Carpets are often something we overlook when cleaning our homes. Sure, we run a vacuum cleaner over them simultaneously, dusting and sweeping the tiled floors, but how often do we clean those carpets? We change the wallpaper or paint regularly, but how often do we change our carpets? But when you think about it, carpets see more traffic than our walls do by a long way; all those dirty shoes and the kids rolling around with mud, grass, and food all over them.
Then there is playtime, the paint, crayons, sequins, and glue that invariably end up lying on or in our carpets, getting ingrained over the course of years. And don’t get me started on the marks left by our four-legged friends and their various messes.
It helps if you can first identify the stains you are trying to remove, but it is optional as we will cover various household stains to keep your carpets fresh and clean. All the methods we’re including shouldn’t take you too long to apply, but you should devote enough time to getting this done for the best results.
Tips on Getting Paint out of Carpet
Before beginning work on your carpets, ensure that all children and pets are away from the areas you will be working in and that you can ventilate the rooms for a while. In contrast, you work and, after you have finished, allow any fumes to dissipate and the air to be safe for those at home.
When removing dried paint, you will need to work in stages, so ensure that you have enough time to take all necessary steps before beginning the process. First, we’ll target the crusty paint that has dried onto the carpet’s surface, the part you can see and feel immediately underfoot.
To remove the dried paint stains, use a paint removal agent, ensuring no bleach or other chemicals could ruin the carpet’s fibers. (If in doubt, do a patch test on an unseen carpet.) Once this has been generously applied to the paint stains on the carpet, allow a short period to soak into the paint. Then, use a flat-edged implement to lift as much paint as possible from the carpet. Make sure to dig into the carpet sparingly, as this would ruin the carpet, and you would need to replace it. Make sure you clean the implement you regularly use to avoid spreading the stains to other carpet areas.
Once you’ve cleared the surface areas of the paint, you next need to target the stains on the fibers. These parts of the paint have dried further down throughout the carpet. We’ve found the easiest way to do this is with your standard dishwashing soap. Mix this with hot water, preferably in a spray bottle and apply sparingly to the carpet – you want this to wet the carpet enough that you can work with the fibers but not so much that it will soak the bottom layer of the carpet or you risk doing all of this only to cause mold to grow and a replacement carpet to become necessary.
Once the soapy mixture has been applied, you should use an undyed cloth to dab at the carpet to remove the stain – be prepared for this to be time-consuming and for it to cost you a number of these clothes. We’ve found undyed clothes to be the only way to do this satisfactorily, as using dyed clothes can transfer the dye from the cloth onto your carpet instead of the stain to the cloth. This is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve, so it would not be beneficial.
Once you have removed all the stains, you need to wait an hour for your work to show, as your carpet will need to dry. If the stains are still showing after the carpet has dried, repeat the above steps until the carpet is clean.
Next, we’ll look at getting those tougher pet stains out of the carpet. For this type of stain, you will need heavier-duty cleaning materials such as household ammonia. Fair warning, this one is not something you want to do with pets or small children in the house, and you will need to leave time for this to air out afterward.
We recommend opening the windows before making a start to ensure that air is circulating throughout the room and home, so make sure you are doing this on a dry and breezy day.
The smell won’t linger for too long once you’ve finished the work, but it is not a pleasant substance to work with, so you may want to cover your nose and mouth for comfort’s sake, but this is not essential. To make up the solution, mix two tablespoons of unscented household ammonia into one cup of hot water and spray onto the stains – again, ensure you don’t spray too much or too deeply into the carpet but enough to ensure the fibers are coated.
The best way we have found to get the coating onto the fibers is by using a stiff-bristled scrubbing brush. After applying the solution, allow it to soak into the fibers for an hour. Again, before doing this, you should use a test swatch on an unseen piece of carpet to ensure that there is no damage depending on your carpet type.
Following the ammonia soaking, get those clean, undyed cloths back out to work over the new areas blotting the stains. Once the stains have been removed, use a damp undyed cloth over the same areas to ensure all excess ammonia has been neutralized. You have one more step left to go now: those unidentified stains and the final cleaning of the carpet to remove the chemicals you’ve been using.
Our final steps are to remove the stains. You can’t know for sure what they are; let’s face it, we’ve all had a few of those in our time. One of the best ways to remove these stains is by using the ammonia tip from above combined with heat. Ensure your iron is full of water and set to steam (make sure you use the right heat level for the type of carpets you have – high for wool and low for synthetic/nylon).
Remove those clean, undyed cloths and place them over the stain. Steam the stain for no more than 20 seconds, ensuring your iron is constantly moving to avoid sticking and burning your carpet. Ensure you are constantly using clean parts of the cloths as the ammonia and heat will move the stain onto the cloth, and the last thing you want is to put it straight back onto your carpet in a different location.
So, you’re almost done! Now that you have treated each stain individually, you’ll see that your carpet looks cleaner but patchy – there will be parts that look cleaner than others because you have addressed only the stained sections. So now, you need to clean the whole carpet; time to get the shampoo out. If you already have a carpet cleaner, that’s a great start. If not, you can hire them for a reasonable price if you shop around, and you can often choose how long you keep the equipment.
Firstly, use just plain hot water, you have already applied multiple cleaning products to your carpet, and there will still be quite a bit of moisture on the carpet, so make sure you cover the whole carpet and especially the parts you’ve used ammonia on as you don’t want that resting in the carpet for too long.
Secondly, use the carpet cleaner again, mix one part white wine vinegar with three parts water, and go over the stains again; this will neutralize any leftover residues from the chemicals and ensure those stains are treated thoroughly. Ensure that you leave a bit longer for the carpet to dry out as you’ve used so many products one after another, and of course, ensure that all products you use are safe for those in your home, whether humans or animals.
Finally, use your usual cleaning regime on your carpets once everything is dried, and you will see the difference without those stains.
Hello, My name is Shari & I am a writer for the ‘Outlook AppIns’ blog. I’m a CSIT graduate & I’ve been working in the IT industry for 3 years.