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Cleaning Carpet Stains (Part 1)

By Luke Armstrong

Everyone who’s ever invested in quality carpets or rugs realizes the responsibility to keep them well-maintained, odor-free and especially stain-free for as long as possible. The right carpet can brighten up any room, but a stained carpet looks nasty and unpleasant. Stains left untreated affect not only the overall look of the carpet, but also its feel and fibers in the long run. A stain on the top of the carpet can be treated and completely removed, but a stain that has deeply penetrated the fabric isn’t so easy to remove. Some stains stay on the carpet and cause nasty greasy areas which are quite visible. Sadly, even those of us who are really careful with their carpets, still cause spills and stains and have to deal with them afterwards.

Cleaning carpetIf you want to prolong the life of your carpets, you need to take into consideration the following tips.

1. Act quickly: Cleaning up spills has to happen as soon as possible to ensure complete removal. You can expect to completely clan the stain if it’s been on the carpet for hours. Spills are messy and they have the tendency to spread if you try rubbing them with a sponge or a cloth. Moreover, when food falls on the carpet, the stain that’s caused is a combination stain, which means that you can’t treat just one ingredient and expect perfect results. The grease and the oil in the stains are the worst parts – it’s what causes the smell and the nasty yellow spot around the stained area. The longer you wait until you clean the spot, the worse for your carpet.

2. Blotting is key: Blotting the stained area with a clean (ideally white) soft cloth is the first thing you should do. This way the cloth will absorb as much of the spill as possible, without spreading it further on the carpet. Next, apply some carpet cleaning solution (ideally a product for removing stains) and wait for 10 minutes. Use another clean cloth to blot the area again and do that repeatedly until the stain starts fading. The spill will transfer onto the cloth and eventually be completely removed.

3. Rinsing is essential: You can’t expect a thoroughly clean carpet if you don’t rinse it well. This is the last step, after you are sure you have completely cleaned the stain. However, there is still residue on the fabric, whether you can see it or not. Rinsing with water will wash it off and prevent buildup from the product which can also be damaging to the carpet’s texture.

This way of cleaning is also applicable for rugs, heavy curtains and upholstery. Spills and stains are common problems for sofas, armchairs and couches and when they can’t be prevented, the least you can do is act immediately. Make sure you sprinkle some baking soda on the carpets once every other month and then vacuum it – this will remove the bad odor.

When the stain is persistent, you may need to repeat the above-mentioned actions. Whatever you do, don’t rub the stain because the friction will spread the spot. Some stains reappear on carpets even after you’ve cleaned them. Read why this happens and how to prevent this problem in Part II of the article.

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