One reason that people love carpeting—besides its warmth and softness—is that it requires less maintenance and upkeep than hard-surface floors. Frequent vacuuming and an occasional deep-clean scrubbing is typically all that’s required to keep carpet looking new and fresh.
However, despite your best efforts, sooner or later your carpet will become the victim of spills, splashes, messy accidents, and whatever you track in on the bottom of your shoes.
Blot Stains, Don’t Rub Them
When a stain or spill first occurs, resist the urge to immediately start scrubbing. That’ll only drive the stain down into the carpet. Instead, gently dab stains with a cleaning solution and a clean cloth, paper towel, or sponge.
The key is blotting. Blotting puts a small amount of pressure on the stain, so you can soak it up. Rubbing causes the particles to get ground into the fibers, which can lead to the premature breakdown of those fibers.”
And always blot from the outer edge of the stain inward toward the center; blotting outward can spread the stain further across the carpet.
The Club Soda Process
You may have heard that you can use club soda to remove beer and wine stains from carpeting, which is true, if you use it correctly.
First, pour club soda onto a clean cloth and blot the stain. If the stain appears lighter, repeat with more club soda. If that doesn’t work, mix a one-to-one ratio of white vinegar and water, and pour it into a handheld spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the stained area, then wait 10 or 15 minutes for it to soak in. Next, press a clean, dry sponge down onto the saturated area to soak up the cleaning solution and the diluted stain, too. Repeat this process, if necessary, until the entire stain is gone.
Once you’ve removed the stain, rinse the spot with clean, warm water. Use your hand to brush the carpet strands into their natural direction. Finally, lay several white paper towels over the area and weigh them down with something heavy, like a phone book.
The towels will absorb the dampness from the carpet; leave them in place until the carpet is dry, usually about one day.
Try Shaving Cream
The best carpet cleaner for general stains is—believe it or not—ordinary shaving cream. It will remove just about every type of stain. Apply the shaving cream directly to the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Once the shaving cream has set, blot it up with a dry white cloth.
Finish by spraying the area with a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, and then wipe away the solution with a cloth.