I’m often asked for advice on how to keep carpets clean in between professional cleanings. Whether it’s a drink spill, pet problems, dirty shoes, or your basic household accidents – you will need to spot clean your carpet from time to time. Below we’ll look at six steps to removing spots, plus some things to have on hand to help you keep things clean.
The Basic Spot Removal Kit
Before we look at those six steps, let’s first build our toolkit. Be sure to keep these items on hand so you will be prepared to handle fresh spills on your carpet:
- Neutral dish detergent, such as Joy or Dawn (dilute 20:1)
- Clear household ammonia
- White vinegar (dilute 1:1)
- Wet spotter, such as Spot Gone
- Dry spotter, such as Dissolve
- Paint thinner
- Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution) for bleaching
- Denatured or isopropyl alcohol
- White terry cloths (a good supply is best)
- Spotting brush
If you have pets, stock a bacteria/enzyme digester, such as Liquid Alive. It’s also great if you have a wet/dry vac available as well.
Six Steps to Removing Spots
Now that you have your spot cleaning toolkit ready, let’s dive right in to my spot removing steps!
- Catch it while it’s fresh, when chances of removal are 75% better. Don’t iron or hot-air dry until the stain is gone. Heat will set most stains.
- First blot up all the liquid and scrape up all the solids you can. On a large liquid spill you can use a wet/dry vac. Be careful not to spread the stain.
- Test any chemical you intend to use in a hidden area to make sure it won’t discolor or damage the surface.
- Apply spotter and work from the outside of the stain in to avoid spreading. Blot, dont’ scrub; strike with the flat face of a spotting brush if needed to help break up the stain.
- Rinse chemical spotters out with water, blot the area dry and feather the edges. Brush or fluff up pile or nap.
- On carpet and upholstery, put a thick pad of toweling over the spot, weigh it down with books, and leave it there overnight to “wick up” any remaining moisture.
There you have it! Now you can keep your carpets looking great until the next time you need a professional to come help.
Do you have any spot cleaning tips or tricks that have worked for you? Be sure to tell us about it in the Comments section below.