I hosted a dinner party a couple of weeks ago. A great evening, lovely food (even if I do say so myself), and some terrific wine. Toward the end of the evening, one of the guests (who shall remain nameless) spilled some red wine on my nearly new cream carpet. Before I could stop her, she’d followed the half glass with a half bottle of a pretty good chardonnay.
As she watched the red stain spread and turn only a slightly lighter shade of red (not even a pink), all she could muster was a giggle and a regretful comment. “I should have left it to someone who knows how to remove stains from carpet!” she said.
So, for the benefit of my friend, and all those who read this blog post, here’s my ultimate guide on removing satins of all types from carpets. I’ll start with red wine!
Never scrub a carpet clean
I nearly forgot my number one carpet cleaning tip: never scrub, simply blot. If you scrub a carpet, you’ll damage its fibers and eventually scrub right through to the pad. At best, the stain will soak into the pad and be there for life, a constant reminder of the night a friend spilled wine. (Okay, that’s the last time I’ll mention ‘winegate’.)
So, always use a blotting technique to ‘lift’ the stain out of the carpet, and always work from the outside of the stain toward its center. Rinse with plenty of water as you go.
Having got the basic technique right, let’s look at the solutions to use, and one or two advanced carpet stain removal methods.
An extra tip here: whatever solution and method you use, test out on an inconspicuous square inch of your carpet first, to make sure the solution doesn’t discolor.
How to remove a red wine stain from carpet
Mix one tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of water, dabbing little and often with a clean cloth. This solution isn’t just for red wine. You can also use it on:
Don’t use the ammonia solution on wool carpets, and on polypropylene carpets you could try a solution of one part bleach to five parts water.
For most foods and several liquids
Mix a quarter teaspoon of white vinegar with 32 ounces of water. This is the solution to use for all of the following stains:
- Food dyes
- Ice cream
- Washable ink
- Latex paints
What about glues and waxes?
There are other techniques for stains caused by substances such as glue, wax, and chewing gum.
If the problem is glue, use a moist cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Press onto the glue stain to completely moisten it, before gently wiping and repeating until the glue has disappeared.
Wax and gum need to be frozen before being smashed with a spoon. Vacuum to lift the glue fragments and then blot with a clean white cloth to thoroughly clean.
(If the stain is nail polish, see my blog detailing how to get nail polish out of carpet in 30 minutes.)
For those little unavoidable accidents
Children especially are prone to accidents (and new pets, of course). If you have an excrement stain, use the same solution and method as you would for cola, gravy, and ice cream.
Urine stains are a little trickier:
- Lift as much of the urine as possible with paper towels.
- Blot with a damp cloth.
- Spray with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water.
- Mix a solution of half a teaspoon of non-bleach detergent with 32 ounces of water. Rinse and blot dry.
Carpet maintenance routine
Hopefully you will never spill anything on your carpet, and pets or children (or adults at dinner parties) will never have any accidents in your home. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist mentioning winegate one last time.)
If you keep your carpet in top condition, it will last for years longer than otherwise. Every 12 to 18 months, give your carpet the benefit of a professional clean and its condition will be a topic of discussion for your next dinner party.
If there are any other cleaning issues you need help with, get in touch – but don’t expect hairdressing tips!