How I Keep An (Almost) Spotless Carpet

by Gail Brumfield

I’ve always been comfortable with the idea of spilling things on the carpet. Spills, I think, are part of a life well-lived with kids and get-togethers with friends and family. But while I’m comfortable with spills, I’m a lot less comfortable with the idea of a stained carpet. So, I’m always ready to deal with stains as soon as they happen. Despite the occasional spill, my carpets look (almost) spotless. Here’s how:

First of all, I don’t wait to take care of spills. If I have guests over for a party, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to attend to the spill right away. My plain white paper towels are always ready to come to the rescue. And so is my trusty carpet cleaner. I’ve been using the same type for years, and I know that it won’t discolor my carpet. Before you use any carpet stain remover on your carpet, be sure to test it first.

Given the number of spills I’ve picked up, I’d say my technique is spot-on. (Pun intended.) I work outwards in. I blot gently, so as not to push the spill deeper down into the carpet. In fact, I try to keep the liquid on top of the carpet as much as possible.

My carpet cleaning solution doesn’t always work. While it’s great for most liquids (and yes, dog accidents), it’s not the most effective cleaner for dry or especially greasy spills. In these cases, I’ll use warm water with a little dish soap. Most of the time that works well.

That said, you should probably have a professional cleaner in your rolodex that you trust to handle any spills that you can’t remove. I prefer my local Chem-Dry. I’ll call them the same day the spill occurs to arrange for a stain removal; attending to stains before they set is one of the most important things anyone can do to make sure that they can be completely removed.

Here’s another trick: Have your local professional cleaner refresh your carpet stain protection. Over time, your carpet’s factory-applied stain protection will wear off. Any spill will soak in more quickly and will be harder to remove. My local Chem-Dry applied a new coat of stain protection to my carpet, and it helps. Liquids don’t soak in as quickly, and you’re able to blot more liquid away with your towel.