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Removing Stains from Rugs
Stain Removal Process | Stain Removal by Type | Home Made Stain Removers

Stain Removal Process

Since children, pets and accident-prone adults often are the biggest hazards to a rug, it’s good to know the best ways to promptly and safely remove all types of spills and stains.

Take these tips fromGood Housekeeping to keep your rugs looking great.

  1. Promptly blot liquid spills, scrape solid spills and vacuum dry spills. Many liquid spills can be completely removed with just blotting. Important tip: Never rub or scrub a stain and always move from the outer edges toward the middle.

  2. Before you use any solution on your carpet, test it on a hidden spot, like under a chair or in a corner. Apply several drops of solution to the carpet and blot with a white cloth for 10 seconds. If no color or fiber damage is apparent, it's safe to proceed.

  3. Apply the recommended cleaning solution to a cloth, then to the carpet or, if necessary, apply sparingly to the carpet. Work from the outside of the stain in, gently blotting and lifting the stain out with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing. Turn and change the cloth frequently.

  4. Next, spritz the area lightly with water to rinse. Avoid over wetting the carpet, because excess water will seep into the padding and can damage the carpet.

  5. Blot again with a clean cloth. Cover the stain with paper towels and weight them down with a heavy object. Leave overnight so the paper towels will absorb any remaining stain. Fluff up the pile and allow it to dry thoroughly.

  6. Repeat if necessary. Many stains take time to respond to a cleaning formula and may even need a second treatment.
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Stain Removal by Type

Different types of stains require different kinds of action.

Water-based stains

Water-based stains include: fruit juice, coffee, ketchup, urine, soft drinks, wine, chocolate, vomit, etc.

Generally accidents such as pet stains come out easier than oil-based stains and require a gentler treatment. Mix one quart of water with one teaspoon mild detergent and one teaspoon white vinegar. Immediately blot with a soft towel and do not saturate. Use a hair dryer to dry the cleaned area.

Oil-based stains

Oil-based stains include: lipstick, glue, wax, crayon, salad dressing, hair products, butter, shoe polish, etc.

First, do not use a cleaner containing silicone; this will weaken the rug’s fibers. Instead use a solvent spot cleaner or powder-based rug cleaner and carefully follow the directions on the label.

Other types of stains

Blood - Beginning with cold water is key to successful removal. Next apply the detergent and white vinegar solutions.

Gum - Put an ice cube on the gum for 15 minutes. Then gently scrape off with a knife.

Ink - Apply a little nail polish remover and then use a mild detergent solution.

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Homemade Stain Removers

Before trying any of these solutions, first spot test it on your carpet. These recipes were provided by Good Housekeeping.

Ammonia solution

Mix two tablespoons of non-sudsy household ammonia with one cup of water and pour into a spray bottle. Do not use this cleaning solution on wool carpeting.


Mix 1/4 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water. Use in a spray bottle.

Dry-cleaning fluid

Dry-cleaning solvents, such as Afta by Guardsman, are available at hardware stores and supermarkets.

Nail polish remover

The nail polish remover must contain acetone to be effective. Avoid products with added lotions and fragrances.

White vinegar solution

Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water and pour into a spray bottle.

Warm water rinse

Pour warm water in a spray bottle or used a saturated clean cloth with warm water.

Shop for Rug Stain Shield

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