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The following is an excerpt from the book Room for Improvement
by Barbara Kavovit
Published by Rodale; May 2005;$24.95US/$35.95CAN; 1-59486-133-1
Copyright © 2005 Barbara Kavovit

Out, Damned Spot!
Most carpet available today is stain-resistant (but not stainproof), which means that many (but not all) spills can be removed . . . if you act fast. The longer you wait to take care of an accident, the greater the chance that it will become a permanent part of your carpet. Check with the carpet manufacturer for their specific recommendations. Here are some easy, old-fashioned ways I use to deal with common stains using ingredients you probably already have on hand. I'm not sure who came up with these ideas, but I remember my mom using these techniques to deal with carpet mishaps. Remember to always pretest any solvent in an inconspicuous area before you use it on the actual stain.

Solvent: rubbing alcohol Apply rubbing alcohol to a clean white cloth, white paper towel, or cotton ball. If the spot extends deep into the pile, use a blotting motion until the spot is removed or no color is transferred to the cloth. Do not allow the alcohol to penetrate into the backing because this will destroy the latex bond. If the spot is on the surface only, rub in one direction at a time. Never use a circular motion to remove a spot because this may destroy the texture. Stop if the spot is removed. If not, go to the next step.

Apply a small quantity of detergent solution to the spot. To make the detergent solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon of a hand dishwashing detergent that does not contain lanolin or bleach with 1 quart of water. Use a blotting motion to work the detergent into the affected area. If the spot is being removed, continue applying detergent and blotting with a white paper towel until the spot is removed.

Rinse with tap water using a spray bottle, and blot to remove excess moisture.

Spray lightly with water, do not blot this time; apply a pad of paper towels and allow the area to dry.

If there is still some stain on the carpet, moisten the tufts in the stained area with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Let it stand for an hour. Blot and repeat until the carpet is stain free. Light will cause peroxide to change back to water so no rinsing is necessary.

Solvent: equal parts dishwashing liquid and hydrogen peroxide Spray or dab the mixture on the stain. Blot with a paper towel. Because peroxide is a bleaching agent, the remedy could potentially bleach some colored rugs. Always test a small inconspicuous patch before using it on the stained area.

Solvent: denatured alcohol
First, scrape away as much wax as you can. Then place a sheet of butcher paper, glossy side up, or a portion of a brown paper bag on top of the wax. Press the tip of a warm iron gently over the affected area until the wax melts and attaches to the paper. Lift the paper from the carpet. Dab a small amount of denatured alcohol onto the stain if any candle dye is left on the carpet. Rinse with water.

Copyright © 2005 Barbara Kavovit