Spilling food, liquid, or any other hard-to-remove substance on your carpet can feel like a disaster. When it comes to keeping your carpet clean, it can be hard to catch every stain right as it happens and treat it with care. Even if you are lucky enough to be able to do a good amount of damage control, odors and other unpleasant residues can result from an improperly or less-thoroughly cleaned stain. However, there are a few tips you can use at home that will minimalize a stain’s damage to your carpet and stop odors in their tracks. If you’re looking to get odor out of carpets or get that new, fresh carpet look, follow these few steps to keep your carpet clean and pristine.
1. Blot and Rinse
If you’re lucky enough to notice a stain right after it happens, a careful blot with a damp paper towel will usually do the job. However, many of us simply aren’t lucky enough to catch stains right when they first appear. If you have small children, own pets, or even if your carpet gets a lot of foot traffic, chances are stains will tend to pop up where you least expect them. For stains of any kind and any age, blotting is still the first and best way to go. Using a damp paper towel or sponge to soak up the offending material is a great way to reduce damage and minimize the potential for odor.
If you’re dealing with a thicker, quickly-congealing material, such as acrylic paint or chocolate, always be sure to scrape off as much of the material as possible before blotting to maximize efficiency. With tougher stains that have already penetrated deep into the carpet fibers, applying steam heat is a great way to bring residue up to the surface. Before blotting, run a hot iron over the area. Be sure to place a piece of cloth in between the iron and the carpet. This will minimize damage to your rug. After you’ve blotted the area and left a sponge or paper towel on it overnight, return in the morning and carefully rinse the area to remove any extra residue. Just don’t use too much water.
2. Don’t Use a Ton of Product
When it comes to carpet cleaning, a little cleaning product goes a long way. Certain household items like baking soda and white vinegar can be extremely effective for blotting out stains and soaking up odors. However, using too much of these materials, as well as any other household cleaners or bleach products you might have on hand, can cause a whole new set of issues. Even if you’re using something that requires minimal cleanup effort, like club soda or seltzer, you want to be careful to keep your carpet as dry as possible to avoid further issues. Using a dry or powdered cleaning agent like baking soda can be a great way to keep your carpet dry, but it can also produce a sticky, unwanted residue if overused. When sprinkling powder on the stain, make sure it doesn’t get everywhere. For best results, try to use only a small amount of product per stain, and do you best to confine the product to the stained area.
3. Dry the Area Carefully
Stains are a nuisance to clean, and even more of a nuisance to remove from your carpet in a way that doesn’t end up damaging it further. Although it might feel intuitive to apply a generous amount of cleaning substance and water to a stained area, it’s always important to treat a stain while keeping the carpet itself as dry as possible. Ensure the carpet is dry. If it isn’t, it’s extremely susceptible to mold and other unpleasant after effects. This is something to pay special attention to if your carpet has constant contact with metal or wood furniture around your home, as a too-wet carpet area could end up producing rust, mold, or rot if left unchecked.
4. Visit a Professional
Sometimes the best thing you can do for your carpet is to take it to a professional cleaner. Even if you’ve been mostly successful at removing stains when they appear and keeping your rug dry and free from further damage, taking it to a professional, trusted cleaning service like Rainier Chem-Dry at least a few times a year will lead to healthier-looking and longer lasting carpet. Part of having a clean, elegant carpet is doing the required maintenance to keep its fibers odor-free and healthy.