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Every homeowner loves the idea of a plush, comforting carpet to liven up the home. What they don’t love is the potential for stains. Due to carpet’s soft and porous nature, this flooring type can be easily damaged by various liquids. There’s nothing worse than making a sizable investment in a carpet installation, only to deal with stains and discoloration that could have been avoided.

Fortunately, stains that can occur on carpets are easily removable. There are a variety of tried-and-true methods homeowners have been using for years to safeguard their carpeting. In this article, we’ll address each one and provide you with some tips on how to clean and avoid stains.

How to Clean Stains From Carpet With Household Products

One of the main perks of using carpeting is that stains can almost always be removed with light-duty products found in the pantry. With no need for expensive, complicated cleaning supplies, you can tackle stains as soon as they happen. Every individual has their own perfect recipe that they swear by, but in general, they all use the same three ingredients: water, vinegar, and baking soda.


Using Water, Vinegar, and Baking Soda

For best results, use a 1:2 ratio of warm water to baking soda and add in a teaspoon or two of baking powder. The vinegar will add acidity to the solution so that the stain can break down, and the chemical reaction that occurs with the baking soda will allow the dirt and grime to lift out of the carpet fibers. Follow these simple steps for success:

  1. Blot excess liquid with a clean white cloth
  2. Vacuum the area to remove excess dirt
  3. Mix the ratio of warm water, white vinegar, and baking soda in a spray bottle
  4. Apply generously to the affected area until damp
  5. Let set for 5-10 minutes
  6. Rinse and blot the affected area with a wet, clean cloth
  7. Allow time to dry

Source: Real Simple (Article: The Best Homemade Carpet Cleaners for Removing Stains From Every Type of Rug)

Note: Be sure to only use white vinegar with this method. Other vinegar types have dyes and will likely cause a worse stain than you had before. Additionally, do not use vinegar on natural fiber carpets like wool, as they are too fragile; instead, opt for a simple solution of dish soap and warm water, which won’t break down the fibers.

How to Clean a Badly Stained Carpet With Commercial Products

Depending on the severity and type of stain you’re dealing with, you may have to bring in the big guns. There are many different cleaning products available that you can use to remove particularly aggressive stains. Before using any, be sure to read the fine print and ensure that they’re compatible with your carpet type.

Using Stain Remover and Shampoo

A commercial carpet cleaner and stain pre-treatment will remove even the worst of stains. Although these products have a little more muscle behind them, they do cost significantly more than household products. Additionally, they’ll require a run to the store, and in many cases, you’ll need a carpet cleaning machine for them to function properly. Regardless, they’re a fantastic product for stains that need serious attention.

How to Clean Tough Carpet Stains With a Cleaning Machine

First, you’ll need to locate a carpet cleaning machine. While many of these are prohibitively expensive, there are options available to homeowners just looking for help with quick stain removal. Small, handheld carpet cleaners come at a fraction of the price and are useful for small areas. They only hold a small amount of water though, so any serious stain removal will require a larger machine.

Another option is to rent a machine. Many home improvement and grocery stores offer daily rentals. If you’re only using it occasionally, why bother with a big, bulky purchase?

Once you’ve acquired a cleaning machine, purchase the shampoo that goes with it. Failure to use the correct solution could damage the machine or simply be ineffective at cleaning. Once this is done, the cleaning process is simple:

  1. Blot excess liquid with a white cloth
  2. If using stain treatment, spray the affected area
  3. Fill the machine with water to the appropriate level
  4. Add soap to the dispenser (follow the directions for the specific machine you are using)
  5. To use, push the machine’s nozzle away from you as it sprays the affected area with water
  6. Pull the nozzle back in a straight line, sucking up dirty water
  7. Let air dry

Source: (Article: How to Use Carpet Shampooer)

How to Clean Pet Stains From Carpet

Carpet Stains from Pets

While pets are always a welcome addition to your family’s home, it’s unavoidable that they’ll have an accident from time to time. Whether you’re potty-training new animals or you have an older pet with incontinence issues, stains will occur.

Unlike other fluids, pet urine comes with a different set of requirements for stain treatment.

In general, you can use the same concoction of water, vinegar, and baking soda. Many homeowners also like to add salt for added friction when removing a stain. The primary difference when treating pet stains is that you do not want to use warm water. Warm or hot water will intensify the smell, leaving you in a worse situation than when you started.

Always use cold water when cleaning pet stains, and if the smell persists, consider vacuuming the floor with a fresh layer of scented baking soda.

How to Clean Coffee Stains From Carpet

For coffee stains, use a mixture of water, vinegar, and dish soap. Be sure to blot any excess liquid with a white cloth first so that the removal process is easier. The dish soap in the solution will help break up the coffee stain, whereas the vinegar will help dislodge it from the carpet. Although scary when it occurs, coffee stains are normally nothing to worry about.

Source: Bob Vila (Article: Interior Design Quick Tip: Removing Coffee Stains from Carpet)

How to Clean Old Carpet Stains That Have Sat

Old Carpet Stains

It’s always advised to tackle stains and spills as soon as they happen, but sometimes life gets in the way. If it’s been a while since a stain has set into your carpet and it’s been allowed time to dry, you’ll have to take a more aggressive cleaning approach. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. Each successive attempt will likely leave you with a lesser stain, and over time it will begin to fade completely.

For stains that simply do not want to disappear, you may have to hire a professional cleaning service.

5 Tips for Avoiding Carpet Stains

While accidents undoubtedly happen, many stains can be avoided in the first place. There are a number of precautions that you can take to “stain-proof” your home, and many simply require a minor change. Let’s look at a few here.

1. Avoid Installing Carpet in Dining Areas

Areas like the dining room and kitchen will be extremely susceptible to spills, so it may be worth not laying any carpet in those areas at all. You can also leave an area by the door uncarpeted so that guests and family members have somewhere to place their dirty shoes, without tracking them into the house.

2. Use Carpet Protection Film

It may not look as beautiful, but by applying a protection film over your carpet you can efficiently safeguard it against any types of spills or accidents that could occur. Installing protection film doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture either. You can simply roll it out when you’re having a large gathering at your home and there will be an increased chance of staining.

3. Don’t Wear Shoes Inside

This is one of the simplest steps you can take to prevent carpet stains. Shoes bring in an immense amount of dirt and grime from the outdoors, and when you wear shoes in the house it gets immediately transferred to the carpet. In small quantities, you may not even notice the staining occurring, but years down the road it will most certainly show.

Taking off shoes in the house will also reduce the stress you put on your underlying carpet pad, preserving it for many more years ahead.

4. Keep Pets in Uncarpeted Areas

Instead of allowing pets to run all over your home, consider placing gates around carpeted sections like the living room. This is especially important during the potty-training process, or if your animals frequently have accidents.

5. Purchase Stain-Resistant Carpet Treatment

With a solution-dyed carpet, you can take preventative action before the spills even occur. This treatment soaks into your carpet and creates a protective layer on top that prevents liquids from soaking deep into the carpet. It’s not an invincible approach, however, only a safeguard.

6. Clean Up Spills Immediately

Above all else, addressing stains when they first occur is the best method of preventing them. Nearly all liquids that can affect your carpet can be quickly removed when caught early. By having the appropriate cleaning supplies on hand, and taking a proactive approach, your carpet can easily be saved.

Carpet Stains Aren’t a Problem With the Right Tools and Knowledge

Carpet Stains in Home

If your home currently has carpet or you are planning to have it installed, dealing with staining is an inevitable part of ownership. However, there’s no need to let the fear of a stain prevent you from enjoying this luxurious flooring option. By preparing yourself with the right cleaning materials, and taking a proactive approach, you can fully enjoy your carpet.

Ready to outfit your home with the most desirable carpets on the market? Browse Stoller Floors’s complete catalog today and schedule your installation.