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Tackling the Toughest Stains: Why They're So Tough, and How to Remove Them

June 01, 2018

Posted by D. A. Burns

Tackling the Toughest Stains: Why They

Spills and stains are a fact of life, but they don’t have to ruin your installed carpet or area rugs. And, there are things you can do proactively to protect your textile furnishings before stains occur … and to remove them once they happen. In this post, we’ll cover both situations and share some specifics about a few of the most common stains.

Coffee Spills

When you’re just waking up it’s easier to be clumsy and spill your morning cup of coffee. Don’t worry—even if you fear the stain is there to stay, there are things you can do to eliminate it.

  • First, using an absorbent white cloth or paper towels, blot the spill as soon as it happens. If your carpet has been treated with a stain-resistant protectant, this may be the only step needed.
  • If color remains, apply D. A. Burns Spot Off Carpet Spotter, or a detergent solution that includes 1 teaspoon of clear, mild liquid dishwashing detergent in 1 cup of lukewarm water, and blot again.
  • Still color left?  A solution of 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water can make remaining tannin residue colorless.
  • If the coffee contains milk or cream, an application of a commercial enzyme detergent such as Nature’s Miracle® may help.

Red Wine Stains

A red wine may be the right drink for either a lively dinner party or a quiet night by the fire.  It’s also one of the most common spills—and one of the toughest stains to get out of carpets.

If it happens to you, don’t panic.

  • As with a coffee spill, blot the spill with an absorbent white cloth or paper towels to remove as much liquid as possible.
  • If color remains, apply D.A. Burns Spot Off Carpet Spotter or a detergent solution that includes 1 teaspoon of clear, mild liquid dishwashing detergent in 1 cup of cool water, and blot again.
  • If the stain remains, mix 1 tablespoon of household ammonia with 1/2 cup of warm water and apply to the stained area.  (Please note: applying a stronger ammonia solution could be harmful to the fibers.)
  • A solution of 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water may be applied to remove the last traces of color.  Blot as before.
  • Apply clear water and blot.

Pet Accidents

The most unpredictable family members—and sometimes the most active outdoor players—are the pets of the household. Accidents happen, the good news is that they don’t have to mean the end of your carpet.

Urine:

  • Blot up as much liquid as possible, if still wet.  
  • Next, apply the D.A. Burns Spot Off Carpet Spotter or the detergent mixture we mentioned above. Blot again.
  • If the stain persists, apply 1 tablespoon of household ammonia mixed with a 1/2 cup of warm water. Blot.
  • After that, follow with a solution of 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water.
  • Last, rinse with clear water and blot dry.

For more information on treating pet stains, read our blog Why Are Pet Stains So Challenging?

Rug and Carpet Protection

Though most carpet sold today is pre-treated with a stain-resistant coating, that protectant will wear away with normal use. Most carpet manufacturers recommend the re-application of stain protectant, each time the carpet is cleaned, to ensure that the soil and stain protection is restored.

While no protectant will completely prevent permanent staining, most “accidents” will be much easier to remove, reducing the risk of unsightly discoloration. By resisting soil attraction, a protector also keeps the overall carpet looking cleaner longer.

At D. A. Burns, we view the Scotchgard Protector™ we use as inexpensive ‘insurance’ for Keeping Up Appearances … the retention of that like-new appearance of your carpets and area rugs.

To learn how to treat a variety of other stains including grease, makeup and chocolate, see our full Carpet Spot Removal Guide. To inquire about our cleaning services, request a complimentary service proposal or make a cleaning appointment, contact us today.

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