We Tried 7 DIY Carpet-Cleaning Tricks. Here’s What Worked.

Wine, pasta, pet feces… our carpets have seen it all.

When faced with a stain, it’s tempting to bust out the sponge and start scrubbing. But do yourself a favor and take an extra two minutes to plan your attack, as the right strategy could mean the difference between a clean carpet and a stain that lingers forever.

There are indeed different methods to best clean different types of stains (see below). But before getting to the nitty-gritty, a few universal rules apply for carpet cleaning.

1. Clean the stain ASAP.

“The most important thing is to get to the stain before it has a chance to set,” says Bahram Shabahang, co-founder of carpet design house Orley Shabahang. Don’t let stains sit around.

2. Blot instead of scrub.

Before cleaning, absorb whatever goo or gunk you can with a cloth or sponge.”The goal is to pull out as much liquid as possible, to reduce the size and spread of the stain,” Shabahang adds. After that, always use a dabbing motion instead of rigorously scrubbing.

3. Use as little product as possible.

This reduces both the drying time and the risk of staining your carpet. For most stains, it’s ideal to use club soda or dish soap as a cleaning product. (See the guide below.)

4. Dry it well. 

Blot thoroughly with a towel after you clean, as carpet that remains damp could grow mold. You can also use a fan or hair dryer to gently speed the process, Shabahang says.


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