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Carpet cleaning: our guide to the top five offenders

Posted on by Pyramid Carpets

Learn how to shift the most common carpet stains

We all want a clean, pleasant home- unfortunately for our carpets it can sometimes seem like fate (and gravity!) have different ideas. Luckily there are lots of ways to ensure your new carpet stays as clean, fresh and bright, often using the most everyday products. Here’s our guide to some of most common, most destructive, and most annoying stains homeowners endure.

Some things you need to keep handy:

  • Distilled white vinegar – a well-known and trusted cleaner for all kinds of surfaces, white vinegar (a weaker version of commercially available acetone cleaning projects) hits stains hard and can neutralise odours. Use with warm water and baking soda to restore just about anything in the home while eliminating that vinegary odour.
  • Clean cloths (light enough to see dirt collected preferably)
  • A clean scrubbing brush – not rough enough to damage your carpet.
  • Dishwashing soap and laundry detergent- the first is recommended by many experts as laundry detergent is very alkaline, and packed with other ingredients to treat clothes, and good for breaking down proteins in fatty stains (for instance milk) while the latter is favoured due to its less foamy qualities an fabric-cleaning effect. Ultimately there are a lot of information available and many different opinions: experiment for yourself and only use small amounts to find the best cleaning product for your home.
  • Baking soda – another improvised cleaning product that does it better than most of the branded products. Not just for carpets, it cleans just about anything and neutralises smells. It will need hovering up after use, otherwise can be mixed with water.
  • Shaving foam – another famous treatment for carpet stains, it’s reputed to lift the most stubborn spills. Use followed by baking soda for the best effect.
  • Carpet samples – if you’re considering using a strong, bleach based cleaner like hydrogen peroxide, keeping old carpet samples or even excess cut-offs from your carpet installation can be a useful way to test for possible damage before you unleash chemicals on your floor.

How to clean coffee stains on carpet

  • Act fast- soak as much as possible. Blot around the edge of the stain to avoid spreading it around.
  • Use a mix of warm water and a very small amount of washing up liquid- no more than a teaspoonful.
  • Use a soft cloth or duster in a gentle, circular motion.
  • Remember that even though you’re probably keen to get rid of the stain, avoid scrubbing the carpet too hard as this will damage the fibres.
  • Go over the area again with a mix of 1:3 white vinegar or lemon juice to warm water, using a different cloth.
  • Sponge the area with a dry, clean cloth.

Coffee is a really common problem both for carpets at home and work, and if you have a light carpet it can be especially infuriating! The key with almost all stains is speed- the quicker you can remove it, the less damage it will do. If you’re in a hurry, you can combine the two stages above- add your teaspoon of washing up liquid to water along with the ‘organic’ cleaners- vinegar or lemon juice.



How to clean wine stains on carpet

  • Act fast- soak as much as possible. Blot around the edge of the stain to avoid spreading it around.
  • Pour cold water onto the stain to dilute the remaining wine.
  • Finally, use 3:1 baking soda and water to absorb the wine, which can then be hovered away!


Like coffee, red wine is a major carpet-ruiner, and both are as popular to drink as they are deadly to carpets- staying on top of stains by blotting, then scrubbing any stains helps limit the damage done to your carpet or rug.


 How to clean mud stains on carpet

  • Let the mud dry. Resist the temptation to wipe it as this could spread it around.
  • Vacuum as much of the dried up as you can. Be really thorough- you’ll want to try and get as much as possible so make several passes.
  • Use a mixture of cleaner or a small amount of white vinegar and warm water to lightly clean the carpet- spray it on or blot with a clean cloth. This should remove the stain.
  • If you choose to use the vinegar option above, baking soda will shift any lingering smell, although it should disappear naturally once dried.

Mud is one of the most common carpet complaints, especially in homes with children or pets. Fortunately it’s fairly easy to shift, with a little patience, a vacuum cleaner and some household basics!


How to clean pet urine out of carpet

  • Act fast- soak as much as possible. Blot around the edge of the stain to avoid spreading it around.
  • Pour a 1:1 mix of white vinegar or dishwashing soap and warm water onto the stain- unlike grime this requires deep penetration into the fibres so be generous. Make sure the liquid is entirely soaked in.
  • Use a brush to thoroughly scrub the area.
  • Once the carpet is completely scrubbed, use a clean cloth to blot the area before sprinkling with baking soda. This can be hoovered up easily.

Accidents happen- if you have several pets, especially young ones still being housebroken, it’s something you’ll definitely be familiar with. Keeping on top of stains means prolonging your carpet’s life while also keeping nasty odours at bay.


Finally, how to get old stains out of carpet?


So you discover a long-forgotten stain left crusting on your carpet: what do you do, short of hiring a professional cleaning service or replacing your carpet? As mentioned repeatedly above, speed is of the essence when dealing with stains: delays mean drying, which means problems. But what if it’s too late?

  • Hoover- a dry stain can usually be lifted –or at least lessened- by a course of intensive hoovering. Most stains are unlikely to go with a single pass with a hoover- so keep going until it begins to lift. Only if it doesn’t shift, or some remains, should you consider wetting the stain.
  • Break out the chemicals- lovers of old-time home economics and eco-cleaners look away now. It’s always worth avoiding harsh chemicals on your floor, but if you find the stain is fully dug in, you may need to crack open the big brands or similar strong floor cleaners to shift it. Fortunately there are lots of specialised products available for all kinds of different cleaning purposes, as well widely available omni-purpose cleaners. Hydrogen peroxide can break down many stains, for instance, however you should always test it on an unused corner of your carpet before using on a stain. Keeping carpet samples can prove useful for this. Mix your cleaner with water in a weak solution, and use sparing from a spray bottle. Keep windows open to prevent dangerous vapours.
  • Be careful using chemical cleaners, especially on material like wool, which can be extremely susceptible to bleaching: if in doubt, use a ‘test area’ or sample to check the effect, and always err on the side of caution when mixing with water- very often a very weak solution will do.


Finally, while some staining, and general wear-and-tear, is part of normal home life, if you’re worried your new carpet might face more than the usual damage, make sure you choose a durable, hard-to-stain carpet fibre, for instance acrylic or triexta, which are known for stain resistance. If in doubt, come to our Sheffield showroom and learn more about how anti-stain fibres can protect your floor from mess.


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