Carpets are a key element of every home interior, and they're popular in offices too. The flooring comes in many colours and materials. The comfort it offers is excellent, and it keeps your feet from going cold. It is an excellent alternative to hard floors, and saves you money on underfloor heating.
However, as anything else in the world, carpets have downsides. The fibres are very good at being a dust catcher. And whatever spills on it is usually difficult to clean up. Unlike hard flooring, you can't just mop it away immediately.
There are also lots of typical carpet stains you should prepare for. Various food and drink spillages, like coffee, tea, chocolate and sauce are common. Pet stains and child accidents happen, and sometimes, a cut finger may leak blood on the floor. Worst of all, old radiators leaking rust, and building work paint spills can be terrifying to anyone.
So, how do we deal with all of these issues? Luckily, there are many ways to remove just about any stain. The important thing is to react quickly, before the stain has a chance to dry. That is especially important for paint, blood and rust stains, but valid overall.
Home remedies versus store cleaning products - which are best?
There are many store-brand chemicals that have become a household name. However, many homeowners ask themselves why they should buy any. Vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide are all effective carpet cleaning products. There are other domestic items which can deal with most stains on any carpet materials.
Home remedies are easily found in every local store, and have other purposes aside from cleaning. White vinegar goes on any soup or most meals, for example. You cannot bake anything without baking soda in your cupboards. And hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant for when someone gets a cut or scrape.
Domestic cleaning products are safe and eco-friendly. They are able to act as carpet stain removers with no downsides. Usually, all you have to do is mix them in a few cups of warm water. And the best part is that all home remedy products are cheap.
Let's look at some examples of domestic stain remover solutions. What you will need in all cases:
- white towel (if dyed, it must be colour fast) made of cloth or paper
- refillable spray bottle
- warm or cold water (depending on what the stain is)
- one of the following: baking soda, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or dish soap
How to remove water soluble stains from carpet with white vinegar?
Water soluble stains are, simply put, stains which dissolve in water. A few examples are drinks like alcoholic and alcohol-free beverages, milk, red and white wine. Gravy, jelly, non-permanent ink and water-based damp paint are other stains dissolved in fluids.
Blot the stain gently, going from the edges to the centre. Make sure to not rub or scrub it, as this will make it go deeper into the fibres. After you're done cleaning, always hoover the carpet and air the room.
In the spray bottle, pour 1 litre of water and 20 ml of white vinegar. Shake for a few seconds so it mixes properly, then spray some over the stain. Afterwards, blot and rinse with warm water, and open the windows to allow drying.
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How to remove tougher carpet stains with dish soap?
There are other stains which still dissolve in water, but are much harder to remove. Common examples are animal and human bodily fluid stains, particularly blood, urine and vomit. Sauces like mustard or ketchup, and aromatic drinks like coffee and tea are also severe. Remember to always use a damp cloth to blot them out before you apply cleaning solutions.
Dish soap is a mild detergent, and your safest choice for carpet cleaning. It can be used many times, if you observe room ventilation and don't soak the carpet too much. After applying it and letting it sit, simply rinse and blot it out. Then repeat the process as many times as necessary.
You can use a greater amount of dish soap, around 50 ml in 1 litre of cold or lukewarm water. Stir until fully dissolved, then apply it on the stained area. Blot, rinse and repeat if needed until the stain is gone.
Hydrogen peroxide agitates itself, but is not suitable for all carpets. Baking soda can be sprinkled on anything, and works as a deodorizer on top of soaking up dirt. Dish soap is tame and works safely on artificial and natural carpet fibres. And white vinegar deals with stains and smells, but has its own strong odour, so ventilate well.
Why choose store brand products vs home remedies for carpet cleaning?
When you go to a convenience store and look for carpet stain removers, you may be overwhelmed at first. There are lots of brands and products, and more manufacturers than anyone can remember. The upside is that you can always find exactly what you're looking for in a cleaning solution.
A very common mistake is thinking that cleaning products found in a store are only good for damaging your carpet. This may have been the case years ago, but carpet cleaner solutions have advanced over the past 3 decades. Now, with the right products, you can almost rival professional carpet cleaning services in terms of quality.
Today, there are various cleaning solutions which are completely eco-friendly and safe for cleaning carpets. If some of them are not available at your local store, Amazon comes to the rescue. Here are a couple of cleaning products we endorse for domestic use:
1. Bissell Professional Stain and Odour Remover
Bissell specialises in making products anyone can afford, and effective at dealing with any issues. The Professional Stain and Odour Remover is originally marketed as a pet stain remover. Testing has found it effective on other issues. It is also great for the common drink and food stains we listed above.
Bissell's pet stain and odour cleaning product cleans carpet efficiently and quickly. The enzymes deal with anything from puppy urine to tea stains and even vomit smell. It's not the fastest acting solution, but it definitely gets the job done.
2. Prochem Fibre Shampoo 5L
Prochem is a UK manufacturer on the cleaning market since 1974. Their products are eco-friendly, and completely safe for children and pets. The Fibre Shampoo is a product you can apply yourself with a brush and sponge, or use a professional machine. It works with contra rotating brush machines and hot water extractors alike.
If using it yourself, mix it 1 to 20 in a bucket of water, then apply it with a sponge. Take care to not oversoak your carpet when using any cleaning solution. If you hired a portable carpet cleaner like Rug Doctor, mix it 1 to 25 in the water tank. Always rinse and let fully dry before attempting to reuse it.
Read also: How to deep clean a carpet?
Bonus tips for carpet cleaning at home
Before using any cleaning product, remember to test it on a hard to see area of the fibres. This will ensure that if it is not suitable, you will not ruin your carpet. If you have any difficulty, consult the manufacturers of your textile flooring.
Never rub or scrub stains, as this will push them deeper into the carpet. If the stain makes it to the underlay, the specialists may also be unable to remove it. Always be careful, as carpet can last decades when properly cared for by the property owners.
When trying to clean the carpet from blood stains, only use cold water. If you use hot water, the blood will harden and stick to the fibres harder. This will make it difficult to remove even by professional carpet cleaners.
How to remove rust stains from carpets?
Rust stains are not water soluble, and are a chemical reaction of iron and steel with oxygen. The most common source of rust stains on carpets are radiator leaks. As this is one of the most difficult stains to remove, you need to be prepared to tackle it.
The home remedy way of treating rust is by pouring water mixed with lemon juice, then blotting away. This may take many tries, but eventually it will come off, provided it is fresh. For professional products, try Prochem Rust Remover, which is ready to use. However, if neither works, do not hesitate to call professional carpet cleaners.