Are you planning a dinner party and the only thing on your mind is “What if someone spills on my carpet?” Aside from recommending that you don’t serve red wine or coffee, here’s a simple guide for treating stains and maintaining carpets and upholstery.
Always clean up spills quickly to avoid staining. Start by removing any solid debris. Clean the spill using clean, cold water and blotting with white paper towels or cloths. Never scrub or brush the spill as it will damage fibers and possibly set the stain. Only if this method does not work should you move on to harsher treatments.
Regular vacuuming and spot treatment will improve the quality and life span of your carpets and upholstery.
Since chemicals are hard on the fibers of carpets and upholstery, you should always start with the weakest solution before moving on. Start with clean water and move onto a mild solution of liquid soap (never use laundry detergent) or an oxygen based cleaner which usually works well on organic stains (food, animal, blood) before using chemical spot removers.
Western Regional Pollution Prevention Network (WRPPN) cautions professional janitors and cleaners to avoid using chemicals as much as possible.
Carpet spot removal products are made with some of the most dangerous chemicals and should always be applied when wearing gloves and in an area with good ventilation.
Test the cleaning products for carpets or upholstery in a hidden spot to make certain it won’t stain. Place a white paper towel or cloth on the tested area to check for color transfer. If the cleaner is safe apply a small amount of spot removal product to a clean, white cloth and work your way from the OUTSIDE of the stain inwards. Keep at it only using a stronger solution when you are no longer getting results with water or mild detergent.
Upholstery stains can also be treated with a 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution that can be left on and dabbed. You do not need to rinse. Hydrogen Peroxide works equally well on vinyl furniture.
When the stain is removed rinse with clean water and blot the excess out. Replace towels when they are too wet to absorb anymore water. Be careful to avoid over wetting as it can also damage your carpet or cause mildew in your carpet or upholstered furniture.
Taking the time to treat spills before they’re stains will go a long way in keeping your carpets and upholstery looking as good as new!