Types of Carpet Stains and How to Remove Them (Dos & Don’ts)
As a carpet owner, you understand that maintenance isn’t always easy. But it’s worth keeping your carpet clean to avoid excessive replacement costs or triggering allergic reactions. A source of stress for many carpet owners is carpet stains.
Carpet stains come in many forms, from drink drops to dirt smears. Owning a pet or having guests over regularly increases the chances of stains appearing on your carpet. To keep your carpet clean, you must understand how different materials react to stains.
This article will educate you on the different types of stains and how to remove them. Follow along to learn best practices to clean carpet stains depending on the material and what caused the stain.
5 Common Types of Carpet Stains
Some stains are easier to clean than others. Knowing the different types of stains enables you to prepare for them better.
1. Food and drink stains
Homeowners with carpet flooring understand these stains are inevitable. Most dry food won’t leave stains; you can easily scrape them off with a dull knife. However, sauces, gravy, and drinks can make a noticeable mark.
Not all drink stains are alike either. Coffee leaves behind dark brown marks, while juice or soda leaves stickier stains. Sweet food can also attract ants and other pests if it remains unattended
2. Pet stains
After outdoor walks, pets can leave dirt tracks and contaminants on your carpet. Untrained animals can also leave urine stains. These stains come with a strong odor, requiring professional deep cleaning for complete removal.
3. Grease and oil stains
Grease and oil, due to their differing molecular structures, don’t blend easily. It makes water ineffective in cleaning oil stains. While these stains usually come from food, such as salad dressing or gravy, they can also arise from substances like lipsticks (containing oil) or accidental contact with gasoline.
The components of these substances stick to one another. Leaving them on for too long will allow them to develop a noticeably dark appearance.
4. Mud and dirt stains
Without a proper doormat, your shoes’ soles can leave obvious dirt and mud marks. Regular foot traffic can push these deeper into the carpet fibers, complicating their removal. These marks can introduce household contaminants because of the organic materials in soil and mud.
5. Ink stains
Ink leaves highly visible stains that require diligent cleaning. The wrong method can easily spread the ink because of its liquid form, worsening the problem.
The difficulty of cleaning carpet stains is not only determined by the type of stain but also by the material of the carpet itself. Different carpet materials can affect how substances create stains on the carpet. Hence, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different carpet materials.
Different Carpet Materials and Cleaning Methods
Some carpets are more delicate than others; inappropriate cleaning methods can damage the carpet and leave a longer-lasting, potentially permanent mark. You should know two broad categories of carpet materials: synthetic and natural fibers.
The most common synthetic carpet fibers are polypropylene, polyester, olefin, and nylon. These carpets are designed by manufacturers with maintenance and durability in mind. However, they have specific requirements in cases of stains, such as the following:
- Polypropylene and polyester: Washing these with a hose should suffice since the material is stain-resistant and can withstand extreme weather.
- Olefin: Olefin’s hydrophobic nature makes dry cleaning the best approach. You may choose to purchase a powder carpet cleaner, and then follow the instructions for using it. Alternatively, you may also sprinkle a mixture of baking soda and essential oils, lightly scrubbing the fibers with a toothbrush to tackle stains. In more stubborn cases, limited use of bleach is an option.
- Nylon: While this material can often resist stains, dabbing a mixture of dish soap and lukewarm water should be enough to keep it clean.
Natural fiber carpets often feature cotton, wool, jute, or sisal materials. These materials are delicate, prone to staining, and incompatible with liquids. When making DIY cleaners using vinegar or detergent and lukewarm water, use spray bottles for application. Direct pouring of these mixtures onto the carpet can cause damage.
Since natural fibers are so diverse, observe these fiber-specific cleaning tips to remove carpet stains effectively:
- Cotton: Gently spray the stain with a mixture of water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid. Dab the stain repeatedly and quickly before it sets.
- Wool: When substances penetrate wool’s protective lanolin barrier, removing them becomes challenging. Swift cleaning is key. Dab stains with cold water for quick removal. Use a fan or a blow dryer to ensure rapid drying and prevent unpleasant odors.
- Jute: Avoid using too much water while cleaning jute carpets since it can cause the fibers to swell. Sprinkle cornstarch on the fresh stain before using a vacuum cleaner to remove it.
- Sisal: In case of a spill, blot it immediately with a clean cloth and a mixture of mild soap, vinegar, and lukewarm water. Immediately after blotting the stain away, dry the area with a blow dryer.
Before you begin cleaning your carpet, you should remember these fundamental cleaning practices.
How to Remove Stains from a Carpet: Top 4 Dos and Don’ts
The right carpet cleaning method won’t be as effective if you fail to follow the dos and don’ts of removing carpet stains.
Practice these the next time someone spills their drink on your carpet.
1. Act fast
The longer you delay cleaning the stain, the harder it will be to remove it. A tip is to place cleaning materials in accessible locations near the carpet so you can address stains swiftly.
2. Blot, don’t rub
Rubbing spreads the stain, embedding it deeper into the fibers. Instead, blot and dab the stain with a clean, absorbent cloth.
3. Deep clean quarterly
A deep carpet cleaning session every two to three months will help ensure your carpet remains as clean as possible.
4. Vacuum before cleaning
Miniscule pieces of dirt accumulate on your carpet and can worsen stains. Removing them with a vacuum cleaner before addressing the stain itself is best.
Improper carpet care can lead to lasting damage that tarnishes its appearance. Do your best to avoid these carpet cleaning practices.
1. Don’t use cleaning solutions without testing it
Regardless if you bought your cleaning solution at the store or made it at home, place a small amount in an inconspicuous part of the carpet to test it out. Once you notice it doesn’t cause adverse effects, you can only use it to blot out stains.
2. Don’t use bleach on surface-dyed carpets
Visit any carpet showroom today, and you’ll find carpet experts emphasizing the importance of avoiding bleach on colored carpets. This advice holds particularly true, as the impact of bleach varies depending on whether the carpet’s yarn is surface-dyed or solution-dyed.
For surface-dyed carpets, the use of bleach can lead to bleeding and result in unwanted color changes, while for both types, it can leave a near-permanent cream-colored stain. So, when it comes to maintaining your colored carpets, steer clear of bleach to preserve their vibrant appearance.
3. Don’t use regular water
Wool and cotton carpets absorb water easily, making stain removal difficult. Instead, a mixture of vinegar and water will typically suffice.
4. Don’t do it all on your own
Trial and error can damage your carpet even more when you aren’t sure about the appropriate cleaning method. If you want to ensure your carpet is as clean as possible, we recommend bringing your carpet to a store that offers professional cleaning services.
Prevent the Pain of Carpet Stains
Carpet stains spoil any interior design aesthetic. It can force you to replace your carpet, which will cost you. Dirty carpets can also aggravate health conditions such as asthma. Maintaining a clean carpet is fundamental to being a responsible carpet owner.
Looking for expert carpet cleaning services? Visit Eurocare, our carpet cleaning services, specializing in keeping your carpets spotless and fresh.
To spare yourself the inconvenience of regular blotting and cleaning, consider ordering durable carpets online. Eurobel Rugs + Carpets, a premium rugs and carpets provider in the Philippines, offers carpets made from polypropylene and polyester. These materials are robust and can be cleaned effectively using appropriate methods and best practices.
Contact us today to learn more!