When any kind of liquid other than clean water hits your carpet, the time to act is now, before it has a chance to soak in.
If that liquid is something sure to cause a nasty stain, mud, coffee, red wine or fruit juice, for instance, rapid action is even more urgent.
Blot away the wetness with some absorbent kitchen roll. Alternatively, soak it up with a clean, dry, microfibre cloth.
What happens next depends on the nature of the stain you are dealing with. Use Google to find the best remedy for that specific problem.
Dislodging items stuck to your carpet
Trodden-in mud, dropped food, pet accidents, and dried nail polish are among the many types of solid matter that are tough to shift once they've landed on your carpet. A simple solution is to use the edge of a plastic card or a dull knife to lift the sticky lump away. Work gently and patiently to avoid tearing the carpet fibres.
NEVER try to remove solids by rubbing. This will simply push the dirt deeper into the fibres and make the staining much more severe.
AVOID using hot water as well. Rather than shifting the solids, it will spread the grime and "cook" the material into the surface.
Essential additional tools
A lint roller is something every home should have. These inexpensive little gadgets are perfect for cleaning up crumbs, dirt trodden-in from outdoors and the bigger bits of detritus that accumulate on carpets.
A window-cleaning squeegee is another household tool that comes in handy on carpets, especially if you have furry friends in the house. Dampen the rubber edge, and it will pick up pet hairs faster than you can say Fido.
An oscillating fan can speed up the drying process after deep cleaning, and is convenient if the weather's cool. Please remember not to walk on your newly cleaned carpet until it has completely dried. Your patience will be rewarded when you see how smart it looks.
More carpet cleaning tips and tricks
- Distilled white vinegar. A mixture of one part vinegar to three parts cold tap water is excellent for removing many types of stain and absorbing smells. However, it's essential to test it first on a hidden part of the carpet (under the sofa perhaps) to double-check that it won't cause damage or make the colour run. Always rinse the vinegar away with plenty of cold water afterwards, otherwise it could cause a stain.
- Spray bottle. This is the perfect way to distribute the vinegar and water mixture over the affected area without soaking it more than necessary.
- Baking soda (AKA bicarbonate of soda) is brilliant for removing oily stains and pet urine from carpets. First, sprinkle it plentifully over the stained area and just leave it to absorb the worst of the stain and smell. Then, vacuum up the soda and whatever is left behind.
- Ice cubes and an iron. Ice is perfect for treating those annoying depressions furniture legs and castors leave on carpets. Place the ice on the dent and let it melt. Blot the excess water away, then place a towel over the area and run a warm iron over it. Once the carpet patch has dried, it will be much easier to fluff up to its original state.
- If you are using a proprietary carpet cleaning product, try it on a hidden area first to make sure it won't do any damage.
Planning any more household jobs?
The carpets are pristine; what's next? Whichever home or garden projects you have in mind, from laying a lawn to retiling the bathroom, the HSS blog is a constantly updated source of ideas, inspiration and practical advice. Talk to the helpful team in your local HSS branch too. They'll make sure you choose the right equipment to simplify even the trickiest task.