How To Clean Every Type of Carpet Stain

This Old House

Red wine, coffee, food, oil, wax — at some point or another they're likely to end up on your rug. Knowing how to clean and remove the stains can be a little tricky, but with a little direction and a few basic ingredients, even a white rug can be saved without ruining its fibers. Because no matter how hard we try to avoid it, our rugs will eventually get stained — find out the basics, and the specifics on how to save your rug after the jump.

According to This Old House's experts, each stain should be treated the same basic method: blot the stain working from the outside in, rinse thoroughly with clean water, then blot again and repeat until dry. "Never scrub the carpet, or you risk ruining the carpet fibers or letting the spill soak through to the carpet pad." Even if you don't have any significant stains, rugs and carpets should be steam cleaned by yourself or a professional to remove any unseen allergens, dirt and mold.

For more specific stains, follow these directions from This Old House:

Water-Soluble Stains: Use a simple cleaning solution made up of 1/4 teaspoon of non-bleach detergent (or white vinegar) mixed with 32 ounces of water.

Special Water-Soluble Stains (blood, chocolate, coffee, mustard, tea, vomit and wine): Try 1 tablespoon of ammonia mixed with 1 cup of water (but not on wool or wool-blend carpet; instead use mild detergent and water).

Fat, Oil, and Wax: Place a paper towel over the carpet and iron on warm setting. The wax, fat, or oil should come up off the carpet and stick to the paper towel.

Cigarette Burns: These can be removed by gently rubbing the pile with the edge of a hard and flat surface, such as a dull knife.

Glue: Moisten a cotton ball or soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and press it on the affected area. Once the glue residue is thoroughly moistened, gently wipe it off and repeat until the carpet is clean.

Wax and Gum: Use ice to freeze the wax or gum, then shatter it with a blunt object, such as a spoon. Vacuum before the pieces soften, and blot the carpet with a white towel.

Nail Polish: Blot the area with a rag dipped in nail polish remover.

Urine: Absorb as much as possible with white towels, then blot with a damp, cool cloth. Next, spray or blot with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water. Finally, apply a solution of 1/2 teaspoon of clear, mild, non-bleach detergent mixed with 32 ounces of water, rinse, and blot dry.

For more details, read the entire article at ThisOldHouse.com.

(Image: How To Create a Quick, Cheap Rug)