Carpet Stain Spotting Guide


“Blotting” and “applying” are the basic steps of any carpet cleanup. Start by blotting up the spill using clean white absorbent materials like terry cloth or paper towels. Work from the outer edge to the center. Keep turning or replacing the towel so a fresh surface is always being applied to the carpet. Gently scrape up solids with the edge of a spoon.

While you work, keep an eye on the towel. As long as you are getting the color of the spill on the towel you are making progress. Keep blotting until you are not getting any more transfer to your towel. Never rub. Rubbing can fuzz or distort carpet fibers, as well as spread the stain.

Before applying anything, try to identify the source of the stain. Different stains require different cleaning procedures. Always pretest in an inconspicuous spot any cleaning solution you are going to use. Without over-wetting, apply a retail spotting agent or better solutions available through us. (Call us for more information.)Use clean white unprinted materials.

Never use all-purpose spray cleaners, bleach, or alkaline detergents – You can damage your carpeting.

When you have cleaned up and rinsed as best you can get a thickness of fresh towels. Place them on the spot and put a weight on top of it, like a glass or ceramic dish. This will work as a poultice and help draw out more of the spot.

Basic Steps

  1. Using a white absorbent cloth or paper towels, blot up or scoop up as much of the spill as possible. Never rub. Rubbing can alter the texture of the carpet.
  2. Apply (without over wetting) clean warm (not hot) water to the stained area. Blot up firmly to remove as much moisture as possible. Repeat until there’s no stain or no further transfer of stain.
  3. If stain remains on the carpet, apply (without over wetting) a solution of warm water and mild non-bleach liquid laundry detergent (1 teaspoon to 1-quart water). Clear mild dishwashing liquid, without additives like hand softners or scents, is also ok. Let stand for about 5 minutes.
  4. IMPORTANT STEP: Blot up the detergent. Then apply clear warm water (without over wetting) Blot up water. Once again apply clear warm water. Blot up water. Repeat until all detergent is removed. Detergent residue accelerates re-soiling!
  5. Absorb remaining moisture with layers of white paper towels weighted down overnight with a non-staining glass or ceramic object.
  6. When completely dry, vacuum or brush the pile to restore texture. After drying, if the stain reappears, it may because some of the stain remained deep in the pile and “wick’d” up to the surface. If so repeat steps 3 to 6. If the stain remains, give us a call.

Stain Source

Identify the source of the stain. Check the list below for stain type and its corresponding letter(s). Follow the lettered instructions under “Complex”. All numbers relate to the steps under “Basic”. Regardless of the source, immediately clean up as much stain as possible.

Call us if you have a difficult spot. We are just a phone call away and we have lots of experience in removing tough spots and stains. Pet stains, in particular, often require special treatment.