Haste makes waste, isn’t that what they say?
Haste can also make for some messy accidents, such as spilling a morning cup of coffee on the rug while we’re rushing around to get ready in the morning. This isn’t a tragedy, however. Like most stains, coffee is easily removed from the carpet. So, if you can’t slow down to enjoy your coffee, at least you can relax a little knowing the situation is easily remedied.
Once you make that spill, the first thing to do is not to panic, accidents happen after all. Get a wet cloth and immediately start blotting the stain. It’s important for you blot right away so the stain doesn’t have time to set in. It’s also important to blot instead of rub. When you put pressure on a stain, such as you do with rubbing, you run the risk of having the stain set in deeper. You also run the risk of making the carpet fibers weaker, which can cause this part of the carpet to wear out quicker than the rest of the rug. Blot until you can’t lift any more of the coffee out of the stain.
If blotting with plain water doesn’t work, there are several other steps you can take to remove the stain from your carpet. Try pouring baking soda or salt (a coarse salt such as kosher salt works best, but table salt will do) on the stain until the entire area is covered. Leave it on the stain for at least a half-hour and then remove with a cloth or vacuum. With luck, the salt or soda will have absorbed all the liquid.
If you don’t have one of these items handy, vinegar is also a worthy stain fighter. If the stain isn’t too bad, dilute one part of vinegar to two parts of water, pour on the stain and blot until the stain is lifted. If it’s a big, deep stain, pour the vinegar directly from the bottle, saturating the coffee spot. Dab until the stain disappears. Once the stain is removed, blot again with a clean, damp cloth to rinse and get some of the vinegar smell out of the rug.
A mild dish detergent is also wonderful for stain removal. Be sure to use a product that doesn’t contain any alkalis or bleaches. Mix a couple of teaspoons of dishwashing liquid with a cup of water and blot using a sponge or a cloth. Once the stain is removed, rinse by blotting with a clean, damp sponge.
Here are some other products you can use to clean stains from your carpet.
Try blotting with:
- Hydrogen peroxide
Denatured or rubbing alcohol
Club soda or other clear sodas such as Sprite or ginger ale.
Milk (Saturate the stain and leave overnight before blotting with a damp cloth or sponge.)
There are also some things you should be aware of when removing stains from carpeting. The first is never to apply heat to the stain because this will lock in the stain and removal will be next to impossible. Also, if your stain comes back in a couple of days, your carpet might be the victim of “wicking.” Wicking is when the staining agent gets deep down into the base of the carpet.
When you clean the carpet, you might remove only the stain from the top carpet fibers. In time, the liquid that’s left in the base of the carpet is absorbed by the fibers and works its way back to the top of the carpet causing the stain to reappear. To avoid wicking, try cleaning the stain with your stain-fighting solution of choice and then covering with a thick towel. Place books or other weights over the towel to absorb all the liquid. Leave for a few hours or overnight. In the morning lift the towel and do any necessary cleaning.
Another good tip to remember is to test out any stain remover in a hidden area of your carpet to make sure it won’t damage your carpet further, inside a closet is ideal. If your stain is stubborn, there are plenty of chemical products on the market to assist you. Just be sure to read the label to make sure it’s compatible with your particular carpet. Also, make sure to follow all the directions.
If the stain still hasn’t been lifted, or this is all too much for you to handle, try contacting someone in the business. The carpet’s manufacturer will probably have several suggestions for you. If worse comes to worse, call in a professional. Maybe it’s time your whole carpet had a good cleaning anyway. In the meantime, slow down and enjoy your coffee. Not only does it make your morning ritual more enjoyable, it’ll save your carpet as well.