Carpeting warms your feet and cozies your house, but it’s at risk for stains. Upholstery, too, is fodder for absent-minded sloshes of red wine, coffee and more. The worst part is you cannot just pop these items in the washing machine, so what to do? Keep your home bright and clean by understanding how to get out stains before you’re faced with one.
1. Blot. Never scrub and rub a stain on carpet or upholstery. Blotting allows the stain to be absorbed by the cloth and minimizes the surface area that is damaged.
2. Work outside in. This means take your blotter and start toward the margin of the stain and blot in toward the center. This keeps the stain from enlarging.
3. Test spot. Before you try a cleaning method, find an area of the rug or upholstery that is not obvious and test your technique or cleaner. This way you find out ahead of time if the technique will help or make things worse.
4. Use cool or cold water. Never use hot or warm water to clean a stain. This will only set the stain and make it harder to remove.
5. Club soda. The bubbling action of carbonated water helps release a stain without damaging upholstery or carpeting. Blot dry.
6. Color-safe bleach. Mix a solution of one part dish detergent and two parts hydrogen peroxide. Use this cleaner to blot the stain away.
7. Lift the stain. Using a paste of cream of tartar and water, or baking soda, cover the stain and allow the paste to dry in place for a few minutes. Scrape up the residue and rinse with cool water and blot dry.
8. Laundry detergent. For stubborn stains, you may mix a few drops of non-bleach concentrated laundry detergent and water together and spray onto the stained area, according to How to Clean Stuff. Blot until stain is gone. Rinse well with cool water and let dry completely.
9. Vinegar spray. Mix one part vinegar and two parts water. Spray this mixture onto the stain, after you’ve blotted it. With a clean cloth, blot the cleaning solution away and spray clear water to rise. Blot and allow the rug or upholstery to dry.
10. Professional cleaner. If all else fails, get the number of a good professional upholstery and rug cleaner. These companies have a variety of solutions and techniques that are very effective at stain removal. They usually guarantee their work and insure against damage.
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