How to Spot Clean Carpet Stains

Spot cleaning a carpet is an easy way to keep your carpet looking great.
Written by Cheryl Knight
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
If you spill something on your
or want to remove a stain already on it, you can spot clean as opposed to
steam cleaning
the whole carpet. Spot cleaning allows you to easily and quickly remove stains and spills from the surface of your carpet. Not all stains are the same, and different types of stains require different methods for removal.

How to spot clean new spills

Materials Needed
  • Clean white clothes or paper towels
  • Spray bottle (containing cold water)
The best time to remove a spill is right after it first happens. When first spilled, liquids have to set in for a stain to develop. By cleaning up the spill right after it happens, you can more easily remove it and protect your carpet. Here's how to clean up a new spill before it can set in and form a stain.
Step 1: Blot the spill area. Using a clean white cloth or paper towel, blot at the spill starting from the outside in.
This helps prevent the liquid from spreading, potentially making the stain bigger.
You can also blot a second time using a clean section of the cloth or paper towel.
Step 2: Spray on clean, cold water. Next, rinse the area using a spray bottle filled with clean, cold water, making sure to soak the area fully.
You can also pour clean, cold water over the area, but make sure not to oversaturate it.
Step 3: Blot the area again. Using a second clean, white towel, blot the area again to remove the water.
Keep dabbing at the spot until all of the water is removed.
Step 4: Allow the spot to dry. Finally, allow the area to dry completely before walking on it.
You can block off the area to prevent foot traffic while it is drying.

How to spot clean tougher stains

Materials Needed
  • Clean, white cloth or paper towel
  • Spray bottle
  • Vinegar
Older stains might have set into the fibers of the carpet, making them harder to remove. But with a little determination and the right ingredients, you can spot clean and remove these tougher stains as well. The section below gives the steps for removing tougher stains.
Step 1: Mix water and vinegar. Start by mixing clean, cold water with vinegar in a spray bottle.
Step 2: Spray the stain. Spray the stain with the vinegar and water mixture.
Make sure to totally soak the stain with the mixture.
Step 3: Allow it to sit. Allow the vinegar/water mixture to sit on the stain for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Blot the stain. Next, blot at the stain using a clean, white cloth or paper towel.
Apply pressure to the cloth using the palm of your hand.
Step 5: Continue blotting. If necessary, rinse the cloth and continue to blot.
You can also opt to use another clean, white cloth instead of the old one.
Step 6: Allow the area to dry. After you have completely removed the stain, allow the area to dry completely.
If necessary, block the area off using a chair or other object to keep anyone from walking on the spot while it dries.

How to spot clean ink stains

Materials Needed
  • Clean, white clothes or paper towels
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Clean, cold water
Ink stains
represent a very hard material to remove from a carpet; but it's not impossible. The following section describes how to easily remove an ink stain using little more than isopropyl alcohol, clean water, and a little effort.
Step 1: Test the carpet. Start by testing an inconspicuous area of the carpet to make sure the alcohol will not cause further damage to the carpet.
Step 2: Dampen the clean, white cloth. Next, dampen the clean, white cloth or paper towel with the alcohol.
Step 3: Dab the ink stain. Dab the ink stain using the saturated cloth.
Do not rub or scrub the ink stain, as that could cause it to spread further.
Step 4: Rinse with water. Finish by rinsing the area with water.
Blot up any water using another clean, white towel or paper towel.
Step 5: Allow it to dry. Once clean, allow the area to dry thoroughly.
Block off the area to keep anyone from walking on it until it's completely dry.
Removing stains is easy when you use the spot-cleaning methods presented above. The biggest thing to keep in mind while cleaning up stains is to blot and never rub or scrub. In addition, only use clean, white clothes or paper towels, as colored clothes and paper towels with dyes can transfer the color to the carpeting, making the stain worse.
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