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Stain Removal Solutions

By Michael Hilton

Vacuum - Vacuum all dry spills to lift and remove as much of the substance as possible. Pouring any liquid into a dry spill may create additional problems.

Detergent Solution - We recommend Odosolv/Fabrisan/Odaclean, a product that we sell on this site. It is the best spotter that we have found and eliminates odors. A number of commercially available detergent spot removal (carpet stain removal) solutions are available. If a carpet specialty spotting solution is not available try dishwashing liquid, 1/4 tsp per cup of water. This will cause resoiling if not thoroughly rinsed*.

Detergent Solution - Most spot removal (carpet stain removal) detergent solutions WILL RESOIL! Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. It may be necessary to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. Use dishwashing liquid (¼ tsp. per cup of water) only if you have a spot removal (carpet stain removal) extractor on hand because residues are almost impossible to remove and resoiling will almost certainly occur. Most commercially available spot removal (carpet stain removal) products will cause resoiling as well Use care in selecting a detergent. Do not use an automatic dishwashing liquid! Many contain bleaching agents that destroy carpet color. Never use a laundry detergent of any type, because they may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye carpet fiber. Select a detergent solution that will not cause carpet resoiling. A commercially available detergent solution may be used on the spot chart if OdoSolv is not available. Fabrisan and Superall will not allow resoiling.

Superall - SuperAll is excellent for oils, grease, tar, paint and other spills which are difficult for detergents to break down. SuperAll is a professional use chemical that has more carpet cleaning efficiency than most consumer brands. Rubbing alcohol works pretty well as a substitute.

Dry Cleaning Fluid - A non-flammable spot removal (carpet stain removal) solution is preferred. Exercise caution when using a dry cleaning fluid. Never pour a dry cleaning solution directly onto the carpet or allow it to reach the backing. Dry cleaning fluids may destroy the latex adhesive that holds primary and secondary backings together. Apply dry cleaning fluids to a cloth and blot. Rubbing alcohol, acetone, xylene, mineral spirits, all make excellent dry solvents, but many are flammable. Essentially, most products that are sold in the paint department of the local Home Depot to remove paint from paintbrushes will work on synthetic carpet fibers. Follow application instructions in procedures. Dry cleaning fluid may be used in the place of SuperAll on the spot removal (carpet stain removal) chart. Also see nail polish remover. Also try Krud-Kutter, a product found at Home Depot in the paint department. This product has excellent spot removal capabilities, though resoil potential is untested.

Nail Polish Remover - Two types of nail polish removers are available. One type contains acetone, a dry cleaning solvent. When using nail polish removers containing acetone, use the same precautions as with other dry cleaning solutions. The second type contains amyl acetate or ethyl acetate and alcohol, which is used in many paint, oil and grease (POG) removers. Many POG removers leave residues that may cause rapid soiling. When using a POG remover always rinse the area thoroughly with a dry solvent to remove residues. (See residue precautions) Some nail polish removers may have artificial color added. If the color should remain after spotting, try rubbing alcohol or OdoSolv to remove the residual color.

(In general, most solvents used to remove paint from nylon paint brushes can be used on carpet, for purposes of spot removal (carpet stain removal). However, keep in mind that carpet utilizes a synthetic latex backing to laminate the secondary backing to the primary backing and secure the carpet tufts in place, a similar synthetic latex that is used in paint. Pouring any dry solvent directly on to carpet may allow liquids to penetrate the primary backing to the synthetic latex, thus breaking down the adhesive properties. Always apply dry solvents to a cloth and apply to the carpet to limit carpet damage. Denatured alcohol works well (though more slowly) and it will react with carpet latex backing more slowly. Caution still must be exercised, however.

Warm Water Rinse - Use lukewarm tap water in most cases to rinse the carpet cleaning solutions from fibers. Failure to completely rinse solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling. An old Windex® spray bottle works particularly well in rinsing the area without overwetting.

Vinegar Solution - Mix 1 cup of white vinegar per 2 cups of water. White vinegar is a 5% acetic acid solution, and is used most often to lower the alkalinity caused by detergent solutions or alkaline spills (see spot removal (carpet stain removal) Chart).

Stain removal kit - Available from most carpet retail stores. Follow directions closely! Some spot removal (carpet stain removal) kits may contain a dry extraction carpet cleaning compound that can be used effectively for most common household stains.

Call a Professional Carpet Cleaner - Professional carpet cleaners have the solutions and experience to remove most common carpet stains.

Residue Precautions

Many spot removal (carpet stain removal) solutions leave residues in carpet that may attract soil. Thoroughly rinse the area several times with lukewarm tap water. A mist type sprayer is recommended to prevent overwetting. Blot with paper towels, and pat dry after each rinse. Several rinses are often necessary to thoroughly remove residues. Never use any solutions in concentrations stronger than those recommended.

Did you know?

Most carpet stains can be removed with items found under every kitchen sink. Carpet stain removal is easy, once you understand the proper stain removal procedures. Most carpet stains require patience and the proper stain remover (solution). Many carpet stains require a two solution spot removal process to be most effective.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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