The holidays are definitely different this year. And while we may miss large get-togethers with friends and family, we must be safe. For many of us, that means more eating at home with immediate family or huddled around a screen for a virtual event.
It also means more drips, drops, and spills on your carpet and upholstery. To help keep these from becoming permanent stains, it is important to make sure you have the supplies on hand to easily treat accidents.
A carpet cleaning toolkit only requires a few items, but each is important. The good news is that you probably already have some or all of this on hand. The printable PDF to the right describes what you need. If you haven’t assembled your kit yet, focus on making sure you at least have these key components for carpet and upholstery cleaning:
- Small bottle of dishwashing liquid
- Small bottle of white vinegar
- PLENTY of white cotton towels or rolls of white paper towels
It’s essential to have plenty of either cotton towels or plain white paper towels. If you opt for paper towels, be absolutely sure they are plain white. The last thing you want is for dye in the paper towel to bleed onto your carpet or upholstery as you are trying to clean it. If you are using old cotton towels, you should test those to make sure they don’t bleed.
However, my preference is to have a dedicated supply of white cotton towels that are stored in a kit with small bottles of the cleaning supplies listed on the toolkit. The obvious reason for a dedicated kit is that it makes it easy to grab quickly when there is a spill. You don’t want to be hunting up supplies while a stain is sitting.
I like white cotton towels as they are reusable and can be bleached. A clean white towel makes it easier to see how much of the stain is being removed as you are blotting it. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are trying to soak up red wine with a red towel, and therefore can’t see what progress you are making. In that situation, you can actually cause the stain to spread by blotting with a section of towel that already has wine on it.
Outside of the towels, make sure you have a gentle dishwashing liquid. You want the type you use to handwash dishes in your sink, not the type you add to a dishwashing machine. You also do not want to use a fabric detergent like you would put into a washing machine for clothes. Lastly, make sure you have plain white vinegar. You don’t want balsamic or red wine vinegar for obvious reasons.
Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution
- 1/4 teaspoon of a mild liquid dishwashing detergent
- l cup of warm water
- Note: do not use laundry or automatic dishwashing detergent as they can contain agents that can harm carpet dyes and fibers
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 2 cups of water
How to Remove Carpet Stains
To begin, combine the liquid dishwashing detergent with warm water and start at the outside following these steps:
- Blot with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white paper towel.
- Apply a very small amount of the detergent solution to a white cloth and blot, working from the edges of the stain to the center to prevent spreading.
- Continue to blot until all the stain is transferred to the cloth.
- Apply a small amount of the neutralizing solution mix to the area to lower the alkalinity of the detergent.
- Rinse the area with cold water and blot dry with clean white cloth.
The key to dealing with a spill, such as wine, is to blot (never rub!) and work from the perimeter toward the center. Resist the urge to scrub and simply blot until all the stain is transferred to the cloth.
Once that is done, you want to treat the area with the neutralizing solution using a clean cloth and then rinse with cold water. This lowers the alkalinity of the detergent and helps get your carpet back to its natural state.
The last step is to use clean towels to remove any excess moisture by applying pressure. Simply press down and let the towel pull the moisture from the carpet. Once the towel is damp, start with a new dry one. (Now you know why I stressed PLENTY of towels above!) One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to simply stand on the towel and let gravity do the work.
My tip is to make sure you print out the PDF above and keep it in the kit. That way, when there is a spill, you can hand the kit to someone else and tell them to just follow the directions while you find a quiet corner to relax!
And, as always, if you have a spill that doesn’t come out completely, call us at (513) 777-8770 to schedule a free, no-obligation estimate.
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.