If you have large areas of carpet in your home, chances are you've wondered how to get various stains out of it. What stains can be removed, and how do you know a carpet is too stained to be cleaned? Do unmarred carpets ever need to be replaced? Here is everything you need to know about carpet stains and replacements.
Cleanable Carpet Stains
Carpeted floors are just that; floors. They are prone to any number of heinous spills and tracks and stains. Which ones can be cleaned, and how? Use this list as a basic guide.
- Water Soluble Stains: Can they be cleaned? Yes! For mud, let it dry, then vacuum it up as much as possible. After that, and for all other water soluble stains like wine, berries, coffee and mustard, start with a clean, white cloth. The color is important, because colored rags can bleed dye into the carpet. Blot the stain with a solution of warm water and a little dish washing liquid. Do not rub the stain! That could spread it instead of remove it.
- Oils and Fats: Can they be cleaned? Yes! If it's a liquid spill, blot as much of the liquid up as possible. Then put down a paper towel and use an iron on a warm setting. The heat will draw the oil up to the paper towel.
- Glue: Can it be cleaned? Yes! Moisten a cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol, and use it to blot up the spot.
- High Traffic Dark Spots: Can these be cleaned? Yes! This is the result of ground-in dirt, and oils and sweat from the bottoms of your feet. The best way to get these out is through steam cleaning. Prevention is better than treatment, so make sure you're having your carpets professionally cleaned every 12-18 months.
When is a Carpet too Stained to be Salvaged?
The following stains cannot be removed because they adhere to or remove pigment from the carpet fibers themselves:
- Acid stains
- Chlorine bleach
- Hair dyes
- Drain cleaners
- Plant fertilizers
You have the option of covering the stain with a decorative rug or furniture, or you can live with the stain. If neither of those is an option, replacing the carpet is a must. Carpets that have been heavily stained deep into the fibers can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, so if you have a lot of persistent stains, you may want to consider a replacement.
Do Unsullied Carpets ever Need to be Removed?
There are some places that should never be carpeted. No matter how scrupulously you clean these areas, the carpet will remain a health hazard, and you can't clean that up.
- Bathrooms should never be carpeted, because the constant humidity and water spillage creates a perfect environment for mold, including toxic molds.
- Kitchens are routinely subjected to humidity and food spills. Bacteria thrive in these conditions, and can create a biohazard.
- Damp basements should never be carpeted either. If your basement isn't sealed against water infiltration, consider it a no-carpet zone.
- Carpets that have been left wet for too long can mold or mildew. Even if there are no stains, if your carpet smells even after a professional cleaning, you might need to remove it. Having your carpet professionally cleaned is especially important, because professional machines allow your carpet to dry quickly, keeping microorganisms to a minimum.
When in doubt, call in the carpet experts like McMaid. Carpet cleaning can be a minefield for those who don't know what they're doing. Taking great care of your carpet is a good way to maintain your home's value and appeal, so don't forget regular maintenance. Last of all, enjoy it! Your carpet makes your house feel like a home.