How to Clean Your House: How to Remove Stains from Carpets & Floors
The cold weather brings with it many great opportunities. Winter months are a time for important holiday celebrations. Cold temperatures keep the family in the house struggling to stay entertained. Snow and ice outside often leads to salt, sand, and mud on the inside. But the floors in your home need not pay the cost of the winter season. Whether it is a carpet stain from a New Year’s Eve drop or water spots on the hardwood floor, these suggestions for how to remove carpet stains and how to remove stains from hardwood floors will be sure to have your home as clean as a fresh blanket of snow.
Follow these easy steps to make your carpet stain merely a spot in history. According to the carpet experts at This Old House, the first step in carpet stain removal is to remove any excess liquid on the stain. You want to take a dry, clean cloth and blot up the spot. (You can lay the cloth atop the spot and stand on it if you are careful not to shift the cloth.) YOU DO NOT WANT TO SCRUB THE SPOT! This will only spread the stain and could damage the integrity of your carpet. Try to blot the excess liquid up as quickly as possible so that you can minimize the size of the stain and so that the stain does not seep into the carpet pad. The next step to carpet stain removal is to identify the source of the discoloration. The carpet experts at Stainmaster argue that each type of stain should not be treated equally.
Food and Drink Stains
Food and drinks are the most common carpet stains. Knowing how to remove this carpet stain can prevent you from having to cry over spilled milk, soda, or wine. After the excess liquid blotted up, you can apply an easily homemade cleaning agent (1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with 1 cup of water) to the spot. You should use warm water in the solution. Leave on the stain for about 5 minutes so that the detergent can break up the stain. Blot up the liquid with a clean, dry cloth. (Do not use the same cloth that you blotted up the excess liquid so that you are sure you are not contaminating the carpet again.) You can use cold water to rinse up any excess detergent. Be sure that you are blotting and not scrubbing. Once the stain is gone you can use a solution (2 tablespoons of white vinegar with 4 cups of warm water) to protect the carpet. This will make sure that all of the detergent is removed and the carpet is back to perfect. (Any lingering detergent will allow dirt and debris to cling to the carpet and will discolor the carpet.) Rinse with cold water and then blot up the remaining debris. For highly trafficked areas, you can set a glass baking dish on a clean, dry towel while drying to absorb excess water.
Oil and Grease Stains
Oil and grease can make for difficult carpet stain removal if you do not know how to remove carpet stains. You want to begin by blotting up any extra oil or grease with a dry, clean cloth as with any spot. You next want to use a non-flammable, solvent-based cleaner or spot remover (which can be purchased at most grocery or hardware stores). Test out your preferred cleaner on an inconspicuous spot, perhaps under a large piece of furniture to make sure that your chosen cleaner does not damage your particular carpet. (If you are unsure which carpet cleaner to purchase, you can call a commercial cleaning service for a recommendation or look up manufacturing recommendations for your brand of carpet.) You might need to soak, rinse, and blot with this cleaner several times. After you have used the commercial cleaner, you can use the same homemade solutions as described in how to remove carpet stains for food and drinks. (Treat those two steps as steps 3 and 4 for oil and grease stains.) This should have the carpet stain removed without too much stress or difficulty.
Dirt and Mud
This is another common carpet stain. This one is a bit unique from the others. This is the only carpet stain that you can allow to dry a bit so that you can use a vacuum to clean up the debris. Once the large bits are cleaned you can use the pair of cleaning agents described in the how to clean carpet stains for food and drinks section.
Pet stains can be the trickiest to remove from carpets because they often contain strong odors which can linger. These are the most important stains to get blotted as quickly as possible. If these smells get to the carpet pad under the carpet, then you will likely have to have your carpets professionally shampooed. If you are able to get to the stain quickly, you will likely be able to handle this carpet stain removal. After you have blotted up and removed excess liquid, you will want to vacuum up any debris on the sight. Next, you will want to use the two solutions (detergent solution and white vinegar solution) as they are described in how to remove carpet stains for food and drink. After following these steps, you may need to use a commercial cleaning agent that is specially designed for removing animal wastes on carpets. (These products can be purchased at most grocery, hardware, and pet stores. Ask for a recommendation from a vet or animal expert at the pet store.) Remember, you are not just removing discoloration with this stain, you want to remove the odor as well.
These stains are likely superficial, only in the waxy level of the hardwood floors, and are easy to clean. You can place a clean, dry cloth over the spot and run a hot iron (without steam) over the cloth. You can use a fine steel wool pad and a generous amount of lemon oil scrubbed over the white stain. Or you can use a denatured alcohol agent (available at most hardware stores) and a damp cloth on the stain for a couple of seconds. One of these cleaning methods is likely to work in your hardwood floor stain removal.
These can be a bit more difficult stains to remove from your hardware flooring as these are stains that have soaked into the finish of the floor. Apart from sanding and refinishing this section of your hardwood floors, your best bet for hardwood floor stain removal is to dip a small brush into bleach and rub into the floors. You may need to repeat this action several times before letting this stain dry.
Stains Caused by Other Products
For stains caused by other products, you want to treat the nature of the stain. For hardwood floor stain removal caused by greasy agents, you want to scrub the area with a cloth dipped in cold water with a small amount of ammonia. For hardwood floor stain removal caused by non-greasy agents (such as nail polish or paint), you want to scrub the area with the dish detergent solution described in the how to remove carpet stains for food and drinks section. These solutions (used for the appropriate stain source) should have your floors sparkling like new.
The key to keeping your flooring in pristine condition is to keep it clean and get to any stains as soon as possible. Because the winter months can be such a stressful and busy time for you, this may be the time to consider a commercial cleaning service. Having your floors cleaned can make it easier to spot any dangerous stains, prevent salts and other damaging debris from accumulating, and offer a second pair of eyes in protecting your flooring. You are going to be spending more time inside during the winter months…you just make sure that your house is something that you can enjoy.
If you need professional carpet cleaning services, feel free to contact EHC.