At least 70% of people have moved a piece of furniture to cover a carpet stain. It seems like a quick fix until you rearrange your furniture and rediscover that old forgotten stain.
Even unstained carpet harbors dust, dirt, and bacteria that routine vacuuming can’t completely remove. You might think your only option is to rip out the carpet and install hard flooring.
Luckily, you can restore your carpet with the right products and technique. In most cases, the products you need are already in your pantry or utility closet.
To learn how to remove old stains from carpet, read on. With these tips, you can get rid of that spot once and for all.
The Trick to Removing Old Carpet Stains
You might think an older carpet stain would be easier to clean than an old one, but the opposite is true. Set-in stains are harder to clean in the laundry and the same is true for carpet.
The trick is to rehydrate the original stain. It’s sort of like turning the clock back. Once you rehydrate the old stain, you can clean it as though it just happened.
Spot Cleaning Basics: Removing Carpet Stains the Right Way
For any stain, whether it’s new or old, there are some dos and don’ts that always apply.
You should never scrub a carpet stain. This can make the stain travel deeper into the carpet fibers and stain the pad. Instead, use a cloth to blot the stain.
Next, always use a white cloth or towel to clean the carpet. Depending on the treatment you’re using, it could make the dye from the towel transfer to the carpet.
Always work from the outside in. Whether you’re treating the stain or just using water, working from the outside can make the stain larger. That’s why it’s important to clean inwards when you’re dealing with a carpet stain.
You should also test the cleaning treatment on an out-of-sight part of the carpet before you start cleaning. If the cleaning treatment bleaches the carpet or reacts poorly, no one will see the spot. This gives you a chance to try a different product.
Types of Stains: Water Soluble vs. Non-Water Soluble
There are two general types of stains, those that dissolve in water and those that don’t. Water soluble stains (the ones that dissolve in water) are often easier to clean.
Water soluble stains are things like washable ink, milk, latex paint, berries, or mud. Non-soluble stains include wine, pet messes, blood, chocolate, and coffee. The type of stain will determine the treatment.
It’s much easier to remove a stain when you know what it is. But, if you’ve moved into a house that already had a carpet stain, you won’t know what it is. The best way to deal with it is to start small and try different treatments when it doesn’t work.
How to Remove Old Stains from Carpet
When it comes to cleaning old stains, be patient. The longer the stain sits, the harder it is to clean. You may have to try a few different methods to remove the stain.
- Start with Water + Dish Soap
Water and dish soap is the safest method to start with. It’s safe enough for wool blend carpets and it won’t stain. This is the best method for when you’re not sure what the stain is from.
Mix a cup of room temperature water with a few drops of dish soap. Use a white towel or a microfiber towel to work it into the stain. Don’t get it too wet or it could soak through the carpet pad.
Let it sit for a few minutes and then use a clean cloth and fresh water to blot the stain. This method is used to remove the soap from the carpet.
- Try Water + Vinegar + Dish Soap
You can also mix 2 cups of water with a tablespoon each of vinegar and dish soap. This can work for tougher water-soluble stains like juice or food dye.
Use a clean white towel to apply some of the solution. Let it sit for a few minutes and blot it with clean water.
- Try Baking Soda + Vinegar
This method is great for old grease stains. Make sure to test it out on a hidden area of your carpet before you treat the stain.
Sprinkle a layer of dry baking soda on the stain. Then, mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. The vinegar will foam when it hits the baking soda which will clean the stain.
Leave it to sit for a few hours. It will harden, but you can break it up and use your vacuum to suck it up.
Try Cleaning Your Entire Carpet
Sometimes spot cleaning works too well and the previously stained area looks cleaner than the surrounding area. Luckily, you can fix this yourself with a simple DIY carpet cleaner.
You’ll just need to buy, rent, or borrow a carpet cleaner. The solution uses a mix of hot water, OxiClean, all-purpose cleaner, and liquid detergent.
The whole process only takes a few hours, plus a few hours of drying. You’ll be amazed at how much cleaner your entire carpet looks.
Still Struggling with a Stubborn Stain? Call in the Pros from ThoroClean
Knowing how to remove old stains from carpet is a good skill to have. If you can identify the stain, you’ll have much more luck removing it. Plus, it can save you money since you won’t have to tear out the carpet and pay for new flooring.
Contact ThoroClean today to get a free quote. Your home will feel fresh as new in no time!