The various types of spills and spots that we can have on carpet are somewhat endless.  Also, the types of cleaning agents (cleaning products and cleaning solutions) that are available to us 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 we 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 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 were 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 (not just a liquid spill), 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 to help loosen the soil. 

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

6. When blotting, when the towel becomes damp, rotate the towel to a dry section and continue until you have removed as much of the spot and cleaning agent as possible.

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

8. If the spot is not gone, consider using a different solution, but 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.  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.  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 the towel.  Rotate the towel and repeat as needed in order to get the carpet as dry as possible.