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Carpet Spot and Stain Removal Table

by Marie S. Hammer, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service

(These tables are associated with another article; click HERE to view)

To remove a certain stain, try the first removal method indicated for that particular stain.
If the primary recommendation does not work, then try the second lettered method.
Proceed to other methods in the order listed if the stain prevails.


Type of Stain

Removal methods in recommended order

First

Second

Third

Fourth

ACIDS

E

F



AIRPLANE GLUE

C

B



ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

A

E

D

F

AMMONIA

D

E



BALLPOINT INK

C

B

A

E

BATTERY ACID

E

F



BLACK COFFEE OR TEA

A

D

F


BLACK GREASE

C

B

A

F

BLEACH

A

F



BLOOD

A

E



BUTTER

B

A

E

D

CANDY

A

E

D

F

CARBOLIC ACID DISINFECTANT

E

F



CATSUP

A

E

D

F

CHEWING GUM
Rub with ice and scrape gently with a dull knife

B



CHOCOLATE

A

E

D

F

CIGARETTE BURN

A

F



COLOGNE

A

E

D

F

COLORED PAPER

A

E

D

F

COOKING OIL

B

A

E

F

COSMETICS

C

B

A

E

CRAYON

B

A

F


FOOD DYE

B

A

E

D

FURNITURE DYE

C

B

A

E

FURNITURE POLISH

C

B

A

E

FURNITURE POLISH (WATER BASED)

A

E

D

F

FRUIT JUICES

A

E

D

F

GLUE (PLASTIC BASE)

C

B

A

E

GRASS

C

B

A

D

GREASY FOOD STAINS

B

A

E

D

HAND CREAM

B

A

E

F

ICE CREAM

A

E

D

F

INDELIBLE INK

C

B

A

E

INDIA INK

C

B

A

F

IODINE

B

A

E

D

LACQUER

C

B

A

F

LIPSTICK

C

B

A

E

LYE

D

A

F


MASCARA

B

A

F


MAYONNAISE

B

A

E

F

MEDICINES

C

B

A

E

METAL POLISH

C

B



MILDEW

A

E

F


MILK

B

A

E

F

MUD

A

F



MUSTARD

A

D

F


NAIL POLISH

C

B

A

E

NEWSPRINT

B

A

F


OIL, CAR

B

A

E

F

OIL, LINSEED

B

A

E

F

OINTMENT

B

A

E

D

OVEN CLEANER

D

A

F


PAINT CLEANER

C

B

A

E

PAINT, LATEX

A

E

F


PAINT, OIL

C

B

A

E

PLANT FOOD

A

E

D

F

PLASTER

A

F



ROUGE

B

A

F


RUBBER CEMENT

C

B

A

F

RUST

D

A

F


SALAD DRESSING

B

A

F


SALAD OIL

B

A

F


SAUCES

B

A

E

D

SHELLAC

C

B

A

E

SHOE POLISH

C

B

A

E

SOFT DRINKS

A

C

E

D

SOOT

B

A

F


STARCHY FOOD

A

E

D

F

SYRUP

A

E

F


TAR

B

A



TOOTHPASTE

A

D

E

F

UNKNOWN STAIN

C

B

A

D

URINE

A

D



VARNISH

C

B

A

E

VASELINE

B

A

F


VOMIT

A

E

D

F

WASHABLE INK

A

E

D

F

WAX CANDLES

C

B



WINE

B

A

D


A.DETERGENT MIX - Mix 1 teaspoon mild non-bleaching detergent with one cup of lukewarm water
B.DRY CLEANING SOLVENT - Apply dry cleaning solvent to stain (Carbona or K2r)
C.NAIL POLISH REMOVER - Amyl acetate (banana fragrance). Follow with the detergent mix. Some dyestuffs are not completely "fast" to polish remover. It is important to test in an inconspicuous area. If these cleaning methods are not effective, consult a professional.
D.VINEGAR SOLUTION - Mix 1/3 cup white vinegar to 1/3 cup lukewarm water.
E.AMMONIA SOLUTION - Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia to 3/4 to 1 cup water.
F.WARM WATER - Use lukewarm tap water.
Source: Spot and Stain Removal Guide, The Carpet and Rug Institute.

Table 2.

Chemical Reactions and Carpet Damage Affecting Dye

HOUSEHOLD PRODUCT


CHEMICAL
REACTION
CONDITION
DAMAGE
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Some toilet bowl cleaners contain hydrochloric acid and coloring agents
Acid may dissolve nylon while the coloring agents stain

Some dyes turn bright red
Tile Grout Cleaner


Phosphoric acid
Acne Medication


Numerous products are available over the counter that contain benzoyl peroxide
Strong oxidizing agent is capable of destroying most dyestuffs used in carpet
Relatively high humidity is necessary for bleaching action to begin
Spots begin as orange to yellow as the dye is bleached and progress to lighter yellow as oxidation proceeds. On blue carpet, spots can appear slightly pink, or exhibit an orange ring or halo that moves outward as the spot grows. Other household textiles can be affected.
Pet Shampoo/ Mange Remedy
Benzoyl peroxide is in some of these products
The time between the contact and appearance of the spot could be days
Spots can look and feel chalky from presence of bentonite (fullers earth) to absorb skin oils
Bleaches
Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) "all fabric" oxygen bleaches
All can cause bleaching and dye bleeding but are slower acting

Yellow spots occur
Swimming pool chemicals


Mildew killers that contain bleach
Affects textiles if used indoors
Bleaches carpet
Drain Cleaners
Sodium hydroxide (lye)


Bleaching occurs
Strong Alkalis
Sodium hypochlorite (bleach)

Oven Cleaners
Jelled sodium hydroxide
Bleaching occurs
Industrial solvents (for pain, arthritis, backache, injuries, muscular aches)
DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide)
Clear liquid smells like garlic

Loss of color on carpet is due to solvent
Insecticides
DDVP, Malathion, Orthene, Sumithion (most common in consumer products that claim to be safe on the label but may not be)
Application of chemical applied in stream instead of a fan-shaped mist to the baseboards. An overall misting can be used for fleas.
Chemicals mentioned are in some off-the-shelf insecticides, which have labels that recommend use on carpet.
Products can change dye colors chemically. Example: red dyes in a beige color turn to blue, giving a green cast. Humidity influences color change.
Plant Food

Causes oxidation spots, usually near backing and then progresses upward to the surface. Spot may not be apparent for months.
Spills of liquid plant foods or leakage from flower pots
Dull yellow or brown in color
Urine


Spots begin at the backing and progress upward. The ammonia-like odor eventually becomes a musty odor.
Dull yellow or red. Clean with lukewarm water and apply a solution of half water/half vinegar.
Vomit (human or animal)
Hydrochloric acid


Causes spots if not cleaned up well or neutralized with baking soda or an ammonia solution.
Source: Chemical Spots and Stains on Carpet and Rugs, The Carpet and Rug Institute, 1982.