Stains happen. It doesn’t matter how careful you think you are; something will be spilled, accidents will happen, and stains will get on your rug. You may be fortunate enough to witness the accident, but you may also find stains that have set that you didn’t know about.
Here are seven tips for removing stains.
1. Dab Don’t Rub – When you put cleaner or even just water on a stain to soak it through, don’t scrub or rub at first. Find out if it will come up with repeated dabbing. You may need to put the white cloth on the floor and stand on it. Then repeat. Cleaner, dab, cleaner, dab. This may take some time but eventually, if you’re getting color onto the cloth, it will all come up.
2. Window Cleaner – This might seem strange, but a lot of very bright carpets can be cleaned with foaming non-bleach window cleaner. Simply spray the foam on the stain, then let sit for a while. Once the foam has soaked in, use the dabbing method. If nothing comes up on the cloth, spray again until soaked through, then try again. If that doesn’t work, you may need to scrub carefully with a soft brush.
3. White Cloth – Use a white terry cloth that will soak up liquid easily. You can buy these cheaply in packages at any department store, including Walmart and Target. Don’t use fabric softener on them so that they maintain their absorbency. Use them to dab up liquid right away, and then dab up cleaner too.
4. Take Your Time – Often a stain can take hours to get out, but if you’re persistent and take your time you can do it. Keep in mind that if your cloth is turning a different color, the stain is coming up, even if you’re only using water (which sometimes does work). You may need to do it repeatedly.
5. Baking Soda Paste – For a hard, set-in stain that the window cleaner trick doesn’t work on, create a paste of baking soda and vinegar. Put on the stain until it’s soaked through. Then let sit for a few minutes. Now try the white cloth. If nothing comes up on the cloth, try scrubbing with a soft brush. Then once you get the stain moving, dab, add water, dab, and keep going until the stain is gone.
6. Do It Fast – If you have a choice, clean stains when they happen. If someone spills wine during a party, everyone understands if you’re going to get a white cloth and soak it up right away. Dabbing the wine with a white cloth will get most of it up. Follow with window cleaner and the rest will come up.
7. Stain Retardant – Before you get started using your carpet, consider getting it treated with stain retardant. Often you can have that done for you, but you can also buy stain retardant and treatments at hardware stores. Make sure it’s safe for your type of carpet. Even if it's just waterproofing, that can also help prevent stains from soaking in.
Remember that the best thing to do about rug stains is to get to them as fast as you can, be patient, and don’t give up. If you know what the stain is made of, there is often something you can use to get it out.