Carpet cleaning tips to remove spots and stains

The most important step is to act quickly. Many spills can be removed when immediate action is taken. The longer you wait, the greater the chance the spill will become a permanent stain.

Step one: Absorb the spill

Blot liquids dry with a white, absorbent cloth or plain white paper towels.

Start at the outside of the spot and continue toward the center to prevent the stain from spreading. Blot until barely damp. Scoop up any semi-solids (like food spills) with a spoon. Solid, dried bits can be vacuumed up.

Step Two: Treat the spot or stain

Do not scrub the spot or stain. Scrubbing can damage the carpet. Follow with a Carpet & Rug Institute Approved carpet cleaning solution. Make sure to pretest on a hidden area of your carpet. Follow the product's directions carefully.

Typically 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.

If you don't have an approved carpet cleaner, try plain water or a mix of 1/4 teaspoon of clear (non-bleach) dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of warm water. Never use laundry detergent, as it may contain bleach or be too harsh.

Ayoub Carpet Service is located in Chantilly, Va. As of June 18, 2012, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.


Fast drying should be mentioned. Some stains will look clean even when there is still some of the staining substance deeper down in the fibers. This can migrate back to the surface more easily while the fibers are wet, so dry the area quickly to "lock the stain in" down below and out of sight. A fan blowing on the spot will help with this.

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