Are you wondering if the technique and products you’re using are the best choice for tough carpet stains? This is an excellent question, as most of us have to deal with stains on our carpet from time to time. If you have young children in your household, then the frequency of carpet stains tends to rise sharply. With kids around, dropping food or other substances on the carpet may begin to seem like a daily occurrence. Whether or not that’s the case, you no doubt need the right cleaning method at your disposal. To help you discover the most effective carpet cleaning for stain removal possible, here are some tips and a homemade cleaning solution recipe to get you started.
Tip #1: Don’t Wait.
While this tip may seem to be self-evident, you’d be surprised how many people wait to tackle a carpet stain. Perhaps they’re tired after a long day of work, and promise themselves they’ll clean it in the morning. This is a mistake, as waiting allows the stain to work its way deeper into the pad and the carpet fibers - making it much more difficult to remove. The best policy is to handle a spill immediately, so you have the greatest chance of removing it completely (1).
Tip #2: Mop Up the Excess First.
Another tip that may seem obvious, some people neglect to follow this guideline. It’s important that you mop up the excess before you begin scrubbing - otherwise you’ll make the task much more difficult and involved. For thick substances, wipe up the excess with a clean rag or paper towel and discard it. For liquid stains, blot the area to absorb as much of the excess liquid as possible (2).
Tip #3: Work From the Outside Edge Towards the Middle.
It’s best not to just scrub in a haphazard manner, but to start at the outer edge and work towards the middle instead. This will keep you from making the stain bigger by spreading it around on the rug (3).
Tip #4: Use This Homemade Carpet Cleaner.
Buying commercial carpet cleaners and stain solvents at the store presents two difficulties. First, they can be quite pricey, especially if you’re on a budget. Second, they usually contain all manner of chemical concoctions, which you may not feel comfortable spraying around your home. This is especially true if you have young children, who like to crawl around or play on the rug.
This homemade and all-natural carpet cleaner is an easy solution, and you likely have all of the ingredients already in your kitchen. Using a clean and empty spray bottle, mix a teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent, a tablespoon of white vinegar and a cup of warm water. Last, with the spray bottle in the sink, add a teaspoon of baking soda and screw on the lid tightly before the bubbles can overflow. Then, simply spray this homemade stain-busting mixture on your carpet stain and scrub gently (4).
Tip #5: Use Heat Transfer.
You may not be familiar with the heat transfer method, but it can truly work wonders on hard-to-treat carpet stains. Different sources recommend using different mixtures, but most use liquid dishwashing detergent, vinegar or ammonia in various concentrations. According to trusted expert Bob Vila’s website, you should use vinegar for typical stains and ammonia for stubborn ones - each diluted with three parts of water for every one part of cleaner (5).
The process begins with you scrubbing the stain in the typical way, to remove as much of it as possible. Then, spray some of the cleaning solution on the area to be treated and place a clean, damp rag or towel over it. Using your household clothes iron set on medium to high steam, work it back and forth over the rag. Be sure not to leave the iron in one place for too long, and only iron over the rag for 10-20 seconds at most (6).
The heat and steam from the iron combined with the cleaner on the rug, work to transfer some of the stain onto the towel. Check to see your progress after the first cycle, and repeat as necessary using a clean portion of the towel or rag. When finished, all of the stain should be transferred onto the towel, and even your most stubborn carpet stain should be removed (7).
While you’ll likely only need to use the heat transfer method for old or difficult stains, it’s good to have this option in your repertoire. For more run-of-the-mill stains on your carpet, the other tips along with the recipe for a homemade, all-natural cleaner will hold you in good stead. All told, these tips for effective carpet cleaning for stain removal should ensure that you can keep your carpet looking new and fresh for years to come.