Carpets and mats are susceptible to stains, no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Whether it’s foot traffic dirt, red wine, coffee or crayon, eventually something will end up leaving its mark. The good news is, this mark doesn’t have to be permanent.
As a general rule, most marks and spills can be removed using three basic steps:
1. Regular Vacuuming
Vacuuming should be performed twice a week to maintain healthy carpets and mats. Be sure to pass over the same spot five to seven times when trying to remove marks.
2. Quick response time to spills
As soon as you notice a spill, blot with a cloth or paper towel to remove as much as possible. Then using a clean cloth, sponge the stain with a vinegar solution.
3. Periodic professional steam cleaning
Depending on the age and colour of your carpet or mat, steam cleaning should be performed every 12 to 24 months.
However, some spills and dirt can be stubborn and regular cleaning may not be enough.
Coffee is generally used as a tool to help wake us up in the morning, so sleepy heads are forgiven for the odd spill.
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Blot coffee to remove excess moisture.
Step 2: Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water.
Step 3: Sponge the stain then blot dry. Repeat until the stain disappears.
For those living by the beach, a lot of salt can get dragged through your car and home. Kids come home in wet swimmers, towels get slung on the floor, and nasty salt spots can appear.
To remove even the most stubborn of salt stains, try:
Step 1: Vacuum the stained area.
Step 2: Mix shampoo and warm water in a bucket and apply liberally, being careful not to push in the stain. Let it soak for two minutes.
Step 3: Blot dry and then vacuum once again.
Step 4: Mix half warm water and half white vinegar and apply to the stain. Using a soft brush, scrub gently then dry.
Heavy dirt stains brought in from work boots and runners have a habit of sticking around following a good vacuum. The best way to keep it out is to implement a ‘no-shoes-in-the-house’ rule or invest in a great de-grit mat. Carpet protection runners are suitable for both light and heavy foot traffic, and use specially designed patterns to scrape the dirt from shoes as they enter a doorway. Cleaning a grit mat is much easier than cleaning an entire carpet, but don’t forget to vacuum the back of the mat too. This will help loosen any hidden dirt.
If you do notice dirt on your floor, leave it until it dries completely before treating.
Step 1: Once dry, remove as much dirt as possible using the vacuum.
Step 2: Using your fingers or a scraper, gently pull up excess dirt, being careful not to squash it into the mat.
Step 3: Place a small squirt of lanolin or bleach-free dishwashing liquid into some water and dampening a cloth, dab the area gently. (You don’t want the dirt to get deeper into the carpet fibres, as this will make the stain harder to remove.) Continue blotting until stain is removed.
Step 4: Fill a spray bottle with water and mist over the stain. Place a tea towel over the top, and weigh it down with something heavy.
Step 5: If the stain is still visible, dampen a clean cloth with hydrogen peroxide. Dab stain and leave for one hour before repeating mist process.
Step 6: After 12 hours, fluff the carpet fibres with your fingers to help the drying process.
Small children and young pets can have accidents, and urine is a difficult stain to get out. Urine needs to be removed quickly, before the smell soaks into the fibres.
Step 1: Dampen a clean cloth with white vinegar and apply to stain.
Step 2: Sprinkle with baking soda.
Step 3: Leave mixture to absorb the stain, wipe with a damp cloth, and then vacuum.