The various types of spills and spots that can occur on carpet are somewhat endless.  Also, the types of cleaning agents (cleaning products and cleaning solutions) that are available to use are also somewhat endless.  In this article I would like to share some very general tips that can be incorporated, or at least considered, when you are spot cleaning carpet, regardless of what the spot is, and regardless of what cleaning agent you are using.  I often find that customers are using poor technique and therefore making things worse and/or ending up with a new spot once the carpet has dried.  These tips are designed to help eliminate those problems.  In another article I will share some more specifics with regards to which products to use.   

General Tips:

  1. Remove or blot up as much excess residue as possible before starting to clean. 

2. If it is a large spot, consider working on one area at first to make sure that you can get the spot out before cleaning the whole area. If there are several spots, consider working on one of them first.  Do not work on the other spots if you are not successful with the first one!

3. Apply the spotting agent to the spot.  I believe the best way to apply a spotting agent is to spray it on with a trigger sprayer.  If the product or solution you are using does not come in a spray bottle or have a spray tip, consider purchasing a few spray bottles and labeling them.   

4. For some spots, especially spot that have a physical residue, it can help to agitate the spot.  You can do this by using your fingers, a soft bristle brush, or the blunt bottom edge of a plastic spray bottle.  Here, you are simply agitating the affected area the same way you agitate your hair when you wash it, and the same way clothes get agitated in a washing machine to help loosen the soil. 

5. Blot the spot using a terrycloth towel if available.  A terrycloth towel will tend to be more effective than paper towels.  A white towel is best; however, a well-washed light-colored towel will also work as long as you are certain that no color from the towel will bleed onto the carpet. 

6. After blotting with one section/portion of the towel, rotate the towel to a new/dry section and blot again. Repeat this process until the amount of moisture and/or spot coming up onto the towel is negligible (reduced greatly).

7. If the spot has gotten lighter, but still remains, repeat steps 3-6.  Some spots will take many treatments to remove the spot completely.

8. If the spot is not gone, consider using a different solution (following steps 3-7). Before using a different solution, it’s a good idea to rinse the area first using the steps below before you add a new spotting agent.

9. Depending on the cleaning agent that you are using, it is usually a good idea to rinse the area with plain water to remove any residue that might remain from the cleaning agent.  This will help neutralize the carpet and remove residue that might attract dirt to the area.  Do this by spraying clean water on the area and then blotting until you have removed as much moisture as possible (follow steps 3-6, using water instead of a cleaning agent).  Leaving the carpet too wet can result in a ‘new’ spot appearing once the carpet is dry.  When you are all done, a good way to remove any remaining moisture might be to place a double layered towel on area you worked on and stand on it.  Rotate the towel and repeat as needed to get the carpet as dry as possible.