Steam Cleaning Melbourne Stain removal Tips
We have all experienced the frustration of spilling something like red wine or soft drink on the carpet. This especially applies if you have kids or pets or both! First comes the disbelief and then comes the panic! When that panic sets in, try taking deep breaths and may be even walk away for a few minutes to restore calm to the situation. What you do or don’t do during those first panicked minutes, can save your carpet or destroy it! Most people in this situation either go straight to Google and see what the Internet “experts” have to say about removing stains or they rummage through their kitchen/laundry cupboard and grab anything that vaguely resembles a cleaning product. In these emergency situations who has time to read instruction labels or warnings about spot testing first? Right? With great haste you spray, pour, scrub, sprinkle, vacuum and pray until you have enough chemical concoctions on the carpet, to write a science paper! But has it fixed the problem or just made a bad situation a whole lot worse?
In this article I will explain why some stain removal, home remedies are best used with caution. Also, why sometimes it is best to call in a professional carpet steam cleaning Melbourne service rather than tackle the stain yourself.
When it comes to most food and drink stains, vinegar is king! Vinegar is an acid and most food and beverages contain acid as well. This is why vinegar works so well on these types of stains. Acids break down other acids. However not all vinegars are equal! Only white vinegar is suitable for using as a stain remover. Other vinegars such as balsamic, red wine or apple cider vinegar can leave stains of their own on carpet. Ironically you can use white vinegar to remove these other vinegar stains!
Adding a few drops of dish washing liquid to a spray bottle with vinegar diluted by water, adds extra oomph to the cleaning power of vinegar.
There are 3 important steps to remember when using vinegar as a stain remover on your carpet.
- Dilute the vinegar with water and mist it over the stain rather than pouring it on.
- Always do a spot test somewhere inconspicuous before spraying it all over your carpet.
- Be sure to rinse the vinegar thoroughly from your carpet with water
Vinegar can cause discolouration on some types of carpet fibres, especially if it is used in large quantities and left on the carpet for long periods of time. These photos below show what happens to carpet when vinegar is used excessively and then not rinsed properly. Luckily this customer called us at Black Gold Carpet steam cleaning Melbourne for help fixing this mess.
Bi Carb Soda (Baking Soda)
If Vinegar is king, then bi carb soda is queen! This white powder can be sprinkled over wet stains to absorb liquid and odour. If you sprinkle it over a stain moistened with vinegar then you will really see cleaning power in action! This combination causes a chemical reaction which releases carbon dioxide. Leave the stain until the mixture stops bubbling and allow it to draw the stain out of the carpet. Then wipe or vacuum it away. The order you use here is very important. Always vinegar first then bi carb soda. If you do it the other way around you could end up with a huge volcanic like mess!
The main problem with using bicarb or baking soda, is the mess it leaves behind. If you use too much and leave it for too long the paste becomes a hard chalk like substance stuck firmly to your carpet fibre. It can be very difficult to remove! Vacuuming alternated with a light, gentle brushing of the carpet, helps. Rinsing with warm water, then drying the area thoroughly, should remove the remaining residue. However if you find there is still bi carb soda visible, then you may need to call in Black Gold Steam cleaning Melbourne for help and advice.
You can purchase over the counter carpet stain removers from most supermarkets. I would always err on the side of caution when using a product like this. Read the instruction label and always, always, test it on an inconspicuous spot first! The main ingredient in these sprays is hydrogen peroxide. There are different strengths of hydrogen peroxide and it is recommended that not more than a 3% solution is used on carpet, unless you are a professional carpet cleaner. Stronger solutions, higher than 3%, may result in colour loss or bleaching of carpet fibres. Professional carpet cleaners are trained to be able to identify different carpet fibres and know what is safe to use. They also have high powered equipment capable of rinsing all of the hydrogen peroxide away.
The biggest problem aside from the bleaching, is removing all of the residue. Often these spray on cleaners are difficult to remove without professional equipment and therefore the residue attracts dirt. The other chemicals mixed in with the hydrogen peroxide are usually preservatives and stabilisers as well as a lot of water. It would be much cheaper (and safer) to just buy some 3% hydrogen peroxide and dilute it your self in a spray bottle with some warm water ( 1:2). You could also add a few drops of dish washing liquid to help with the cleaning process. Make sure you do not rub the fibre and always rinse and dry the spot.
To avoid any potential problems and save yourself a whole lot of effort and stress, I would recommend you call a professional like Black Gold carpet steam cleaning Melbourne to remove the stain or at least offer the right advice.
A final word of advice
I am all for natural cleaning remedies and products. In fact most of our cleaning products are natural citrus based detergents and spotters. We also use essential oils for their natural antibacterial properties. However just because it is “natural” doesn’t mean it is always safe to use on every stain and every carpet type. There is actually quite a lot of science involved in carpet cleaning and it takes training and experience to understand what works best in each unique situation. There is not “a one size fits all” when it comes to carpet steam cleaning and stain removal. Always seek professional advice before reaching into the cupboard.