Five Ways To Keep A Stain From Permanently Affecting Your Carpet

Whether you have light-colored carpets, don't want to lose your security deposit on the apartment, or just have a high sensitivity to carpet spotting, you'll want to have a repertoire of stain-removal techniques ready the next time something colorful ends up on your carpet. The first thing to do in such a situation is to remember not to panic. Pick up any of the spill that hasn't soaked in yet, and then use absorbent materials such as paper towels to soak up as much of the substance as possible if it's a liquid. Press down hard (stomping works) to force as much of the liquid back out of the carpet as possible, reducing the amount of staining material you still have to deal with. Then try these five tips to help you restore your carpet to its previous state (or as close to it as possible) with minimal fuss.

1. Use cold water

Hot water can often help set a stain permanently into your carpet, especially if it's caused by something like blood. So after you've dried up as much as you can of the offending substance, DO NOT try to wash it off with a hot, wet cloth. Instead, use cold water to wet the area down gently before applying any products to the carpet.

2. Spot clean the stain

Don't schedule a deep cleaning of the carpet just because you've got a small stain. Even worse would be simply waiting for the next scheduled professional carpet cleaning and not doing anything about the spot now. If your instincts are telling you to grab a wet cloth and attack the stain, listen to them, but only after you've finished reading through what products to use, and only with cold water. 

3. Use a pre-treatment

Using a multi-pronged approach can help attack the stain in different ways in order to give you as good a chance of getting rid of it as possible. In addition to whatever cleaner you decide to use on the stain, you can try a pre-treatment such as Oxi-Clean or a DIY pre-treatment such as Borax dissolved in a little cold water, applying it to the stain and letting it sit for a while before you start scrubbing. 

4. Check products before using them on the stain

No matter which detergent and pre-treatment you use, make sure you test them on a small, unnoticeable area of the carpet first to make sure it's not susceptible to color changes or other damage from that particular product.

5. Use deodorizing products if it's smelly

If you have a particularly nasty stain that threatens to make your house smell like a litter box for the foreseeable future, you may wish to choose a specific pet-mess-cleaning product that has enzymes in it to break down the problematic elements in pet messes. 

These five tips will help you take care of your poor stained carpet, allowing you to restore it to all its former glory so it can continue to serve you for years to come.