DIY: Spot Cleaning Your Carpet with Everyday Household Items

Families with kids and pets soon discover that carpets can get dirty very quickly. While all carpets should be shampooed on a regular schedule to extend their wear, in between shampooing, carpet spills should be dealt with as soon as possible using a technique called “spot cleaning.” Spot cleaning your carpet means hand cleaning a spill on your carpet when it happens, instead of waiting for a carpet shampooer. Taking care of a spill immediately means lowering the chance of a permanent stain on your carpet.

Even if you don’t have a commercial carpet cleanser in your house, you can still take care of that stain using common household items. Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1: Use a spatula or wall paper scraper to gently lift off the “solids” in the spill. Do not press down on the spatula as this can cause the particles to lodge deep into the carpet, making it harder to remove.

Step 2: Next, use a paper towels or clean kitchen towel to gently blot up the liquid part of the spill. If the spill has dried, use the nozzle attachment of your vacuum cleaner to loosen the particles.

Step 3: Before attempting to remove the stain, it’s recommended to test a discreet area of the carpet first for color fastness. How this is done is by applying the cleaning solution to a small area, and then blotting the areas with a white towel. If the color of the carpet now appears on the towel, then the cleaning solution will damage your carpet. You can either try another cleaner or do what I do, which is to use a mild mixture of laundry detergent and hot water. Other cleaning solutions that will also work (don’t forget to pretest!) include :

Vinegar and water in a 1:10 ratio
1 teaspoon of dish detergent to 1 gallon of hot water
Hot water
A mild solution of ammonia and water

Step 4: After you’ve safely pre tested the cleaning solution, you can begin blotting the stain with a clean, white towel that has been dipped in the solution. Working from the outside in, blot the stain repeatedly until the stain has completely lifted.

Step 5: For extremely tough stains that have penetrated deep within the pile, switch to a scrub brush and gently scrub the area for a few seconds. Switch back to the towel, and blot again as before,

Step 6: Once the stain has been lifted, blot the area with clear rinse water, working from the inside of the stain to slightly beyond the outside. Vacuum the area while still damp, and then allow to dry.

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