Horror DIY carpet cleaning stories and what’s best left to professionals
Elite Carpet Cleaning’s Lindsay Skinner has quite a few horror stories to tell of carpets ruined by homemakers’ attempts to attack a stain themselves.
Most of them were the result of internet searches seeking ‘DIY carpet stain removals’.
Lindsay, who has the Elite Carpet Cleaning franchise for Brisbane Central and Eastern suburbs, says some stains can be easily removed – and here he tells how. But first he shares 2 recent horror stories of what not to try at home.
Horror story #1 – candle wax on the carpet
One customer had followed some internet advice to ‘apply heat of an iron to brown paper covering the spilt wax’ before calling Elite Carpet Dry Cleaning. Lindsay was confronted with a dark iron-shaped mark. There was nothing any professional carpet cleaner could do. It wasn’t a stain; it was a burn. The carpet was made of nylon.
A safer DIY solution, Lindsay says, would be to gently scrape warm wax off the carpet, using a blunt knife.
Horror story #2 – salt turns carpet into swamp
A young child who’d slept on a rumpus room carpet complained of being ‘bitten’. The web advice this home owner followed required salt to be liberally applied to the carpet. Lindsay was called days later when the woman’s rumpus carpet was more like mangrove swamp, leaving moist imprints when walked on.
Lindsay explains that the combination of salt and Queensland’s high humidity had turned the carpet into absorbent sponge and dampness had seeped down to the underlay. Several sessions of professional vacuuming, hot water extraction and dry cleaning were required to restore the carpet.
What carpet stains professionals need to remove
Stains that are best left to professional carpet cleaners like Elite include red wine, tomato sauce, copious amounts of blood, crayons, urine and faeces.
What carpet stains you can DIY with confidence
There are some stains you can confidently remove from carpets yourself, with the right technique and product.
- Move swiftly. Don’t ignore a spill. See to it while it is fresh.
- Use a damp – not soaking – towel.
- Use a light touch. Do not scrub and rub.
- Work from the outside, in. Working from the inside out will spread the stain.
3 easy fixes you really can do at home
- Chewing gum (as long as it is fresh on the carpet)
Pop an ice cube on top of the gum. The cold will harden the gum and make it easier to scrape off gently. Do not leave the ice cube unattended. It will melt, causing a water stain issue. The ice needs only too to be applied to the gum for 3-4 minutes.
- Blood (a few drops, not a haemorrhage)
Get a damp – not soaking – towel and gently pat the bloody spot. Do not rub. You may need to repeat a few times. Remember to keep it gentle and light.
- Dirty footprints
Vacuum the worst of the dirt immediately. If dirty smudges persist, use Supa Spotta, a general purpose spot and surface cleaner and stain remover, available exclusively through Elite Carpet Cleaning franchises, or a cloth, dipped into a mix of 1 part white vinegar to 8 parts cold water, lightly patted onto the stain.
Finally, if in doubt or facing stains caused by red wine, tomato paste, urine, faeces or kids’ crayons, call the professionals: call Elite Carpet Cleaning for immediate advice on 131580.