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Between tracked-in mud and dirt, spilled food and drinks, as well as pet stains and odours, your carpets are a very easy target for stains. Luckily, with regular maintenance and our simple DIY stain cleaning techniques, you can easily keep your carpets in pristine condition. To keep your carpets looking great, you should try to address any visible stains as soon as they appear, using the appropriate stain removal methods we’ll be discussing later on in the article.

To take care of spills and stains by hand, you will need some of the following tools and supplies, depending on the type of stain you’re dealing with:

  • A vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment

  • A spray bottle with water

  • Microfiber cloth or a towel

  • A spoon

  • A soft nylon bristle brush

  • Store-bought carpet cleaning solution or a home remedy of your choosing (you can check out our suggestions below)

Cleaning stains is always easier to do before they’ve dried, although it’s still possible to remove old stains, so long as you have the right supplies.

How to Treat Fresh Carpet Stains

Fresh stains are much easier to clean if you address them as soon as they occur. To remove fresh stains from your carpet, you should follow this simple yet effective process:

  • Use a spoon to scrape off any solid material off the carpet

  • Use a towel or a microfiber cloth to blot any liquid, be careful not to rub the stain further onto other parts of the carpet

  • Dampen the stain with water by lightly blotting it with a wet microfiber cloth

  • Do not get the spot too wet, as you might soak the padding beneath the carpet and risk mould or mildew to form

  • Apply the appropriate carpet cleaning solution on the carpet, depending on the type of stain you’re dealing with (we’ll cover a few of the best DIY carpet cleaning solutions below)

  • Do not allow the solution to dry on the carpet

  • Gently agitate the area using a soft brush, working from the edge of the stain in towards the centre

  • Try not to spread the stain onto other parts of the carpet

  • Use a towel or a microfiber cloth to absorb the stain and any leftover cleaning product

  • Allow the area to dry completely

  • Vacuum the entire area

How to Treat Older Carpet Stains

While treating older stains is a bit harder than treating fresh ones, there are a few tricks that you can use to attack some of the most common carpet and rug stains even after they’ve set.

Here are a few home or store-bought remedies that you can use:

1. WD-40 and baking soda

This method works best for oil and grease stains. Simply take some WD-40 and spray it onto the stain, soaking the spot. Let the WD-40 sit for a while before you start cleaning the stain. Add some baking soda on top of the stain and push it into the spot using a brush. As you’re pushing it in, you can start scrubbing the stain as well. Use an inward motion, so you don’t spread the stain onto other spots of your carpet. Scrub the stain for at least a few minutes, remove the excess baking soda and check to see if the stain is gone. If not, add a bit more baking soda and continue scrubbing for a few minutes. Once you’re done simply vacuum up the remaining baking soda, and you’re good to go. 

2. Vinegar and dish soap

Combine a ¼ cup of vinegar and two tsp. of dish soap. Soak the spot and use a nylon bristle brush to agitate the area. Scrub the area for at least 5 minutes and let the solution sit. Let it dry for an hour or so and then use a damp sponge to clean up the solution.

3. Dish soap and lukewarm water

This method works best for pet stains, blood, coffee and tea stains. Simply mix ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap with 1 cup of lukewarm water. For more stubborn stains you can mix a solution of one cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle and spray the entire area, making sure you don’t over saturate it. Use a towel or a microfiber cloth to blot the stain dry. Avoid using strong smelling solutions such as those with ammonia or vinegar when it comes to pet urine stains as this may encourage your pet to reinforce the smell in that area, by urinating on the same spot.

4. Iron, a rag and dish soap

Mix one tsp. of dish soap and a cup of hot water. Use the solution to saturate the stains. Soak a rag or a towel in hot water and lay it on top of the stain. Set your iron to medium heat and slowly move it over the rag for 10-15 minutes. Continue ironing until the stain has completely transferred to the rag.