When you first get a stain on your carpet, it can seem like a professional-grade disaster. Luckily, there are many do-it-yourself tips out there to help you can a handle on fresh stains (and even older ones) before they turn into a larger problem. Here are just a few helpful tips for dealing with carpet stains and odors in the home.
1. Never Rub, Always Blot
When a stain first occurs, your first response might be to frantically rub it with water or cleaning fluid. Unfortunately, rubbing the stain can often have the opposite effect, causing it to sink deeper into the carpet fibers and become much harder to remove. Instead of rubbing, try blotting the stain with quick, efficient motions, and be careful not to apply too much pressure. This will allow for a cleaning solution to soak up and penetrate as much as the stain as possible. This is especially important to remember with odor-causing stains.
2. Time is of the Essence
One of the best carpet cleaning tips is to keep timing in mind. Sometimes it’s not possible to clean a stain right after it occurs. However, if it is possible, make sure you attend to a stain instantly. The longer you wait, the more time the stain will have to penetrate your carpet, making it much harder to clean. This will also potentially give way to unpleasant odors caused by the stain. When possible, begin work on the stain within seconds of its first appearance for best results. If a stain has been around for a while and you’ve just noticed it, you might save yourself some time by taking it to be professionally cleaned, especially if you notice any odors being emitted from the stain.
3. Use Carbonated Liquid
When cleaning carpet stains, using a specific, targeted stain remover or cleaner is always best. For deeper, older stains, it can be best to hire a professional like Veteran’s Chem-Dry to get the job done, especially with carpets made of more sensitive material. However, if you’re in a pinch, always remember to apply carbonated, sugar-free water like seltzer or club soda to the stained area and begin blotting it out. This will stop the damage from getting worse. Household white vinegar can also prove effective when paired with carbonated liquids.
4. Use the Correct Water Temperature
When a stain first occurs, it might feel instinctual to throw some hot water on it and let it set. However, with specific liquids that are thicker or have the potential to cause odors, this can be more harmful than helpful in the long run. With bloodstains, for instance, it’s always best to use cold water to blot the stain rather than hot water. The heat from the water can sometimes trap bacteria in and drive it further down into the carpet material. If you’re unsure about a stain, err on the side of caution and treat it with cold water only.