June 18, 2010 2:10 PM   Subscribe

Moved into a new house with light carpet everywhere. I need to become a friggin Jedi master at cleaning up stains. Hope me.

Moved into a new house with carpet everywhere - somewhat industrial, thicker grade and cream-colored. I am used to hardwoods. I have two cats. Possible stains: possible cat puke, red-wine, food spills, etc.

I've already searched mefi questions, but can you point me to tried and true info, machines, or products for removing all kinds of stains? Let me know what has actually worked for you.
posted by bunny hugger to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This has never failed us: Blue Magic Carpet Stain & Spot Lifter. One cat, two little boys, and light carpeting in much of the house. You can find good prices with some web browsing. Fantastic product.
posted by flyingrock at 2:28 PM on June 18, 2010

This stuff
posted by Thorzdad at 2:30 PM on June 18, 2010

I recommend area carpets on top of your carpets in high traffic areas. If they're wool they'll be harder to stain, also.

For spills and animal messes, I use Nature's Miracle (I get the huge gallon thing, and then a smaller squirter bottle), Wine Away (red wine stain remover), plus a commercial cleaner like Hoover or Bissell. I start with the Nature's Miracle, using texture-y dish towels to rub in and then soak up. Then if I can still see anything I usually do Nature's Miracle again, and then the commercial cleaner.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 2:31 PM on June 18, 2010

Seconding ClaudiaCenter on the Nature's Miracle. I once spilled the oil from a tin of smoked oysters on a beige carpet in a rental apartment. It made a stinky mess, as you can imagine. The only thing that worked was the Nature's Miracle, which got rid of both the oil and the smell completely.

If you do use this stuff, be pretty generous with it--I have found it best to use as much as is recommended on the bottle. Then let it dry completely (it took about 48 hours for the oyster spill treatment to dry). Don't worry if it doesn't seem to be working at first; it has to dry thoroughly before the smell/stain will go away.

I've also used NM for cat-related carpet cleaning and it has worked just as well. The oyster thing was just the most impressive example, because it was so darned gross.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:37 PM on June 18, 2010

A couple of thoughts:

Long ago, I developed the habit of not wearing footwear worn outside the house in the house. The end result is that I don't drag in as much dirt, and floors (carpet, wood, tile) stay cleaner and don't wear out as quickly. Another benefit is that I don't have to clean as often, if only because things stay clean-looking longer.

For stain removal, two words: hydrogen peroxide. Works like a charm.
posted by SuzB at 2:58 PM on June 18, 2010

For red wine spills? Copious amounts of salt have never failed me.
posted by gaspode at 3:11 PM on June 18, 2010

We live in the woods with a dog, a 5-year old, and about 1000 square feet of cream-colored carpet. Yup.

Every 90 or so days, I rent a Rug Doctor from the supermarket. The machines are surprisingly powerful, effective workhorses. Maneuvering the thing is kind of a pain in the butt--imagine pushing and pulling R2D2 around the house for 3 hours--but its definitely worth the effort on a regular basis. The machine doesn't remove the deep stains, but does a very good job of pulling up the pine needles and deep-seated dirt and restores the natural color throughout the house. It's cheap--$30 or so--and nearly as effective as the professional services, which can charge upwards of $500.
posted by prinado at 3:37 PM on June 18, 2010

An ounce of prevention is the way to go. If you can get in the habit of taking off your shoes when you come in the house, that will make a huge difference. Runners in high traffic areas are your friend, and area rugs in places where messes are likely- under the dining table, in front of the sofa, etc. If you previously had hardwood you probably already have some area rugs handy.

Seconding that Rug Doctor is surprisingly effective too.
posted by ambrosia at 3:57 PM on June 18, 2010

OxyClean (carpet formula). Cranberry juice stains? Gone!
posted by Pomo at 4:58 PM on June 18, 2010

Yes, buy a SpotBot. The dirty-tank smell of a rental Rug Doctor is nasty.
posted by candyland at 5:56 PM on June 18, 2010

We have light coloured berber carpet too, and this works great. I don't know about pet messes, but it cleans up baby poop perfectly. Also, coffee, food, juice, etc. We can't live without it.
posted by Simon Barclay at 6:02 PM on June 18, 2010

Folex is the best carpet spot treatment I've come across. You can get a gallon for under $15 at Bed Bath & Beyond. I use it to carpet bomb my, erm, carpet before I run a carpet cleaner over it. Particularly the puke spots my dog likes to leave me in the early morning hours. Just get a separate spray bottle to dispense it from and you're set.

Also getting a Hover SteamVac will pay for itself after the first use. I've had mine for 2+ years, use it at least every other month, and it's still going strong. The only thing I needed to replace was the water/cleaner solution because of bad product design. I assume they've fixed that since for all current models.
posted by iamgoat at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2010

My DH calls me The Stain Whisperer. For love of our cat I've found a foolproof system for removing non-ink stains, anyway. It's better than the oxy-products because it leaves no trace of stain or bleaching. I learned the last step from professional carpet cleaners who removed a large stain of several years old with it.

1) Get up as much as you can with towels. Don't scrimp here. I use my hands at first and finish with the heals of my feet and those of my DH if he is around. Only when absolutely no more pigment comes up move on to step 2.

2) Let what remains dry overnight.

3) Next day spray the stain with a solution of one part white vinegar to one part distilled water and brush in all directions until the stain is gone. Usually no more than 2 or 3 applications are needed.
posted by Pamelayne at 6:37 PM on June 18, 2010

A great resource for how to clean, fix and take care of things:
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

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