There are a lot of remedies out there that are supposed to get stains out of your carpet. You might have heard a few from your mom or your great aunt Margaret and you have also might have read about a few more on the internet. Each carpet stain remedy was probably introduced to you with an accompanying promise of success; something to the effect of “this will get any stain out of your carpet.” The problem with these remedies and the people that proscribe them is that they do not realize that in addition to each stain being different, carpets can be drastically different one from another. So when your aunt Margaret tells you to use a vinegar and dish soap mixture because that is what she always uses on her textured Saxony carpet it might not work as well on the carpet you have at home.
The easiest carpet to clean is a nylon carpet with cut loops. Most carpets are made with looped weaves and the loops give a carpet a softer, plusher feel but it also makes the carpet a lot harder to clean. When a carpet’s loops are cut that problem is solved. Nylon is typically used in high-traffic areas because of how easy it is to maintain.
Another common carpet type is an olefin and polyester blend. This kind of carpet is more resistant to liquid and therefore would fare better in or near a bathroom. A major setback of this kind of carpet is that when wet it begins to pull dirt to the top as it dries and so often requires a second cleaning.
Perhaps the most difficult carpet to clean is a wool carpet. Because of the texture and thickness of wool it locks dirt in and is more resistant to chemical carpet cleaners.
You should consider the type of carpet you have before attempting to clean it. Another thing that must be taken into account is the type of stain. Juice, sauce, vomit and animal urine are a few of the more common causes of stains but these, and other stain-culprits, can be categorized into three basic stain groups.
The most common types of water-soluble stain producers are: alcoholic beverages, berries, colas, excrement, food dyes, gravy, ice cream, jelly, milk, mud, washable ink, wet or latex paint. For a stain of this type a ¼ cup of non-bleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water should be used.
Special Water-soluble Stains
Blood, chocolate, coffee, mustard, tea, vomit and wine are the most common sources of these special water soluble stains. For these 1 tablespoon of ammonia mixed with 1 cup of water should be used unless you have a wool carpet. For wool carpets use the detergent and water mix used for group 1. If you have a solution-dyed carpet, like polypropylene, you can try using a mixture of 1 part bleach to 5 parts water.
Fat, Oil and Wax
Cigarette burns, gum, glue, wax, nail polish or urine each require a slightly different method of cleaning. Unlike the other two types of carpet stain, the stains in this category often can be removed by rubbing or scrubbing instead of dabbing.