Most people learn at a young age just how important carpeting is upon visiting the home of a neat-freak relative who insists on shoe removal before tramping around inside the home. But those more overzealous carpet owners often have good reason to be so diligent in regards to its protection: carpeting can be very expensive, and it can also be easily damaged. After all, most people have one or two horror stories regarding bright white carpeting and an errant glass of red wine.

This is where stain removal comes into play. Effective stain removal can mean the difference between a carpet saved and a carpet lost. The trick is knowing the different kinds of procedure most effective on different kinds of stains.

Here are some of the most effective stain-removal procedures.

The Basics

Before undertaking any carpet-cleaning project, it is important to first understand the fundamentals in order to ensure effective removal of stains. For example, professionals recommend always blotting a stain — never scrubbing it. The process of blotting a stain – working from the outside in – ensures that the carpet fibers aren’t damaged. This helps prevent any excess liquid from seeping beneath the carpeting itself where it can ruin the whole area.

And before finishing any carpet-cleaning job, it is crucial to rinse the area with water and dry thoroughly.

Water-Soluble Stains

There are many water based stains that commonly afflict carpeting. These include things like soda, mud, ice cream, latex paint and, of course, stains left by family pets. The best way to get rid of these quickly and efficiently is to mix a solution of ¼ oz. Odoreze® Natural Floor Odor Control & Cleaning Spray with 1 gallon of water and use this on the stain in question. Since this is a concentrate, a little goes a very long way!

Tougher Water-Based Stains

Water-based stains may be straightforward, but some are more stubborn than others. Things like chocolate, coffee, tea, wine, mustard and blood can be particularly difficult to remove. In these instances a stronger cleansing solution is necessary. Pros recommend mixing one tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of water. Carpet owners should clean those seemingly unconquerable stains with a mixture of one part chlorine bleach to five parts water but always test first to make sure it does not cause any damage.

Note: those with wool carpeting will want to use a lighter cleanser made up of one tablespoon non-harsh detergent and one cup water.

Wax and Oil

Stains caused by wax and oil can be particularly damaging to carpeting. To remove them, owners will want to place a paper towel over the stained area, set a common household iron to the “warm” setting and place it over the paper. After a couple minutes of holding the iron in place, the wax or oil should suck up into the paper.

Cigarette burns

Use the edge of a dull knife to scrape away at the hardened, burnt top of the carpeting until it is completely shaved off.

Glue and Gum

Use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to dab at the glue stain until it becomes moist. After a moment the stain can be wiped cleanly away. As for gum, freeze it with a piece of ice and then crack it with the handle of a piece of silverware. Vacuum the area and clean with a moist towel.

By following the above guidelines, carpet owners should be able to take care of most stains while salvaging both the carpeting as well as its pristine luster.

Bill Jones is an avid blogger and contributor to, a leading carpet cleaning company in Livermore CA.