Pets, kids, red wine, food, general grime…there’s a never-ending list of things that can – and will – stain a carpet. No matter how hard you try, accidents will happen, but did you know the majority of people don’t know how to stop a stain getting worse? What do you do when you spill a drink? Chances are it’s one of the things that could actually make a stain worse! Here are the top 5 mistakes that everyone makes when disaster strikes…
1) It seems simple enough, but a lot of people aren’t fast-acting when it comes to stain removal and prevention. The first thing to do is carefully blot with a paper towel or a clean cloth to remove any excess liquid or solid dirt from the surface. Don’t rub the spill or stain at all! It may be instinctive, but rubbing at a spill is likely to make the liquid or dirt penetrate deeper into the fibres of the carpet, creating an even tougher, deeper and harder-to-remove stain.
2) Next up is to use another clean cloth or paper towel for yet more blotting. This time make sure to use lukewarm water along with the careful blotting motions. A lot of people would use boiling water in order to lift the stain, which makes sense when considering the use of heat in cleaning products like steam or carpet cleaners. The problem with boiling water is that it’s more than likely to actually set the stain as opposed to helping remove it. Heat is great for killing germs, but using lukewarm water to blot the spill is going to work to lift the stain instead of solidifying it into the carpet.
3) It’s important not to water-log your carpet. You may think that the more water the better, but using too much water when blotting can lead to the stain spreading or even cause damage to the underlay of the carpet. Take your time with the damp cloth and blotting, it may take a while, but rushing isn’t going to help lift the stain!
4) If your carpet still isn’t looking its best, it may be worth adding a couple of drops of carpet cleaner, stain remover or even washing-up liquid. The product you should use is dependent on the stain, so make sure you know what you’re doing for the best results! You may think that dousing the carpet in the cleaner will suffice, but the best approach to take is slow and steady. Add a couple of drops of your chosen cleanser to a bowl of lukewarm water and continue to blot the stain. Make sure to remove all traces of products with yet more blotting before leaving the stain to dry.
5) Don’t trust the old wives’ tales! When spills occur and stains are likely to form, people are always more than ready to give their own advice. White wine, white vinegar and lemon juice are all examples of things you might have heard have the potential for stain removal. With the myriad of complex fibres in your carpet as well as the complexity of your spilled beverages and food, it’s impossible to trust these old wives’ tales of stain removal. Opt for a carpet cleaner or stain-removing product designed specifically for that purpose so as to avoid making a stain worse or causing damage to your flooring– don’t rely on hearsay!