What do I do when the inevitable spills and stains do happen?

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What do I do when the inevitable spills and stains do happen?

Your course of action depends upon the type of stain and the type of carpet you purchased. Manufacturers have their own specific instructions, and it is best to follow those. However, a typical set of procedures will provide the following general guidelines.

First of all, a few general tips: Remove stains as quickly as possible to ensure optimum success. Absorb wet spills by blotting-never rubbing or scrubbing-repeatedly with white paper or cloth towels. Work from the outer edge into the center of the stain to avoid spreading. Also rinse thoroughly with soap and water after applying any cleaner to your carpet. Avoid using any harsh chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.

For water-soluble stains, such as alcoholic beverages, milk, mustard, greasy food or latex paint:
Absorb as much of the stain as possible with white towels. If any of the stain remains, spray a solution of clear, mild liquid detergent and water onto the stain (use one-quarter teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water). For tougher stains, such as those caused by urine or coffee, use a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water before applying the detergent. For dried blood or wine, use a household solution of one tablespoon ammonia to one cup of water (except in the case of wool or wool-blend carpet) prior to the detergent. In all cases, rinse with clean water to remove the detergent residue.

For oil-based stains, such as crayon, ink, oil-based paint or auto grease:
Absorb as much as possible with white towels. Using protective gloves, apply an oil and grease spot remover for carpets to a paper towel and continue to blot. Do not pour or spray this product directly on the carpet, since it could cause damage. Repeat as necessary. Follow with the steps for water-soluble stains to completely remove the stain.

For such stains as chewing gum and candle wax:
Freeze the stain with ice or a commercially available product in an aeresol can. Shatter the ice with a blunt object and vacuum immediately. Follow this procedure with the oil and grease spot remover.

Many difficult stains – such as asphalt, coffee, grease, ink and urine – may require professional cleaning.