by Brooke Tolman
(last updated January 27, 2014)
You may not think it, but of all the carpet stain removers out there, water is the best thing to try first. Best of all, it usually works! Many other carpet stain removers can damage your carpet if used incorrectly and can act like bleach and stain it forever. Once that happens, there's nothing you can do to fix it, so start out small with water and work your way up the chain.
If you've tried using water and it's just not working the way you want it to, move onto a commercial carpet stain remover such as Oxiclean or Spot Shot. Don't go to town right away on your stain, take your carpet cleaner and test it out on a spot on your carpet that is out of sight, so that if it does cause damage, no one will know. The best way to do this is to put some of the cleaner on the carpet, wait a few minutes for it to soak up and then press a white cloth on top of it. Check for any discoloration in the carpet and check to see if any of the carpet dye ended up on your white cloth. If there is any damage or discoloration at all, repeat this process with another type of stain remover.
There are many things you should look for in a carpet stain remover. Most importantly, make sure the stain remover is the type to get down to the bottom of your carpet and not just clean the top. Some stain removers just remove and clean the top layer of carpet which isn't good because after a few months the dirt from the bottom will start to rise up and your stain will start to reappear and you'll have to go through the whole cleaning process again, so make sure your stain remover penetrates deep. Another nice thing to look for in stain removers is one that gets rid of odors. This is especially helpful if you have pets like dogs or cats that are constantly rubbing all over your carpet. Whether you'd like to admit it or not, your pets get your carpet dirty and stink up your house while doing so. Many cleaning companies offer products that aim to eliminate odors, such as pet odors, while cleaning your carpet. Once again, be wary that they are actually eliminating the odor and not just masking it.
There are many carpet stain removers out there on the market, and there isn't one that works the best every time, so like most things, you just need to test a few out and see which works best for your type of carpet and your living situation.
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