At-Home Spot Removal Tips

Spot Cleaning Guide

This guide is intended for small spots/spills on SYNTHETIC carpet and upholstery only!

Removing spots from carpet can be simple or tedious depending upon the spot and how long it has been on the carpet. At times multiple applications of the spot removal solution, or a second solution is required. Listed below is a general spot removal procedure. If the origin of the spot is unknown, begin with step 1. If the origin of the spot is known begin at the appropriate step. Never use a circular motion to remove a spot as this destroys texture. To prevent wicking up of deep spills and embedded dry soils, the final step should always be to rinse with clear water and extracted with a Wet/Dry (Shop Vacuum) blot dry and put a white cotton terry cloth towel over the damp area. Put a brick, or suitable weight object on the towel to keep the towel in contact with the carpet. This allows any stain wicking up from the backing to go into the towels rather than remain on the carpet surface. Allow to dry, remove the brick and towels and brush up the pile.

Be certain to try, on an inconspicuous area of your carpet, any solutions you plan to use as it may affect color or texture. Do not use if color in the test area marks off on a white paper towel.

Some products to have available to remove spots:

  • White terry cloth towels or white paper towels
  • Wet/Dry Shop Vac
  • Non-Bleach Tide (or similar) Powdered Laundry Detergent
  • Spray bottle for apply detergents and solutions
  • Household Ammonia, White Vinegar, Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Spoon or Dull Knife
  • Brick or Heavy Book

General Procedure for Carpeting

Unknown and greasy spots:

Step 1: Remove as much of the foreign material as possible by blotting with a white paper towel or scraping with a dull knife. Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol or a dry cleaning solvent to a clean white cloth, white paper towel or cotton ball. If the spot extends deep into the pile use a blotting motion until the spot is removed or no color is transferred to the cloth. Do not allow the solvent to penetrate into the backing, as this will destroy the latex bond. If the spot is on the surface only, rub in one direction at a time. Never use a circular motion to remove spot as this may destroy die texture. Stop if spot is removed. If not, go to step 3.

 

Water based spots:


Step 2:
 Blot up as much of the spill as is possible. A wet/dry vacuum is useful if a large quantity of liquid was spilled. If spot has dried, saturate the tufts in the affected area with tap water (do not over wet). Allow to remain for about 1 minute and blot. If the spot is being removed using just water then continue until the spot is completely removed. Blot dry and apply the towels and brick. If it is not completely removed go to step 3.

Step 3: Remove as much of the foreign material as possible by blotting with a white towel or scraping with a dull knife. Apply a small quantity of detergent* solution to the spot. Use a blotting motion to work the detergent into the affected area. If spot is being removed continue applying detergent and rinse with a shop vac or blot with a white towel until spot is removed. Rinse with tap water using a spray bottle and shop vac, blot to remove excess moisture,  apply pad of paper towels and brick and allow to dry. If there is still some stain on the carpet and blotting is not removing it, then moisten the tufts in the stained area with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let stand for one (1) hour. Blot and repeat until carpet is stain free. Light will cause peroxide to change back to water so no rinsing is necessary. Apply pad of paper towels and weigh it down with a brick or heavy book.

*To make a detergent solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon of Non Bleach Tide (or similar) powdered laundry detergent, with 1 quart of water, or  use approved carpet Spot Out available at Sani-Bright.

Some spots require specialized treatments.

A. Blood, ketchup, cheese, chocolate, cough syrup, mixed drinks, soft drinks, soy sauce, starch, toothpaste, watercolor and white glue.

For large spills use a Wet/Dry vacuum (or Shop-Vac) to extract the bulk of the spill if just a small amount was spilled blot with white towel to remove as much of the stain as possible then neutralize with a solution of 1 tablespoon of clear household ammonia to 1/2 cup of water. Saturate spot using spray bottle. Do not wet backing. Rinse with shop vac or blot with a white towel to remove excess moisture. After neutralizing, begin with step 3 of general procedure. All solutions for removing blood must be cool. If any discoloration persists after area is dry try misting with undiluted 3% Hydrogen Peroxide ( $1.99 brown bottle from the drug store) once a day for a few days to see if the stain lightens.

B. Beer, coffee, perfume, tea and wine.

For large spills use a wet/dry vacuum (or Shop-Vac) to extract the bulk of the spill. If just a small amount was spilled, blot with a white towel to remove as much of the stain as possible, then neutralize with a solution of 1/3 cup of white vinegar, 2/3 cup of water. Saturate spot, using a spray bottle and blot to remove excess moisture. After neutralizing, go to step 3 of general procedure. If any discoloration persists after area is dry try misting with undiluted 3% Hydrogen Peroxide ( $1.99 brown bottle from the drug store) once a day for a few days to see if the stain lightens.

C. Egg, excrement, urine and vomit.

Remove as much of the stain as possible by using a spoon or dull knife then  with a white cotton towel blot up as much liquid as you can being careful to not scrub too hard and distort the texture. Proceed with Step 3 (above) then neutralize by spraying the affected area with an Vinegar (1/3rd white vinegar to 2/3rds water) solution. Care should be taken to remove all protein matter. Blot to remove excess moisture and go to step 3 of general procedure. If any discoloration persists after area is dry try misting with undiluted 3% Hydrogen Peroxide ( $1.99 brown bottle from the drug store) once a day for a few days to see if the stain lightens.

D. Candle wax or other types of wax.

Spread a wrung out, wet/damp cotton towel over the area over the area and iron with the setting on warm. The wax will be absorbed into the towel. Remove any traces with alcohol or dry cleaning fluid. DO NOT use an iron on carpets with Olefin fibers. Olefin is a fairly raw oil base byproduct and it is very easy to melt or distort with heat or friction. Please call Sani-Bright for assistance.

E. Chewing gum.

Freeze the gum using an ice cube. Shatter the frozen gum with a knife handle and vacuum. Some citrus based products such as De-Solv-It® by Orange-Sol have been demonstrated to break down the stickiness of gum so that it can be removed.

F. Mud.

Allow mud to dry completely. Shatter the dried mud with the handle of a knife and vacuum. Go to step 3 of general procedure.

G. Rust.

Saturate spot with lemon juice, using a spray bottle, and allow to remain for 5 minutes. Go to step 3 of general procedure to remove lemon juice. If this does not work, and it may not, call Sani-Bright. Most rust removers contain a very strong acid and are, therefore, not recommended for use by homeowners.

H. Nail Polish.

Remove as much of the nail polish as possible using a spoon or dull knife. Apply a non-oily nail polish remover to a clean white cloth and gently rub (in only one direction at a time) or blot the spot. Continue until spot is removed. Do not allow nail polish remover to get to the latex backing. Go to step 3 to remove nail polish remover.

I. Soot, graphite, copier material.

Vacuum using crevice tool of vacuum cleaner to remove the soot. If all, or most, of the soot has not been removed, call Sani-Bright. If vacuuming has removed all particles go to step 1 of general procedure to remove any traces.

Stains That Can’t Be Removed

Acid toilet bowl cleaners, acne medication, alkaline drain cleaners, chlorinated bleaches, hair dyes, iodine, insecticides, mustard with turmeric, plant fertilizers and stains of this nature cannot be removed as they have permanently altered the carpet’s color.

If you have tried these procedures and have not had any luck removing the spot/spill please call Sani-Bright at 317-334-1900. Avoid the temptation to use over-the-counter products (Folex, Resolve, Woolite, etc.) as these products can set the stain, making a professional’s chances of removing the spot/spill much less likely.

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