Sometimes, we just don't use our noggins. A family friend who shall remain nameless arrived home on a cold winter evening with one thought on his mind: hot chocolate. He grabbed the last packet of cocoa mix from the pantry and ripped open the package with reckless abandon. A brown cloud escaped from the packet and flew through the air, landing directly on the plush white carpeting covering the living room floor. In his haste to remove the evidence before his mother arrived home from work, he ran to the kitchen, dampened a sponge and ... made cocoa on the living room rug.
OK, so the kid probably won't make it to Harvard. But he's human. And after his mother finished yelling, she used a simple method of carpet cleaning to remove the stain - successfully.
( Clean Carpet Stains ) In a previous article, we discussed some general procedures for removing stubborn spots - both old and new - from your carpeting. However, not all stains are created equal, and some are more stubborn than others. Sometimes, the most ardent scrubbing fails to remove spots from your carpet. In situations like those, you might need to use a cleaning method specific to the substance if you're going to have any success.
A few general rules of thumb: Buy yourself a container of mild detergent - one that contains no bleaches, alkalies or other harsh substances. This detergent usually will be the first step in all of these individual carpet-cleaning procedures. You'll also want to purchase a small supply of white hand towels or dish towels. Don't, under any circumstances, use a colored towel to clean your carpeting, unless you're aiming for the multicolored look. And when you apply any cleaning solution - homemade or otherwise - to your carpet, start small. Gently blot a small amount onto the affected area, and test it before you continue. Some solutions may cause carpets to fade, although that shouldn't happen if you use a mild detergent.
Let's go back to that lovely chocolate stain. How do you remove it? Dilute about one teaspoon of mild detergent with one cup of lukewarm water, and lightly blot the affected area with a clean white towel. Next, dilute one tablespoon of household ammonia in a half-cup of water. Lightly blot the area again. Now, repeat the first step, using the mixture of detergent and lukewarm water. Finally, dampen a sponge with water, and lightly rub the spot. The stain should lift. Then blot the area with a dry white towel. If this process fails to remove the entire stain, repeat the steps.
Even those of us who are a bit more endowed in the brain-cell department have been known to spill things from time to time. Who hasn't spilled coffee on the carpet at least once? To remove a coffee stain from your carpeting, you'll need to use your trusty combo of mild detergent and lukewarm water (again using the ratio of one teaspoon detergent to one cup of water). Blot the mixture on the carpet, then mix one-third cup of white household vinegar into two-thirds cup of water and blot. Sponge the area lightly with water, then blot again. Use the identical procedure for spilled tea, cola and fruit juices. For spilled wine, follow the same procedure with one additional step: Repeat step one (mild detergent and water) after using the vinegar-and-water solution.
Ballpoint pens strike fear in the hearts of every new-carpet-owner. These deadly instruments leave behind particularly stubborn stains, which aren't necessarily permanent. But you'll need something a bit stronger than vinegar to do the job. Start with a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent. Make sure you use just a little because dry-cleaning solvent could cause discoloration to your carpeting. Blot the solvent into the affected area. Then use your mild detergent mixture (one teaspoon to one cup of water) and blot.
Finally, sponge the area with clean water, and blot again. You may need to repeat the process, but remember to go easy on the solvent. Follow the same procedure for tar stains and spilled hand lotion.
Rust is another common carpet culprit. While it seems stubborn in its appearance, you can actually lift rust from your carpeting with rust remover. A few other tips for successful stain removal: When you first discover the stain, blot it or scrape it with a dull knife to remove as much as you can before you begin to clean the area using your household solutions. Make sure that you blot stains - never rub them. You'll only grind the stain into the carpet and cause further damage. Avoid overwetting your carpet with various solutions and/or water. And when you're finished treating your carpet, brush it to restore its appearance and blend the piles into the surrounding carpet.