Most of us can’t afford to call a professional carpet cleaner every time company is expected. When that spot just has to come out, the following tips might help. Remember to try these ideas on a hidden spot to make sure they don’t cause permanent damage! Be especially careful with any solution containing ammonia, which should never be used on a wool carpet. Vinegar can affect dark colors, so always test.
For oily spots:
Try mixing one tablespoon of mild detergent, one-third cup of white vinegar (not apple cider or fancy salad dressing vinegar), and two-thirds cup of water. Gently blot the stain with a clean towel dipped in the solution. Next, lay several layers of paper towels on the wet spot and press down to dry the carpet as much as possible. Then blot with plain water to remove the solution, and dry with paper towels a second time.
Another trick that may work on grease is to spread foaming shaving cream over the stain. Gently work it into the carpet, allow it to dry, and then vacuum the spot.
If the grease stain is brand new, try pouring baking soda over the area and rub it in. Give the baking soda about an hour to soak up the grease, and then vacuum.
For protein spots, such as blood, eggs, or milk:
Mix one cup of water, two tablespoons of ammonia and one tablespoon of mild detergent. Blot and dry as recommended above.
Protein spots are incredibly difficult to get out of carpets, so you may prefer to call in professional help.
For “mystery” spots:
Use one cup of warm water with a small squirt (about a quarter teaspoon) of dishwashing soap.
Any detergent or soap used on carpets should contain no bleach, and should be rinsed out of the carpet to avoid re-staining.
Use these tips with a lot of caution! You can sometimes remove red wine stains if you catch them quickly enough. Before the red wine has dried, pour white wine on the spot. This may stop the red wine from causing a permanent stain, but it’s also possible that it will simply make the stain bigger.
Another option for new red wine spills on carpet is to cover the area with salt to soak up the red wine, remove as much of the salt as possible, and then blot with club soda. Always rinse with clean water and blot dry with clean white paper towels.
Blot the stain with a solution made from a half teaspoon of mild detergent mixed in two cups of clean water. If that doesn’t work, mix up a batch of ½ cup of water and ½ cup of white vinegar.
If in doubt, always call in a professional carpet cleaner.