Carpet Spot and Stain Guide

Stain Guide

Directions for Stain Removal

1. Spills and stains should be treated IMMEDIATELY. The longer a spot remains, the more difficult it will be to remove.

2. Blot up spills with clean, white, absorbent material (towels, napkins, tissues, etc).

3. Remove solid build-up materials with a rounded tablespoon, spatula, or edge of a dull knife.

4. Pretest spot remover agents in an inconspicuous area (under a sofa cushion, on an area of carpet under or behind a piece of furniture). Apply several drops of solution on the article and rub gently with a clean, white towel. If color transfers to cloth or a color change occurs, a professional cleaner should be consulted.

5. Do NOT overwet. Use small amounts of the cleaning agents and blot frequently. Always blot, do NOT rub or brush.

6. Work from the outer edge of the spot towards the center to prevent rings.

7. Beginning with step 1, treat the stained area with each spotting solution until the stain is removed. It may not be necessary to complete the entire series of steps. The final step is always to gently rinse with water, then absorb all the remaining moisture with absorbent towels.

8. Be patient. Some stains respond slowly. All spots and stains cannot be removed from every fabric due to the differences in fibers, dyes, constructions, finishes, compositions of the stain, length of time the stain has remained on the article, etc. Some stains require professional treatment.

Spotting Solutions

  • Ammonia Solution – Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Bleach – Use hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate, present in Snowy or Clorox II. Do NOT use chlorine bleach.
  • Detergent Solution – Mix one teaspoon of colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water.
  • Dry Cleaning Solvent – Volatile dry spotter or commercial spotter such as Carbona, Energine, K2R. Use in small amounts – can be harmful to sizings, backings or stuffing materials. Do NOT use gasoline, lighter fluid or carbon tetrachloride.
  • Enzyme Detergent – Mix a solution of enzyme detergent following the directions on the label. Do NOT soak or overwet. Allow the solution to remain on the stain for the recommended length of time before removing. (Professional cleaners may prefer to use digestors separate from detergents).
  • POG – Paint, oil, and grease remover, available in hardware stores.
  • Vinegar Solution – Mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water (Professional cleaners may use up to 28% acetic acid solution).

Click the Stains Below to Find Out How to Remove Them!

Blood
Contains
Albumin, fat, fibrin, iron.
Appearance
Reddish when fresh, dries to dark brown with irregular edge.
Solution
1. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply cool ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
5. If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.
6. Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide may be necessary.
Butter and Margarine
Contains
Vegetable dye, corn oil, milk, salt, preservatives, vegetable fats.
Appearance
Greasy and yellowish-red.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot until dry.
3. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
4. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
Candle Wax
Contains
Petroleum, animal fats and oils, vegetable fats and oils, basic dyes.
Appearance
Stiff and built-up.
Solution
1. Scrape off as much as possible with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
3. Apply POG, blot.
4. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
Ketchup and Tomato Sauce
Contains
Tomatoes, salt, sugar, spices, tannin, vinegar, onions.
Appearance
Reddish-brown, absorbed and built-up.
Solution
1. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply cool ammonia solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
4. If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Chocolate
Contains
Oil, grease, cocoa, butter, coloring, sugar, milk.
Appearance
Brown with irregular edge, absorbed and built-up.
Solution
1. Scrape off as much as possible with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply cool detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
6.Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Crayons
Contains
Wax, grease, pigment, coloring matter.
Appearance
Built-up, sometimes shiny.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
Food Coloring
Contains
Coloring matter, propylene glycol.
Appearance
Absorbed with irregular edge.
Solution
1. Apply detergent solution, blotting thoroughly. A dried stain will probably spread when wet.
2. Repeat step 1 until color is no longer transferred to the towel.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Furniture Stain
Contains
Petroleum distillate, coloring matter.
Appearance
Brownish or reddish, absorbed, with irregular edge.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry. *This stain is almost impossible to remove completely.
Grass
Contains
Tannin, acids, oils, chlorophyll.
Appearance
Green and/or brown smudges.
Solution
1. Apply amyl acetate if available to remove chlorophyll, blot.
2. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot.
4. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
5. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry. *Bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.
Ink (Ballpoint)
Contains
Basic or soluble aniline dyes, insoluble organic solvents, oils, resins, gums, binding agents such as shellac, varnish or petroleum.
Appearance
Can be any color.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply amyl acetate, if available, or acetone (except on acetate fibers).
5. If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.
6. Bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.
Ink (India)
Contains
Pigment (carbon black) dispersed in water with a binder.
Appearance
Absorbed, usually black.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
Jam and Jelly
Contains
Pulp of fruit, sugar, tannin preservatives.
Appearance
Reddish or bluish, absorbed and built-up.
Solution
1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot.
4. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
5. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
Lipstick
Contains
Pigment or dye in fat, waxes and oils.
Appearance
Red, pink, orange, soft and greasy.
Solution
1. Scrape off excess with spatula or dull knife.
2. Apply POG, blot, making sure not to reapply stain onto fabric.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry. * Try to avoid wet cleaning on wool. Use POG and dry cleaning solvents as long as possible.
Mildew
Appearance
Greyish or brownish fungus with black spots. May permanently damage fibers.
Solution
1. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot.
4. Apply solution of oxidizing bleach (chlorine or perborate) *Do NOT use chlorine bleach on wool or silk.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Mud
Contains
Soil with greases and oils, clay, iron.
Appearance
Greyish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish, absorbed and built-up.
Solution
1. Brush or scrape off as much as possible.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
5. If stain remains, apply POG and dry cleaning solvent alternately, blot until dry.
Mustard
Contains
Mustard seed, vinegar, salt, tumeric, oils, spices, flavorings.
Appearance
Yellowish, absorbed or built-up.
Solution
1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
4. If stain remains, rust remover (oxalic acid solution) or bleaching may be necessary. *Do NOT use ammonia or alkalies.
Nail Polish
Contains
Red dye or pigment in a liquid cellulose acetate base, solvent, plasticizer.
Appearance
Usually pink or red, stiff,shiny and built-up.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply amyl acetate if available, or nail polish remover – Pretest First.
4. If stain remains, apply detergent solution, blot until dry.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
7. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
Paint (Oil)
Contains
Pigments, drying oils, resins, gums, volatile solvents.
Appearance
Usually built-up and stiff.
Solution
1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
3. Rinse with water, blot until dry.
4. Apply POG, blot.
5. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
Paint (Water)
Contains
Water pigments, emulsifiers, preservatives.
Appearance
Absorbed or built-up, stiff when dry.
Solution
* Check label on paint for specific thinner or solvent OR
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Alternates steps 2 and 3 until stain is removed.
5. If stain persists, weight down the stain with towels dampened with dry cleaning solvent for several hours, blot with solvent.
6. Apply several drops of detergent solution and work into the stain, blot.
7. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
8. Alternate steps 2, 3, and 6 until stain is removed.
9. Rinse thoroughly with warm water, blot until dry.
Shoe Polish
Contains
Waxes, resins, solvents, dyes, shellac, alcohol, tannin.
Appearance
Usually black or brown, absorbed or built-up.
Solution
1. Apply dry cleaning solvent.
2. Apply POG, blot.
3. Apply dry cleaning solvent, blot.
4. Apply detergent solution, blot.
5. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
6. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
7. If stain persists, bleaching (or professional stripping) may be necessary.
Urine
Contains
Urea, uric acid, ammonia, organic acids, pigments, cholesterol, albumins, proteoses.
Appearance
Yellowish or brown, darkening with age, absorbed.
Solution
1. Blot up as much as possible if still wet.
2. Apply detergent solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
6. If stain remains apply rust remover or oxaclic acid solution.
7. Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate may be necessary. *Urine stains may cause permanent dye removal from fibers.
Vomit
Contains
Food, mucus, albumins, acids.
Appearance
Various colors, absorbed and build-up.
Solyution
1. Blot up as much as possible.
2. Apply enzyme detergent, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Wine
Contains
Alcohol, sugars, tannin, coloring material
Appearance
Greasy and yellowish-red.
Solution
1. Apply detergent solution, blot.
2. Apply vinegar solution, blot.
3. Apply ammonia solution, blot.
4. If necessary bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate.
5. Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.
Top