Spots and Spills on your Carpet:
A General Guide
It's important to me that I empower my clients with good information. When you spill something on your carpet, there are many substances that are easy for you to clean up yourself if you know how. To get the best outcomes, I've supplied a general guide on this page.
Note: We supply this information as a courtesy, but My Pro Cleaner cannot be responsible for any damage to your carpet from any do-it-yourself cleaning or spot removal. If in doubt, please call My Pro Cleaner for a professional solution for your carpet and upholstery in the Houston and Spring Texas area and surrounding communities.
There are some spills that require professional help — with proper solutions, tools, equipment, and expertise — to get the best possible outcomes.
If you have a fresh spill on your carpet, or if you just want to be ready for an inevitable accident, take a look at the list of spills on this page.
The following recommendations are for spot cleaning only, not for general cleaning.
The stains in the chart that are marked "My Pro Cleaner" indicate that professional knowledge and equipment are necessary for that type of spill in order to achieve significantly better outcomes.
If in doubt, please call My Pro Cleaner for a free spot removal estimate.
First, it's a good idea to know what your carpet is made of (ie. wool, nylon, olefin, etc.)
Then, find your spill on the chart on this page.
Then, match the removal technique with the procedure below.
A: This is a water-soluble stain.
As soon as possible: Blot (don't scrub!) the spot or stained area with white towels — paper or cloth, but no fancy, dyed designs or colors — dampened with cool water. Absorb as much as possible until there is no more transfer of the spill onto the towels.
If any of the stain remains, use a mild detergent solution.
A good, mild detergent solution:
Mix 1/4 teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water.
What kind of detergent?
We recommend using a clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent — such as Dawn, Joy, or Clear Ivory.
Note: Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy, because they may leave behind a sticky residue.
Spray lightly onto the spot, and then blot repeatedly with clean, white towels — working from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot — this avoids spreading the spot or stain.
Don't use more of the detergent solution than necessary. It could leave behind a little residue that may attract dirt and dust.
Rinse thoroughly by spraying with clean water, then blot with white towles until no more moisture transfers to the towels.
A-1: Use the procedure in A but before using detergent, apply a white vinegar solution to a white towel, and blot or spray onto spot.
A good, mild vinegar solution:
1 part white vinegar to 1 part water.
A-2: Use the procedure in A but before using detergent, apply a household ammonia solution to a white towel and blot or spray onto spot. Do not use ammonia on wool or wool-blend carpet. Rinse as in A.
An ammonia solution:
One tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water.
Note: Do not use on wool carpet!!
B: This is an Oil-based stain
As soon as possible: Blot (don't scrub!) as much of the spill as possible with white paper towels.
White towels can be paper or clean white rags, but make sure they are white and disposable — no colored fancy designs with colors or dyes of any kind. These colors may transfer a dye stain to your carpet.
Apply the special oil and grease spot remover — or a non-oily nail polish remover — to a white paper towel and repeat blotting.
(We recommend wearing protective gloves, as the solvent could irritate your skin.)
Do not pour or spray this solvent directly on the carpet, as damage to the backing or adhesive underneath could result.
To be clear, use the towels to transport the solvent to the carpet.
Repeat as often as necessary.
Notes: Provide adequate ventilation! And do not use flammable solvents. Follow up with the procedures in A .
C: Chewing Gum and Candle Wax
Freeze with ice or a commercially available product in an aerosol can. Shatter with a blunt object, and vacuum before the chips soften. Follow up with solvent as in B.
For more information on getting gum out of your carpet, you can refer to my article on this site.
For more information on getting candle wax out of your carpet, you can refer to my article on this site.
D: Stains that respond to a Bleach Solution
Mild bleach solution:
One part chlorine bleach to five parts water.
WARNING: Only carpets which are solution-dyed are resistant to bleaching, but do not exceed the recommended concentration. Do not use bleach unless YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THE CARPET IS SOLUTION DYED, otherwise your carpet will be damaged..
Carpets made with olefin and nylon blends can NOT be exposed to bleach without removing the color from the nylon fibers, unless the nylon component is solution-dyed.
If in doubt at all, please call My Pro Cleaner.
Prepare a Carpet Spill First-Aid Kit
A good checklist to handle spills should include the following items. Do not use any household cleaners other than those listed, since many household products contain chemicals that may permanently damage your carpet.
- A solution of a mild liquid detergent.
Mix 1/4 teaspoon of detergent to 32 ounces of water.
We recommend using a clear, non-bleach liquid dishwashing detergent such as Dawn, Joy, or Clear Ivory.
Note: Do not use detergents that are cloudy or creamy because they may leave a sticky residue.
- A solution of 1 part white vinegar to 1 part water.
- White cloths or white paper towels.
No dyed designs on them. Pure white.
- An ammonia solution of one tablespoon of ammonia to one cup of water.
Note: Do not use on wool carpet!!.
- Non-oily nail polish remover
- Chewing gum remover (freeze or solid type).
- Spot remover specifically for grease, oil, or tar, such as Carbona or Energine.
NOTE: Difficult stains on carpets made from solution-dyed fibers such as polypropylene may be removed with a mild bleach solution ( one part chlorine bleach to five parts water).
WARNING: Do not use bleach solution unless you are absolutely certain your carpet is 100% solution dyed. Carpet dyed by other systems will be damaged. If in doubt, please call My Pro Cleaner.
- Prompt attention to spots and spills is essential. No carpet is stain proof, although many are stain resistant, which allows time to act.
- Remove as much of food spills as possible by scraping gently with a spoon or dull knife.
- Absorb wet spills as quickly as possible by blotting repeatedly with white paper or cloth towels.
- Always blot, never rub or scrub abrasively, as a fuzzy area may result. When blotting, work from the outer edge in toward the center of the spot to avoid spreading the spill.
- Always follow up with water to remove detergent residue that may become sticky and cause rapid re-soiling.
- Draw out any remaining moisture by placing several layers of white towels over the spot and weigh them down with a heavy object that will not transfer color such as a plastic jug of water.
My Pro Cleaner is a small, locally-owned carpet cleaning business, owned and operated by cleaning expert Josh Almanza, providing superior quality work, competitive pricing, and extraordinary customer service.
Since 2004, My Pro Cleaner has been helping hundreds of homeowners in the Spring Texas and Houston areas stay informed, and to keep their carpet and upholstery deeply cleaned and maintained — for its health and beauty, for your family's health, and to keep your home smelling fresh!