Tips and Advice
The best tip I can give you is to act very quickly and as soon after a spill/accident as possible. The longer you leave something on a carpet, the better chance you have of it becoming a permanent stain.
Anything you do is better than nothing, but essentially, with solid spills you need to quickly remove as much of the solid matter as possible, get some hot water (mixed with a mild detergent, colourless if possible and towels). Get your water very hot and do not worry about the temperature damaging the carpet (after all, a professional machine will be delivering water at almost boiling point). Begin by blotting at the stain with a towel dipped in the really hot water.
DO NOT RUB!
Rubbing will firstly squash the solid matter/stain further into the carpet and secondly will quite probably damage the carpet fibres… they’ll be furry and you’ll see the damage easily when you’ve finished. After blotting, use your towel again and either stand on it, or put a heavy weight on it. Do not worry about getting the carpet wet; again you’re not going to cause damage wetting it. It’s better to dilute the spill than to allow it to go dry and in doing so, possibly permanently stain the carpet.
Use the above method for all food spills and/or ‘pet accidents’. You could always consider phoning a professional to sort it out for you…
For little accidents from your ‘furry friends’. My clients often have cats and dogs, and I occasionally get introduced to a ‘house rabbit’!. These pets can be prone to having ‘little accidents’, and when this happens you really do have to act really quickly. Pets tend to pass ammonia in their urine. This ammonia is a bleaching agent. Enough said? It’ll dye your carpets permanently yellow/orange. The best action for you to take is to get into the ‘accident’ with towels and hot water, fast.
DO NOT use products that may contain bleach!
Mixing bleach and ammonia is very dangerous and could result in Chloramine Vapour (Mustard Gas) being formed. Don’t do it. These products are also usually very sticky, and when dry will attract lots of passing dust and dirt this filters through your home. Then the stain will look worse. Also, if the product does contain bleach, it’ll dye your carpets white and you’ll have defeated the object. Your pets’ urine has already possibly bleached the carpet; so why add products that make it worse?? You need to use towels and hot water again, don’t be afraid to get the carpet wet (don’t soak it though) and really do all you can to dilute and remove the ‘accident’.
For wet spills, the most frequent question I get asked is ‘shall I pour white wine on my red wine spill’? My answer is that if you have spilled a little red wine, then maybe a little white wine will help to remove it and ought to be followed up with a good hot water rinse. If however you’ve spilled a larger amount of red wine, and the backing of the carpet has been wetted by it, you’re only going to make the matter worse by pouring more alcohol on it; you’ll help to rot the backing of the carpet. Use the same method as above and work from the outside of the spill towards the middle. You could consider using dry kitchen towels, folded into a pad. You’ll probably use 2 whole rolls in a decent attempt to remove, or soak up the red wine spill. It’s not a quick job, but stick at it and you’ll be sure to get all or most of the stain cleaned away.
I think preventative action is always the best action. Ask your guests to remove their shoes. Be very careful not to drop or spill food/drinks. Keep a close eye on what your children are doing in their bedrooms. Girls seem to like to ‘borrow’ mum’s make-up and liberally spread it over their bedroom carpet. Teenage girls often like to spill alcopops and pretend it’s something like Coca-Cola. Boys like to spill paints. Children also like to tread blu-tac into carpets. This stuff can cause damage upon removal. While I remember…teenage girls also like to put hair straighteners on carpets, regardless of temperature. On a woollen carpet this will scorch it. On a man-made carpet it’ll melt it. With most make-ups, it’s always a 50-50 chance as to whether or not it will remove easily upon cleaning, depending on the brand of the make-up and what’s in it, and also the fibres in the carpet. Quite often, a man-made carpet will clean much better and easier than a woollen one. At the end of the day, you should consider calling me out to fix things properly. I’m always happy to help.
I could write pages and pages of this stuff. I think I’ve made my point though. There aren’t any hard and fast rules here, just try your best and whatever you do, do it quickly.
Call me ASAP though, and hopefully I’ll be able to visit you soon after the accident and help you to put it right.