Despite your best efforts at cleanliness, your carpet will eventually become the victim of drops, spills, accidents, and whatever’s on the bottom of your shoes. To learn how professionals handle problem areas and keep carpets looking new, we spoke with cleaning expert Mick Butler, the owner of Best Carpet-Clean.ie in Dublin, Ireland, who has more than 15 years of experience.
Dab stains with a cleaning solution and a clean cloth, paper towels, or a sponge. “The key is blotting. Blotting puts a small amount of pressure on the stain to soak it up,” Mick says. “Rubbing causes the particles to get ground into the carpet fibers, and this can lead to the premature breakdown of those fibers.” Always blot from the outside of the stain inward, as blotting outward can spread the stain.
Mick Butler says the best carpet cleaner for general stains is ordinary shaving cream — “It will remove just about every type of stain.” Apply the shaving cream directly to the stain and let it set for about 30 minutes, Mick says. Once the shaving cream has set, blot it away with a dry white cloth. Finish by spraying the area with one part vinegar mixed with one part water, then wiping away the solution with a cloth.
The best method against difficult-to-clean grease stains is to use a drop or two of a grease-cutting dishwashing detergent, such as Joy and the like, in a cup of water. It’ll cut through the grease in the carpet just the way it does on your dishes. “Put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on the stain,” Mick says. “Then blot it up.” Again, you may need to do this multiple times for larger stains.
Burning candles in the house can result in wax dripping onto the carpet, where it quickly dries and gets embedded. Mick Butler recommends heating it back up to remove it. Place a white cloth over your iron, then put the iron on top of the wax to warm it up. Finally, scrape off the wax with a butter knife.
“When you are done doing that, lay a paper towel over the surface area and iron on the paper,” Mick said. “The wax is melting and binds to the paper, and the wax will be gone after a few more applications.”
Important note: Don’t use the iron this way for more than 30 seconds or you risk burning the carpet. And be sure to use a white cloth and white towels since colored ones can transfer the color onto the carpet when heated up, especially if you have a light-colored carpet.
You step in chewing gum out on the street but don’t realize it until you tracked that gross, sticky mess onto your carpet. To get it out, head to the freezer and grab a couple of ice cubes. “Freeze the gum with ice cubes for about 30 seconds.” Mick said. Once the gum is frozen solid, use a spoon to lift up the glob and cut the strands of carpet as close to the gum as possible. If you cut only a small amount of carpet, the spot shouldn’t be noticeable.
Cleaning the carpet is essential to keeping it looking fresh and new. Deep-cleaning your carpet can offer benefits including getting rid of dust mites and allergens. Not to mention dirt. Another way is Washing your Carpet to get Clean.