How to Rid Your Carpet of Tough Stains

How to Rid Your Carpet of Tough Stains

Automatic vacuum can easily carry out more heavy cleaning tasks such as Neabot robot vacuum, with its unbeatable suction power of 2700Pa, two side brushes and a roller brush effectively loosen, extract, and vacuum dirt to give a superior vacuuming and deep cleaning, but if you don't own it yet, you have to rid the carpet of tough stains yourself.

This guide lists the tools, techniques and supplies you need to remove ugly stains and gross odors from carpeting. You'll also learn what to do immediately when accidents strike in order to minimize the damage. I'll show you the effects of three common types of soiling, too, from red wine and foul smells to heavy food stains. Gross carpets and rugs stained by dog urine, grease and food are tough to deal with. Don't just toss them in the trash though. First consider trying to reverse the damage yourself.

Basic stain removal

The faster you act the more likely you'll be successful removing a carpet stain. Speed can also prevent a stain from appearing in the first place. Once you notice a blemish, move quickly.

First, if there is any physical debris, remove it with a fork or spoon. Be careful not to use much pressure. You want to avoid pressing material deeper into the carpet fibers. Next, dab gently with a damp cloth or paper towel. Use plain fabric or paper towels without any colors or prints and press gently into the stain; this process can take several minutes, so be patient.

Now pretreat the area with a stain-removal solution. The Carpet and Rug Institute maintains a list of cleaning products it certifies. You can also find similar products sold online and at supermarkets. Lastly, rinse the spot with cool water -- never warm -- and dab again to dry.

You may have to repeat the process several times for stubborn spills.

Deal with red wine

A red wine stain can really ruin your carpet's day. It's cliche, but it happens. Someone has dropped a big glass of red wine onto your lovely, light-colored carpet. What now? First, blot the spill with a damp cloth or paper towel. The idea here is to remove as much wine from the floor as possible. Any wine that remains should also be diluted with cold water using the cloth or towel.

Now you'll want to apply some carpet stain remover. They usually come in spray-bottle form and cost about $11. I've found that the formulas marked "pet stain remover" or with similar language work best.

Before you lay down the solution, though, it's a good idea to test your carpet for colorfastness. Pick a small spot that's hidden, say, under the couch or sofa, and hit it with a little of the stain remover. If there's no change after a few minutes, you're good to go.

Now apply enough stain remover to coat the stain. Let stand for at least 5 minutes, then blot again with another damp paper towel or cloth (again, using cold water, not warm). Repeat the procedure if necessary. With stubborn stains, it will take multiple rounds.

Removing stains caused by dog and cat urine

Dogs and cats are lovable, but often they can cause big headaches -- like when they pee on your carpet or rug. Potent and noxious, you need to take special care with urine sourced from Fido and Whiskers. According to the CRI, never use a steam cleaner to treat urine spots. The high heat from that equipment will likely set both the stain and odor.

The CRI advises to first treat the trouble area as you should other spots and spills. Blot with a color-safe material (plain white, no patterns or prints) to absorb as much wetness as possible. Next, use a stain remover designed for pet messes. Always remember to blot rather than scrub to work in the detergent. Repeat the process until the stain and smell are removed.

Another option is to use a home carpet cleaner, aka a wet vacuum. After that you can rinse the area with cool water.

Get rid of carpet smells

To rid your carpet of foul smells, first blot any strongly affected spots with a damp cloth. Next, blot the area dry with a clean (dry) cloth or paper towel. Now give the rug a healthy sprinkle of baking soda. After 30 minutes, vacuum with the carpet with a standard vacuum cleaner. Repeat if the odor still lingers.

For this test, someone used white vinegar as my contaminant. He had some success with the homemade method. A recent smelly spill (within 5 minutes) was easier to neutralize. Vinegar left overnight took more work to eliminate. Either way you had to perform numerous baking soda applications to significantly reduce the aroma.

As for mechanized solutions, perhaps it was the combined power of odor-fighting shampoo plus strong suction. Whatever the reason, both electric cleaners managed to banish all traces of my test carpets' funk.    

Dealing with vomit

Oh boy, that's a nasty mess. One of the worst materials to defile carpeting is vomit. Whether the source is dog, cat or human, vomit will surely ruin your carpet unless you act quickly. First start by removing any solid matter. Gently use a fork or spoon to lift matter away and make sure to employ a light touch. Too much pressure risks working the material deeper into the carpet.

Next, treat the exposed area with plenty of stain remover solution. After sitting for at least 5 minutes, blot with a damp cloth or paper towel. Again, be ready to repeat the procedure if you need to.

Lots of TLC

Prevention is good medicine for carpets, too. The Carpet and Rug Institute recommends at least a weekly vacuuming regimen, and up to twice a day for high-traffic areas. The industry group also says carpets should be professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months.

Consider a carpet cleaner

Another method is to clean rugs with a carpet cleaning machine. These appliances look like regular upright vacuums but operate very differently. Machines like this pump detergent liquid into the carpet below as you push them forward.

Spinning brushes scrub carpet and rug fibers (mixed with the shampoo liquid) along the way. Pulling the machine backward over the same area allows it to vacuum up remaining solution along with any loosened grime.

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