Removing tough stains from carpets

Carpets continue to be the most popular choice of flooring in the UK. The fibrous material which carpets are made from is great for sound insulation and underfoot comfort, but many would agree that when it comes to removing stains it can be one of the more tricky types of flooring to attend to.

As carpets get older you might start to notice that areas which receive high footfall, such as doorways, start to discolour as very gradually dirt from shoes or socks is brought into the house and on to the carpet.

Inevitably, you’re going to reach a point where the carpet could use a really thorough clean. This can be performed by you, but professional carpet cleaners are also a great option, especially for large carpeted areas.

If you are tackling the job yourself then make sure you use Woolsafe approved products. These are cleaning products that have been approved by carpet manufacturers to ensure that they will not cause any damage to the carpet after use. There are two main types of carpet cleaners you can use, carpet cleaning powder and carpet shampoo. Here’s a quick guide to using both:

For powders

1. Sprinkle the powder over the area of carpet you wish to clean

2. Leave powder for at least 30 minutes, although overnight would be better. This gives the cleaner time to soften up any stains

3. Vacuum up the powder once you’re done

For shampoos

1. Make up the shampoo solution as directed on the packaging. Typically this will involve diluting the product with water. Make sure you get this solution right, as too strong and you could risk damaging the carpet, too weak and it won’t be powerful enough to clean properly

2. Cover the area you wish to treat with the shampoo

3. Scrub in the shampoo on stained areas using a brush

4. Let the carpet dry

5. Vacuum the shampoo once it’s dried

For professional cleaners, the same rules apply. Make sure that they are using Woolsafe products, as this is the only way to ensure that your carpet is not going to be damaged in the cleaning process. Check out reviews online for local carpet cleaners, as this is a great way to find and compare cleaners in your close geographic area.

For one off stains, you probably won’t need to forgo a full carpet clean. Whether its toddlers spilling food, coffee stains from guests or the odd clumsy moment with a glass of red wine - stains are often unavoidable. Ultimately, the first thing you should be aware of is time, as the quicker you attend to the stain the better. If you allow time for the stain to soak into the carpet fibres it’s going to be much more difficult to remove.

Here are some more general rules for stain removal:

  • Soak up liquids with white kitchen roll, tissues, toilet roll or a clean cloth
  • Scoop up or scrape off solids
  • Try to identify unknown spots prior to treatment, this will make sure you’ve got the right product the tackle the job
  • Blot and dab, don’t attempt to rub or drag the stain out. This could result in a much bigger problem!
  • Use small quantities of spot/stain remover at a time, applied to a cloth and not directly to the stain

For more tips on cleaning your floors, please read our guide on how to maintain and clean your floors and carpets.

  • 28 Jul 2015