Before you use a cleaning product, test a small spot before applying it to the entire area to ensure that it won’t discolor your carpet. Also, check the carpet manufacturer’s recommendations.
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Wine, Juice, or Soda
Act quickly, gently blotting the liquid with a white cotton cloth. Mix 4 cups of water, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a quarter-cup of white vinegar, and apply using a clean sponge. Soak the area with the mixture, allowing 5 to 10 minutes for it to work on the stain. Blot again—don’t rub—with a clean cloth. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.
Apply a small amount of cold water to the stain as quickly as possible and blot with a white cotton cloth. Never use hot water because it will set a blood stain. Repeat until the stain is gone.
Remove the waste, then use an old spatula or butter knife or a spackle tool to carefully lift any residue from the carpet. Soak the area with a laundry stain remover or other product designed for pet stains according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Then use a clean wet sponge dampened with a combination of cold water and laundry detergent to blot the area.
Blot the urine with a white cotton cloth. Spray the area with one part white vinegar and one part water to neutralize the uric acid. Then mix a teaspoon of clear, mild, nonbleach laundry detergent into 4 cups of water and apply to the stain. Rinse with water, then press with a clean cloth over the area to absorb the water. Repeat these steps until the spot is gone.
Dip a clean white towel in 1 cup of cold water mixed with a quarter-teaspoon of laundry detergent. Blot the stain gently. Check to see whether the grass stain has transferred from the carpet to the towel. Blot and check until the stain is no longer visible, changing towels as needed to avoid restaining the carpet.
Let the mud dry completely or it may become much more difficult to remove. Once it has dried, slowly vacuum over the area in all directions to pick up loose dirt. Soak a white cotton cloth in 1 cup of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of dish soap, and apply. Then use a clean white cloth to blot the area. Repeat these steps until the stain is gone, changing clothes as needed to avoid restaining the carpet.
For a water-based or latex paint stain, if the spot is still wet, blot with a white cotton cloth dampened with warm water. (A white cotton cloth is best for removing stains to ensure no transfer of dye.) Repeat until the paint is gone. If the paint is dry, consider using a carpet cleaner to remove it.
Some greasy stains can be removed with a dab of mild dish detergent. Apply a small amount with a white cotton cloth, then blot dry. If that doesn’t remove the stain, use a cloth to apply a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent. (You can purchase it online.) Blot, then rinse. If residue remains, sprinkle baking soda onto the spot and vacuum once it appears that the baking soda has absorbed the stain.
Why you should use a stain remover
In order to know which stain removers work the best, we first have to know what they are up against. Stains are chemical reactions. Rather than resting on top of clothing and other fabrics, food, liquids and countless substances that stain actually bind to the surface of material fibers.
The naturally occurring elements in most food and drink are hardwired to bind and stick to objects on a molecular level. Sometimes clothes are stained by substances designed to stain and pigment, like inks and dyes, which also chemically bind.
Which substances cause stains?
Tannins are an organically occurring substance in nature. Tannins are astringents and makeup part of that bitter taste in wine or tea. It has the effect of either drying out one’s mouth or giving a mouth-puckering sensation. Food and drink such as berries, cocoa, wine, beer, tea, and coffee contain tannins.
When an oily substance hits fabric, the molecules bind to the surface material in the same way tannins do. However, because it is not water soluble (like the familiar cliche, “oil and water don’t mix”), a simple run through the washing machine won’t successfully break up the stain. Oil and fat-based stains like butter, olive oil, and grease can be especially stubborn on fabrics.
Why different stain removers exist
The purpose of a stain remover is to break up the chemical reaction that created a stain. Because stains occur in many shapes, sizes, colors, and compositions, there are numerous types of stain removers on the market. Each product contains multiple chemicals and even more combinations of these chemicals with the intent to treat the reactions that occur in a single spill. Different ingredients treat tannin, oil, protein, and dye-based stains.