Stain Removal Guide for Rugs

Every year millions of Americans clean their carpets, but how clean are they really?

Time is of the essence when your rug becomes stained. Remember to blot — not rub — the stain and remove moisture from spills as quickly as possible.

  • Alcohol and soft drinks: Use a solution of 1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent, 1 quart of warm water, and 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. Apply to the stain, rinse, then blot dry.
  • Coffee or tea: Using the detergent mix above, apply to stain, rinse, and blot. If a stain remains, use a commercial spot carpet cleaner.
  • Fat based stains: For foods such as butter, margarine, or gravy, use a dry-solvent spot carpet cleaner solvent spot carpet cleaner.
  • Gum: Peel off what you can, then put ice cubes in a plastic bag and harden the gum, scraping the gum off with a spoon or dull knife. Vacuum and use a dry-solvent spot cleaner if needed.
  • Paint: For acrylic and latex paint, while the stain is still wet, spot-clean with the detergent solution. If color remains, dab with rubbing alcohol. For oil-base paint, sponge with odorless mineral spirits, being careful not to soak through to the backing.
  • Tomato sauce: Sponge with cool water, dab with detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner. Rinse with a solution of 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups of water and blot until dry.
  • Urine, feces, and vomit: Apply detergent solution or a citrus-oxygen cleaner, rinse, and blot until dry.
  • Melted wax: Use the same treatment as gum, hardening it with ice cubes in a plastic bag and scraping. Dampen a clean white cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and blot to remove any remaining wax.