneel down and use one’s hand to uncover dirt. The hand should be rubbed vigorously against the rug’s pile fibers in an arching motion for five to 10 seconds. If this causes the individual’s hand to become dirty, the carpet should be cleaned soon.
A final method involves looking at the underside of the rug. Bend it back over itself, so the warp and weft can be examined. Signs of dirt here indicate that a deep cleaning is needed. If the dirt is embedded this deep into the rug, a typical vacuuming will not be enough to pull out the dirt.
How To Clean A Rug Yourself
Yes, you can clean a rug yourself and it’s not always necessary to hire professionals for a good rug cleaning.
Here is the DIY instructions and step by step guide to clean a rug yourself:
- Vacuum each side of the rug thoroughly to clean it of excess debris. By both sides we mean vacuuming the backside of the rug first (the vibrations will shake loose dust and debris that are deeply embedded in the rug). After collecting all the dust from the floor, flip the rug to its front side and vacuum the face. Repeat this until there is very little to no dust left in the rug.
- Once the rug is dust free, its time to Shampoo the face / front side of the rug. Use only cool water, along with a mild liquid dish soap or shampoo specifically made for rugs. A good tool for this would be a soft brush with long bristles or a high-quality sponge that won’t shed. Wet the brush liberally with the water, soap and the bubbly suds. Brush the fibers firmly in the direction of the nap, careful not to apply too much pressure.
There are a couple things to consider in selecting the proper detergent for this type of cleaning job. In choosing the best detergent, check ingredients to ensure it doesn’t contain ammonia of any kind. Also, it’s a good idea to test one small segment of the carpet for color runs, before proceeding to shampoo the entire rug.
- For a deep clean, use a lot of the solution water. Then use the brush or sponge to scrub away from the carpet, so dirty water will be pushed out of the fibers. Repeat this process several times for best results. Rinse the rug thoroughly with clean, running water, ensuring to wash out excess soap and lingering soil.
- For a lighter clean or for cleaning antique rugs specifically, we suggest using very little water. You may even only want to use the soapy suds and brush them lightly into the rug’s pile. By constantly washing the brush in the water, you will remove the dirt from the rug and wash it off in the solution.
- If you cleaned your rug with a lot of water, try to squeeze out all the excess water. The best tool for this is a rubber window / floor squeegee, but one’s hands may work in a pinch. Push the excess water out in the direction of the nap and repeat this process as needed to get as much of the water out.
- Dry the rug completely, front and back. Lay the rug flat on the floor with the face of the rug pointing up. Then place items underneath it allow air to circulate through the rug until it feels dry to the touch (this will help ensure that it wont get damaged by dry rot setting in). If you have the ability to hang it that may be the best. To hasten the drying process you may want to use fans to push more air through and around the rug.
- Any stiffness in the rug’s fibers can be brushed out with a vacuum or a soft bristled brush after the now clean rug has dried out completely.
This method can be done by anyone and is the best way to rid a rug of deeply embedded soil and debris. This is best done on a clean driveway, garage floor or any large surface. Even one’s utility room may also suffice, but one should use his or her best judgment.
Keep Your Rug Clean Amidst Spills
People need to feel free to use and enjoy the rugs they buy. As part of daily use, spills do happen but don’t panic or get upset when they do.
By working on any spills, as they occur, you greatly reduce the chances of any long term damage.
Pet urine accidents are one of the most common types of spills. These are one of the more problematic accidents to deal with. Urine stains will likely harden the foundation of the rug and they will leave an odor. With repeated urination, the rug’s foundation may crack and break. Also, since urine is very acidic, it may actually bleach the colors and create discolored area so getting to these stains quickly is vital.
How to clean spills and urine from your rug:
If you get to the affected area quickly, first use a cloth or rag to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Next, a smaller rug (if the rug is safe for a deep wash) can be cleaned outside with a hose and cool water.
If the rug is large, you can clean portions of it in a basin or bucket. In these instances, press the affected area down into the basin. Be careful not to put too much weight on it, or tipping may occur. Pour cool water over the affected area of the carpet in the basin.
*In either case, add 1 cup of white vinegar for every gallon of rinse water to help deter color running and to rid the carpet of urine or food odors.
Once the rug or the affected area has been rinsed, make a solution that consists of 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 tsp of liquid dish washing detergent and two cups of tepid water. Use this solution to sponge or blot the affected area of the rug thoroughly and then let it dry. If possible, drape the carpet or rug over a lawn chair or sawhorse. This will allow both sides to dry simultaneously and quicken the process.
In cases where a pet (or child) accident involves vomit or fecal matter, remove the solid material first. It’s best to clean it up without spreading, because this may increase the risk of a larger stain. Next, clean the carpet as directed above, being cautious to blot and not to scrub.
Again, scrubbing could cause the affected area to spread and may create a deeper stain.
*** Always remember to clean WITH the direction of the nap.
A Note About White Vinegar and Cleaning Your Rugs
The majority of oriental rugs use acid fast and natural rug dyes. When adding the white vinegar to carpet washing water, the solution is given a higher acidic rating, which strengthens the bond between the dye and the fibers of the rug. This process creates better protection against color running or fading.
Whether a liquid spill or a pet accident involving solid matter, always finish by sponging the area with cool and clean water. Absorbent towels or a non shedding brush is best for this part of the process, though a soft bristled brush may also be used.
Push in the direction of the nap, but bear in mind that scrubbing too hard could cause the fibers to loosen. Towels should be placed under the rug to keep the underlying floor and any padding from soaking up the water (though we do strongly suggest that you remove the under pad before you begin cleaning your rugs).
Be sure that the backside of the rug is completely dry, before removing the towels…. both the nap and underlying side of the rug should both be thoroughly dry.