The holidays are prime time for family, fun, and food. Unfortunately, spills and drips are par for the course. A tablecloth or your clothes can be removed, treated and washed to take care of the stains. But what do you do when it ends up on your carpet, rug or the dining chair? You can't just throw them in the washing machine, unfortunately.
Spills don't need to ruin the party or your carpet. Most common stains can be easily removed on the spot at home with supplies you already own, leaving a full carpet cleaning for a later date. Just as long as you take care of them right away, that is.
Sailing through from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve stain-free is not an easy task, so here is the information to help you along the way:
Every stain requires a slightly different approach, but there are similar techniques and some home supplies which are good to keep around at home. For a list of techniques and supplies, scroll down beneath the table. Plus, before you jump ahead and use ammonia or hydrogen peroxide, please read our caution comment carefully!
It's almost a rule that someone will spill their drink at the holiday meal, red wine splashing across the table to drip onto the carpet. Red wine is notorious for hard-to-remove stains, so take care of it right away.
Salt, Detergent solution and/or vinegar solution
Blot the stain with an absorbent cloth. Then, using another cloth, apply detergent solution or vinegar solution to stain, and blot again with the absorbent cloth. Since these stains are hard to remove, do not try more aggressive methods yourself, but call a professional. Applying salt to a fresh stain will keep it from setting.
What would turkey and mashed potatoes be without gravy? That is, until it makes a mess on the floor. Because it's thick, you can remove it off the surface of the carpet with a spoon.
Tissue, a spoon or a dull knife. Baking soda or corn starch, and detergent solution or dry cleaning solvent for blotting.
1. Scrape off excess gravy with a blunt knife or spoon, wiping it onto a paper towel.
2. Cover the area with baking soda or corn starch and wait 15 minutes before vacuuming. Blot any remaining spot with a cloth moistened with dry cleaning solvent.
3. If the stain does not come out completely, follow up with detergent solution.
The dinner rolls are still warm and fragrant from the oven. You butter it up just as one of the kids hurries by. Why does bread always land butter side down?
Baking soda or corn starch, and for deeper cleaning - detergent or vinegar solution.
Apply baking soda or corn starch generously on the stain. Give it 15 minutes to absorb the fat. Vacuum thoroughly. Blot with detergent or vinegar solution to remove any remaining stain or residue.
Kids love ketchup and mustard. You don't love it when globs of ketchup get everywhere. Just make sure to clean up with cool water - heat will caramelize the sugar and make a big mess.
Detergent / vinegar solution. Ammonia for harder stains
Remove any excess with a spoon or dull knife. Use cloth to apply detergent or vinegar solution, wait 3-5 minutes and blot the liquids with a clean absorbent cloth. The solution must be cool, not warm or hot.
If any stain remains, an ammonia solution may help. If you're not sure what you're doing, call a professional cleaning service.
What would Thanksgiving be without pumpkin pie? And if anyone is clumsy, with a splotch of orangey-brown decorating the carpet.
Tissue, dull knife and detergent solution
Scrape the excess with a dull knife, wiping the knife on a tissue or paper towel. If there is whipped cream or greasy residue, treat as grease. Otherwise detergent solution should do the trick.
Kids and spaghetti sauce. There's a reason why everyone takes a picture of the first time their kid eats spaghetti. Plastic sheeting could help contain the mess, but who wants plastic sheeting with guests around?
Detergent first, vinegar later. Ammonia for harder cases.
Scrape up any solid pieces, and then blot to remove the excess. Blot with detergent solution, followed by vinegar solution if required. Use ammonia solution for stubborn, difficult to budge tomato stains.
Classic red or electric blue - when it's on your carpet, what can you do? If It can be used as hair dye, think about what it can do to your carpet!
Cloth, and then - detergent, vinegar, ammonia
Blot with absorbent cloth to remove excess, then use the solutions in escalating order: detergent, vinegar, ammonia. Apply solution with another cloth, and use absorbent cloth to blot the solution. Repeat as necessary.
Everybody needs a thirst quencher during the big holiday meals. Unfortunately, these sweet delights can create stubborn stains.
Cloth, detergent, vinegar, worst case - hydrogen peroxide
Blot away excess moisture with absorbent cloth. Use another cloth to apply plain water or detergent or vinegar solution. Blot away with absorbent cloth.
For juice - If the detergent solution doesn't work, moisten with hydrogen peroxide and wait one hour before blotting.
A sweet tooth is easy to handle. Sugar and candy stains might be a little harder to defeat. Especially if it's colorful and full of dye, like holiday treats.
Detergent solution. Afterward hydrogen peroxide.
If it is very sticky or gooey, use an ice cube in a plastic bag to freeze & harden the candy first. Scrape off excess with a dull knife or a spoon. If the carpet is stained, apply detergent
It doesn't take a detective to figure it out. The trail of dirty, muddy, dirty footprints - the kids must have left their boots on again.
Detergent Hydrogen peroxide for remainder
If the mud is wet, allow it to dry. Scrape up the excess particles and vacuum. Apply detergent solution and blot with an absorbent cloth. If a mark remains, apply hydrogen peroxide, wait one hour, and then blot again with water.
The most common technique for cleaning stains is blotting. If you don't know how to blot, we're here to tell you how. Even if you do know how, you may find our tips useful as well. HOW TO BLOT LIKE A PRO:
Some stains are relatively easy to get out, others seemingly impossible. No matter the stain's source, try to treat it while it's still fresh. Once it sets into the fibers, it will be harder to remove.
First of all, you'll need a few supplies to give first aid. Depending on the stain type, you may need:
These are all made to weaken the stains before they settle in the fibers of the carpet.
To handle most stains and remove them completely, you'll need these solutions:
* Don't ever use ammonia on a wool carpet or rug - it will destroy the fibers. Ammonia has strong fumes and should only be used in a well-ventilated area. *
Both ammonia and hydrogen peroxide can cause serious damage to fabrics and carpet fibers. Be careful to avoid extended contact with your skin. Ammonia also has strong fumes and can be hazardous to use indoors. If you decide to use them, please read the safety instructions carefully. Furthermore, make sure to test their effect on the fabric or carpet you mean to clean in a hidden place, so you'll know how the fabric or carpet will respond to these active solutions. You don't want to replace a stain with a bleach stain, do you?