‘Tis the season for spills and stains on your carpet. But don’t worry if your kids splash red punch on the carpet or your in-laws’ dog isn’t house-trained after all. Just follow these simple clean-up tips from the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI).
Step One: Absorb the Spill
Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or plain white paper towels. (Using a printed or colored material may transfer ink or dye to your damp carpet.) Continue until the area is barely damp.
Semisolids, like food spills, may need to be scooped up with a spoon. Solid, dried bits can be vacuumed up.
Warning: do not scrub or use a brush. Bristles and scrubbing can damage carpet. Fraying and texture change are the likely results.
Step Two: Treat the Spot or Stain
Use a CRI Certified Seal of Approval carpet cleaning product. Though these have been laboratory tested, you should still pretest any cleaner on a scrap of carpet or in an out-of-the-way area of your carpet.
Follow the product’s directions carefully. More is not better. Apply a small amount of the cleaner to a white cloth and work in gently, from the edges to the center. Blot; don’t scrub. You may need to do this several times to remove the spot. After the spot is gone, blot the area with clear water once or more to remove any remaining product.
Special Tips for Pet Owners
- Vacuum carpet more frequently to capture pet hair and dander from your pet’s fur.
- Use CRI Certified Seal of Approval cleaning products that are specifically designed for pet stains and odors.
- Clean up new messes promptly and then follow the steps for spot and stain removal.
- Use small hand extractors for quick cleanups of pet accidents, but remember that these quick clean ups don’t take the place of periodic deep cleaning.
- Have your carpet professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months or more frequently if necessary.
- Don’t use a steam cleaner when dealing with urine spots because the heat will set the stain and the smell. Extracting the spill with a wet-vacuum and rinsing with cool water will reduce the odor.