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Spotting Tips for Beginners

General Use Spotting Chart

Advanced Spotting Chart


 
 

Spotting Tips for Beginners

Providing immediate attention to a spill, animal waste, or stain is the single most important technique one should apply in effectively removing an unwanted mess. As a first step, remove as much liquid residue as possible by blotting with a white absorbent cloth, tissue or paper towel. DO NOT RUB HARD OR USE A BRUSHING ACTION, as this may fray carpet fibers and/or distort the appearance of the area in which you're working. Hold absorbent material against spot for a period long enough in which the stain can transfer (note: this may take several minutes). Vacuum away powder and other dry spills. If necessary, with a spatula, gently scrape away solid residue.

After removing as much residue as possible, spotting can be continued with one or more of the following solutions:

 

1. Plain Water
2. A solution of one teaspoon neutral detergent (such as Dreft, Vel, Trend or Ivory Liquid) to one cup water.
3. One tablespoon of regular household ammonia to one cup water.
           *Carefully test an inconspicuous area to be sure there is no color loss.
4. A dry cleaning fluid such as Carbona, Energize, K-2, Thoro, or Renuzit.
5. One tablespoon of WHITE vinegar to one cup of water.

        Tip: The detergent, ammonia, and vinegar solutions (mentioned above) can be mixed in advance and stored in spray bottles so that they
                      will always be at your immediate disposal.Spray bottles provide an easy way to apply the solution(s) without soaking your carpet.


Apply a small amount of the desired cleaning solution and gently agitate the soiled area while blotting with absorbent cloth. Continue agitating and blotting, applying small amounts of cleaning solution, as needed and only if you notice you are making progress in removing the spot. If you are not able to completely remove the unwanted spot with the first suggested cleaning solution, continue with the second and successive suggested cleaning solutions.

 

Remember again, never to rub the soiled area as this can spread the spot and distort the carpet fiber. Take note not to overuse any cleaning solution as you can easily wet the carpet backing. Overusing dry cleaning fluid can be especially harmful, as it can easily damage carpet backing.

 

Note that many spots and stains may take extra time to be removed, therefore patience in removing a spot is encouraged. Other spots and stains such as Kool Aid, wine, punch, and soda may be permanent. See our advanced techniques for additional advice.

Be sure to follow the safety precautions printed on all solutions especially dry cleaning fluids. Never use gasoline, lighter fluid, or carbon tetrachloride.

 

If a dry cleaning fluid was the only cleaning solution used to treat the spot, allow carpet to dry naturally - don't add water to rinse.

If a detergent or ammonia were used, rinse the spot with plain water. Once rinsed, cover the area with one half inch (1/2") of white cotton or plain paper towel and weigh down overnight to absorb the cleaning solution and any residue which may still be in the carpet. Generally, after drying, most of the spot should have come out (perhaps you'll see a shadow of spot). After the carpet has dried, repeat the process if necessary. After repeating solution treatment and drying process, if spot (or shadow) remains, it is advisable to use a dry cleaning fluid (if you have not done so up until this point).

 

If you have a cleaning professional or toll free "800" number with your warrantied carpet, and spot still remains, now might be the time to call for professional spotting, extraction and cleaning. If you are in the San Diego area, Call CitraDry™ Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning today at (888) 208-9234.

 

 

General Use Spotting Chart

 

General treatment recommendations for specific stains (see bottom for <1-5> explanations or click number for quick link)

 

ANIMAL WASTE..detergent or ammonia (see <1>), vinegar

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE..detergent, vinegar

ASHES..detergent, dry cleaning fluid

BALL POINT PEN..dry cleaning fluid

BEER..detergent, vinegar

BLEACH..detergent, vinegar

BLOOD..water (see <2>)

BUTTER..detergent

CANDLE WAX..(see <3>)

CANDY..detergent, vinegar

CATSUP..detergent

CHEWING GUM..(see <4>)

CHOCOLATE..detergent, vinegar

COFFEE..detergent, vinegar

COSMETICS..dry cleaning fluids, detergent, ammonia, vinegar

COUGH SYRUP..detergent

DYE (water based)..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

EGG..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

FRUIT AND FRUIT JUICE..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

FURNITURE POLISH..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, ammonia, vinegar

GLUE (water soluble)..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

GRAVY..detergent

GREASE..dry cleaning fluid

HOUSEHOLD CEMENT..dry cleaning fluid

ICE CREAM..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

INK..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, ammonia, vinegar

LIPSTICK..dry cleaning fluid,detergent,ammonia,vinegar

MARGARINE..detergent

MERTHIOLATE..dry cleaning fluids, detergent

MILK..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

MUD, DIRT, CLAY..detergent

MUSTARD..detergent, vinegar

NAIL POLISH..dry cleaning fluid

OILS..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, ammonia, vinegar

PAINT..(see <5>)

PERFUME..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, vinegar

POTTING SOIL..let dry overnight; vacuum carefully with hose end of a canister vacuum. Use water and detergent on any residual soil

SALAD DRESSING..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, vinegar

SHOE POLISH..dry cleaning fluid, detergent, vinegar

SOFT DRINK..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

SOOT..detergent, vinegar

SYRUP..detergent, vinegar

TAR..dry cleaning fluid

TEA..detergent, vinegar

URINE, ANIMAL FECES..detergent, vinegar (see <1>)

UNKNOWN STAINS..detergent, dry cleaning fluid

VOMIT..detergent, ammonia, vinegar

WINE..vinegar, detergent (If all else fails, switch to Chardonnay)!!

 

 

Explainations

 

<1> If Animal urine and feces are not removed properly, they will often react with carpet dyes leaving a permanent stain. Urine will soak into the carpet backing and/or pad; after drying, the residue will breed odor-causing bacteria that is very difficult to remove. Professional help is advised.

<2> Use COOL water first on fresh blood to prevent setting the stain. Continue using only water to rid the blood from area.

<3> Candle wax can be removed by covering the affected area with several layers of dry cloth towel(s) and applying a warm iron on top of the towels. The wax will soften and attract to the heat thus becoming absorbed into the clean towel. Change towels often to properly absorb the wax. Do not overheat as some synthetic fibers within carpets have a low melting point. Any remaining residue can be removed with dry cleaning fluid.

<4> Chewing gum can removed by freezing it with ice and cracking it from the affected area. Place several ice cubes in a sealed plastic bag and apply to gum until frozen. After cracking away as much gum as possible, remove any remaining residue with dry cleaning fluid.

<5> Use a detergent solution (one teaspoon neutral detergent such as Dreft, Vel, Trend or Ivory Liquid to one cup water) for water-based paint spills. Use a dry cleaning fluid or the recommended cleaning solution (on the can which came with the product) for oil-based paint spills. Use a dry cleaning fluid on dried paint. If you should plan to contact a professional carpet cleaner for large spills, do your best to prevent the paint from drying by covering the affected area until a professional is able to arrive. Water based paint should be covered with a wet towel and plastic. Oil-based paint may simply be covered with plastic.

 

 

Advanced Spotting Chart

 

Please refer to Spotting Tips for Beginners if you are not yet familiar with the methods in which to properly remove common stains. If, after consulting the General Use Spotting Chart, the spot or shadow of spot remains, proceed with the advanced solution below. Again, some stains require professional treatment. If you are unsure of proper treatment, please give us a call for professional spotting, extraction and cleaning. If you're in the San Diego or Monterey area, give us a call at (888) 208-9234 CitraDry™ Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning.

Step by step advanced treatment recommendations (see bottom for spotting solutions or click here for quick link).

 

BLOOD..1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply cool ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 5.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution. 6.) Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide may be necessary.

 

BUTTER AND MARGARINE..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot until dry. 3.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 4.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

CANDLE WAX..1.) Scrape away as much wax as possible with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply dry cleaning solvent. 3.) Apply POG, blot 4.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. *Refer to general recommendation for hot iron treatment of wax.

 

CATSUP..1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot dry.

 

CHOCOLATE..1.) Scrape away as much as possible with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 6.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

 

COFFEE.. 1.) Apply detergent solution, blotting frequently. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Cover with dry towels until dry.

 

CRAYON..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

FOOD COLORING..1.) Apply detergent solution, blotting frequently. A dried stain of food coloring will most likely spread when wet. Repeat until color is no longer transferred to towel. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

 

FURNITURE STAIN..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Unfortunately, a furniture stain is nearly impossible to remove completely.

 

GRASS..1.) Apply amyl acetate if available to remove chlorophyll, blot. 2.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot. 4.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 5.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Bleaching or professional stripping may be necessary.

 

INK (Ballpoint)..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution.

 

INK (India).. Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

JAM & JELLY..1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot. 4.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

KETCHUP..1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot dry.

 

LIPSTICK..1.) Scrape off excess with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply POG, blot making sure not to reapply stain into fabric. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 7.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Try to avoid wet cleaning on wool. Use POG and dry-cleaning solvents as long as possible.

 

MILDEW..1.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot. 4.) Apply solution of oxidizing bleach (chlorine or perborate) Do not use chlorine bleach on wool or silk. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry.

 

MUD..1.) Brush or scrape away as much excess mud as possible. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 5.) If stain remains, apply POG and dry-cleaning solvent alternately, blot until dry.

 

MUSTARD..1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, rust remover (Oxalic acid solution) or bleaching may be necessary. Do not use ammonia or alkalies.

 

NAIL POLISH..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply amyl acetate if available or nail polish remover - PRETEST INCONSPICUOUS AREA FIRST. 3.) If stain remains, apply detergent solution, blot until dry. 4.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 5.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

PAINT (Oil based)..Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 4.) Apply POG, blot. 5.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot.

 

PAINT (Water based)..Check label on paint or specific thinner or solvent OR 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Alternate steps 2 and 3 until stain is removed. 5.) If stain persists, weight down the stain with towels dampened with dry-cleaning for several hours to loosen, blot with solvent. 6.) Apply several drops of detergent solution and work into the stain, blot. 7.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 8.) Alternate steps 2 and 3 and 6 until stain is removed. 9.) Rinse thoroughly with warm water, blot until dry.

 

SHOE POLISH..1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solution, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 7.) If stain persists, bleaching or professional stripping may be necessary.

 

TOMATO SAUCE..1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot dry.

 

URINE..1.) Blot as much as possible if still wet. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 6.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution. 7.) Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate might be necessary. Urine stains may cause permanent dye removal from fibers.

 

VOMIT..1.) Blot as much as possible. 2.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry.

 

WINE..1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) If necessary, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. (If all else fails, switch to Chardonnay)!!

 

Advanced

AMMONIA SOLUTION - Mix one tablespoon of clean household ammonia with one-half cup of water.
BLEACH - Use hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate (present in Snowy or Clorox II). DO NOT use chlorine bleach.
DETERGENT SOLUTION - Mix one teaspoonful of a colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water.
DRY-CLEANING SOLVENT - Volatile dry spotter or a commercial spotter such as Thoro, Carbona, Energize, K2R. Use in small amounts...can be harmful in sizing, backings or stuffing material. DO NOT use gasoline, lighter fluid or carbon tetrachloride.
POG - Paint, oil and grease remover; available in hardware stores. Use extremely small amounts with extreme caution!
VINEGAR SOLUTION - Mix one-third cup of white household vinegar with two-thirds cup of water.