It happens to everyone at some time or another. Regardless of how cautious you are in an attempt to prevent accidents that may lead to carpet stains, accidents happen. If you are like most people your first instinct is to grab a towel and start scrubbing and if that doesn’t work, you get out a cleaner or two and hope that at least one of them will work. The bad news is scrubbing and using over-the-counter carpet cleaning products may be the worst thing you can do to remove carpet spills. So you shouldn’t use cleaners, and you’ve already spilled something this winter — now what?

Blotting, Not Rubbing the Spill

If your first reaction, like most people, was to grab a towel and start scrubbing, you’re partially correct. You should grab a towel as quickly as possible, but instead of scrubbing, you should blot. It is important to remove as much of the spill as possible, but when you scrub the spill, the liquid is only being pushed down into the fibers of the carpet. When liquid gets spilled on the carpet, the carpet works like a sponge, so the spill is absorbed into the bottom of the carpet, and the carpet pad and the size of the spill is about twice the size underneath as it is on top of the carpet. The most effective way to remove the liquid is to use a couple of towels and blot, do not rub, just keep blotting. Use both of your hands to blot up the liquid, starting from the outside and moving in towards the center. If you do it this way instead of pushing down on the towel, you are pulling the liquid up and out, as opposed to pushing the liquid in, which makes the spot larger. A shop vac or other device that is designed to extract water-based liquids will also work, but remember to work from the outside towards the center.

Get a Glass of Water

Once you have absorbed as much of the spill as you possibly can, it’s time for the next step, which is to get a glass of water (purified preferably, but distilled or tap work as well). Pour a small amount of the water in the area where the spill occurred and blot again (from the outside in). Continue to pour small amounts of water and blotting until the majority of the spill has been removed. Water is actually a solvent, according to the dictionary that states a solvent is typically a liquid capable of dissolving another substance and water does just that. It is also neutral on the pH scale, so it will slightly neutralize and dilute water-based spills, which help to reduce the possibility of staining.

After you have blotted out as much water as possible from the carpet, get a few more dry towels and lay them over the area of the spill. Use something heavy to weight down the towels and let this set for about 12 hours. This will help to absorb any water that is remaining as well as any residue from the spill. Moisture seeks the driest area, so any water that is remaining in the area will bypass the top fibers of the carpet surface and be absorbed into the towels.

After the area is dry, if there is discoloration or a spot, contact a professional carpet cleaning service, such as Chet’s Cleaning. They will have the appropriate techniques and chemicals necessary to effectively remove the stain.

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