Removing carpet spots and stains after all the dining, dancing and drinking are over

What a Party! What a Mess!!

by Robert Kravitz

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It's that time of year. Family, friends, gatherings, you know, a little craziness. And don't think you are the only one feeling the effects, take a look at your poor carpet and floor. They are taking a beating along with everyone else and it shows!

Here are some tips to help remove spots and stains after all the dancing, drinking and dining are over. But first, here are a few some suggestions concerning any spill or accident on the floor. Always try and clean up a spill as soon as it happens. The longer it sits, the more likely it will become a stain. Never "rub" a spill or a stain. This just spreads it around. Always "dab" it with a clean cloth or towel. And finally, take the test! Whatever you are using to cleanup a spill, try it first in an inconspicuous area first to make sure it is safe.

Well, let's begin. In most cases, I tried to suggest a solution that is handy around the house. These can do the job, are often safer and environmentally safer than the chemicals purchased at the store or at a janitorial supply house. However, if they do not work, check with a supply house in your area. There are many excellent products which do work cleaning miracles.

  1. Oh No, red wine: Hold on. It's OK. Blot up as much as possible. Apply a cool detergent cleaner like dish detergent mixed with cool water. Next, if it is still there, try a little vinegar, dabbing the area with a towel. Rinse and dry and see if it is gone. You can also try some hydrogen bleach, similar to what is found in Snowy or Clorox II. Do not use chlorine bleach
  2. One beer too many. If this one is on the floor, blot up as much as possible. Then apply the dish detergent again and dab it up. Use the vinegar again and then rinse with cool water. (In most cases, it is best not to use hot water. The heat often turns a spill into a stain.)
  3. Well, at least that chocolate is not on my hips! Scrape off as much as possible. Again, apply cool dish detergent and blot it up. Usually this is all you need. You can also try some ammonia if it persists or an enzyme detergent. You can find enzyme detergents at most grocery stores and even major hardware stores. Read the label carefully!
  4. Oh gosh, here comes the ice cream. Again, same as above. Dish detergent or ammonia or vinegar or the enzyme detergent. Always start with the dish detergent with most spills. If you get them quick enough, this one step will do the job.
  5. Isn't that Jane's lipstick on the wall? Let's clean it up. Dab it with some paint, oil or grease remover found at most hardware stores. Use it very sparingly so it does not remove the wall paint as well. Be very careful to dab and not rub, this spot definitely will smear.
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  7. Oh brother, now they are writing on the wall! All right, to remove ink apply some rubbing alcohol. Go over it a couple of times, it should lighten up after each application. If it's still there, try a little rust remover found in a hardware store. You can also try some bleach. Just be gentle so the bleach does not discolor the surface. Works best on a glossy paint.
  8. Hey, that egg missed the eggnog! Blot it up as much as possible and as quickly as possible. The yolk will stain a carpet and even a linoleum floor. Get the dish detergent out again. If attended to quickly, this will do the job. You can also try the enzyme detergent mentioned earlier. Try to keep the area moist while help is on the way.
  9. Get out the coffee, let's get these folks home! You have to get coffee stains as quickly as possible. Often in offices, the carpets get covered with coffee spills from people walking with their coffee cups. In these situations, the only real way to get the stain out is to have the carpets steam cleaned. If you can catch it quick enough, dab it up with a clean cloth. Use the dish detergent again (if you still have any left) and dab it some more. You can also try vinegar or the enzyme detergent if the coffee stain has dried.

In most cases, if treated quickly enough, a spill can easily be removed and will cause no harm. If you have tried a couple of techniques and are still having problems, don't hesitate to contact a janitorial supply house. They have all types of spot removing products. For your carpets, it is a very good idea to have them professionally cleaned at least once per year. If you have children and pets, you might want to consider twice per year. Cleaning your carpets keeps them looking good and lasting longer. Dirt and spills actually eat away at the carpet fibers. A good carpet cleaner will be familiar with all kinds of spills and stains and can make your carpet look terrific.

Happy Holiday!

Robert Kravitz has been in the janitorial business for 30 years. He is the author of two books on the industry as well as several articles. He may be reached directly through his website at

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