Out, out #&*! spot! If you've got kids, you'll get carpet spills.
Blood stains, nail polish stains, pet stains, and beyond - it's all part of the territory when it comes to family life.
But just because carpet stains are inevitable doesn't mean they have to be permanent.
These tips for removing carpet stains can help you get rid of the visual reminders of family life from your floor coverings.
Most manufacturers put a stain-resistant finish on carpets, but it can only do so much.
Deal with spills immediately. The longer you wait, the more the carpet absorbs them. Scrape up any solids first. Then blot up stains with a clean white cloth or paper towel. Don't rub.
Put a small amount of stain remover on a clean cloth and lay it over the stain for 10 minutes. (See appropriate remedies for common stains below.) Then begin blotting from the edge of the stain to the center. Rinse the area with cold water and blot dry.
Put a stack of clean white towels on the spot and weigh them down with a heavy object for six hours to soak up excess moisture. Caution: If you don't remove all of the cleaning agent, a worse stain can result. Don't skip this last step!
Also, if the stain is severe, you might want to call a professional carpet cleaner in right away. Home remedies may worsen the problem or even set the stain permanently.
Food and beverages are attracted to carpet like magnets. Stains happen. Here are some remedies for the most common stains.
Ballpoint pen ink: Pour a little rubbing alcohol onto a clean, dry cloth and blot. Then blot-rinse the area with a clean, white rag or paper towel and warm water to remove the rubbing alcohol from the carpet.
Blood: Someone get a boo-boo? After you kiss it well (and apply a happy face Band-Aid), go to work on the spot. Rub an ice cube on the stain. As it melts, so will the spot. Don't let the area get too wet, however.
Blot up the stain with a clean white towel.
Burns: If a large section of carpet is burned, you will need to patch the carpet. However, small burns can be disguised by cutting away the burned tips with scissors and trimming the surrounding tufts to conceal the cut.
Fingernail polish: Some little lady's in big trouble! Remove the polish with a non-acetate nail-polish remover on a clean cloth.
Work from the edges to the middle and leave the remover on for a few minutes. Then blot dry. It may take several tries.
Pet accidents: Urine is the worst. And once it soaks into the pad, you've got a big problem. First, blot up as much as you can.
Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent in 1 cup of lukewarm water and blot it onto the stain with a clean cloth. Blot dry using a second cloth. Rinse. Blot dry. Keep repeating those steps until the spot is gone. Then mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar in 1 cup of water and blot again.
Finally, put a pile of paper towels on the spot and weight it down with a heavy object until all moisture is absorbed. (Hint: Don't use too much liquid, or you will inadvertently spread the urine into the pad yourself).