I saw it happening. We never have spaghetti. And we never eat in the living room. This was the combination for the ultimate cleaning nightmare. Spaghetti and meatballs in red sauce – yes – it all spilled on the floor on the sand-colored carpet. How can we make that stain disappear? 

Some of the most common stains our customers encounter are coffee, red wine, mud, blood, chocolate, and pet waste. Here are four tips to prevent and remove stains to keep your carpet looking fresh and clean:

1. Choose a stain-resistant carpet.

If you are wanting to install carpet, be sure you are shopping specifically for stain-resistant carpets. At Michael’s Flooring & Cabinets, we only sell carpets made of yarn with a built-in stain resistant material that repels common stains like mud, dirt, and some liquids. This material is able to repel particles that cause stains before they set, leaving a permanent mark. Installing stain-resistant carpet is one sure way to prevent permanent damage to your carpet.  

2. Different stains require different steps, but the first step is always the same.

Regardless of the type of material spilled, dropped, or tracked on the carpet (wine, food, mud, etc.), you should always try to get up as much of the excess as possible without smearing. 

  • For liquids (such as red wine), try to blot away or absorb the excess as quickly as possible
  • For solids (such as dirt or sand), vacuum as much of the material as you can 
  • For a combination of liquid and solids (such as muddy shoes), blot and/or pick up as much as possible, but be sure not to smear. If smearing begins to occur, give the material time to dry or harden and then thoroughly vacuum the impacted area.

Once you have dealt with the excess, the remaining steps might differ depending on what has been spilled, dropped, or tracked. 

3. The next step – our “go to” solution for removing stains.  

After you have blotted away and removed as much of the material as possible, gather warm water and laundry detergent (just enough to have a few suds). Find an inconspicuous place (your carpeted closet or under a piece of furniture that never gets moved) to see how your flooring finish will react to the cleaning solution to test this solution on your carpet. This is a great tip for any floor cleaner, whether you are dealing with carpet, hardwoods, LVPs, etc. Testing the solution in an inconspicuous place will ensure the solution will not bleach the color out of your carpet or alter the color somehow. This is rare, but it does happen occasionally. 

4. Watch the stain start to vanish.

Once you have tested your solution in an inconspicuous area, use a clean cloth to dab the spots gently. Dab the spots in a circular motion trying to scrub away the stain. Allow the area to dry and then vacuum the impacted area thoroughly. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the stain disappears. This could take time which leads us to the last tip…   

5. Patience is key.

Many stains require multiple attempts to remove. The spaghetti spill mentioned in the introduction took several attempts over a few days before the red began to vanish from the sand-colored carpet. Depending on the type of stain, the first step might actually be to wait (which may seem counterintuitive). After removing the excess, waiting patiently for the material to harden or dry might actually save you some cleanup. 

If your pets are the primary offenders of stains on your carpet, especially due to accidents, we have some additional tips for you. Check out this blog about pets and carpets. 

Fun fact: An old carpet man who’s been in the business for nearly 70 years told us to try shaving cream, particularly Barbasol, on carpet stains. Surprisingly, this trick has worked well for many stains our customers have encountered. Don’t forget to test this solution in an inconspicuous spot before using it on your carpet/stain!

Stains are bound to occur. Accidents happen. At Michael’s Flooring & Cabinets, we want to be your trusted, local experts for home advice. Reach out to us with questions about stains on your carpet.