Removing Spills, Spots, and Stains

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Removing Spills, Spots, and Stains

Steps to follow when removing spills, spots and stains include:


1.Inspection identification of manufacturer, type of carpet fiber, and backing.

2.Identification of spill, spot, or stain (wet, dry, water-based, or oil-based).

3.Vacuum as necessary (dry).

4.Removal of excess material (absorb or blot with a clean white towel, scrape with plastic spoon or spotting spatula).

5.Rinse liquid spills with water.

6.Testing of cleaning agent in inconspicuous area for colorfastness.

7.Apply cleaning techniques (see chart).

8.It may be necessary to repeat due to wicking.


NOTE: Wicking is the movement of liquid, soil, and/or residual contaminants from the carpet backing to the tip of the fiber during the drying process. Additional air movement to enhance drying time may assist in reducing wicking.


Act Quickly! Most commercial carpet available has stain and soil resistant properties, which allows many spills, spots, and stains to be removed if proper procedures are followed. The longer the delay, the higher the probability of a spill becoming a permanent stain. Remember, most carpet is stain resistant, not stain proof.

Blot, absorb, or wet extract excess liquids with a white absorbent cloth, dry compound, water (wet) vacuum, or white (no printing) paper towels.

Do not scrub the area! Scrubbing can cause pile distortion in the affected area. For semi-solids, gently scrape up with a rounded spoon. Solids should be broken up and vacuumed until completely removed.

Pretest any spot removal agent in an inconspicuous area to make certain the compound or solution will not damage the fiber or the dye. After applying liquid spot removal agent to the testing area, hold a white cloth on the wet area for 10 seconds. Examine the carpet and cloth for color transfer, color change, or damage to the carpet. If a change occurs, another cleaning solution should be selected.

Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning agent. Always follow directions on label.  

Work from outside of the area of the visible spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. (if a baseball size spill is visible, work an area the size of a basketball from the outside of the center. This is due to the wicking process).  Do not scrub! Blot or absorb as much of the spot or spill as possible, and repeat if necessary.

Be patient! Complete removal of the spill may require repeating the same step several times.

When using more than one cleaning agent extract or remove one spotting agent before applying another. Always rinse out liquid cleaning solutions or dry extract dry absorbent agents prior to use of another.  

Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid resoiling if not completely removed.  Rinse the area thoroughly.

Complete removal of many common spills may require the repeated use of a single cleaning agent or the use of a combination of cleaning solutions. Follow cleaning agent instructions.