In a recent post we laid out some vacuuming basics.  While vacuuming is a critical step in carpet maintenance, it's not going to do much for spills and stains.If you find yourself in a panic, standing over muddy footprints or spilt soda, here are some helpful tips from The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI):Step 1 - Absorb
  • Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or plain white paper towels (no prints or colors). Use of a printed or colored material may transfer ink or dye to your damp carpet.
  • Start at the outside of the spot and continue toward the center to prevent the stain from spreading.  Continue step one until the area is barely damp. Semisolids, like food spills, may need to be scooped up with a spoon. Solid, dried bits can be vacuumed up. Warning: do not scrub or use a brush.
Step 2 - Treat
  • Use a CRI Seal of Approval carpet cleaning product.  Though these have been laboratory tested, you should still pretest any cleaner on a scrap of carpet or in a hidden area of your carpet.
  • Follow the product’s directions carefully.  Apply a small amount of the cleaner to a white cloth and work in gently, from the edges to the center.  Blot; don’t scrub.  Never use a brush.  You may need to do this several times to remove the spot.
Don't have a cleaner on hand? Here are CRI recommends the following homemade remedies:
  • Use plain water. Surprisingly, water often works better than untested carpet cleaners do.
  • Use a detergent solution.  Mix 1/4 teaspoon of a clear (nonbleach, nonlanolin) dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water.  Never use laundry detergent; it may contain bleach or simply be too harsh.
  • Use a white vinegar solution.  Mix one cup white (not red wine or cider) vinegar with 1 cup of water.  White vinegar (5 percent acetic acid) is sometimes effective on tannins (weak vegetable dyes found in tea and coffee), and it leaves no residue.  However, be careful because acids can set some other dye stains.
Remember, acting quickly is your best chance of avoiding a permanent stain!For more helpful carpet cleaning information and tips, visit http://www.carpet-rug.org. Source: CRI###