Your carpet is going to see a ton of different stain types during its lifespan. From pet-related accidents to kid-related messes to the occasional spilled glass of red wine, your carpet is going to need to bounce back from all kinds of different blemishes. But what do you do when your problem comes from the simplest type of stain of all? First of all, adjust your thinking: Though water might seem like a completely neutral cleaning tool, it can leave its share of persistent, hard-to-eradicate stains on your beloved carpet. If your home rug is suffering from water damage, it might seem like there’s nothing helpful you can do to get it back to its old state. But don’t despair. Even the toughest water damage can be cleaned, leaving your carpet restored to its former glory. All it takes is a bit of work and some standard cleaning agents to get back to looking like new. Before you take your rug to a nearby arlington carpet cleaner, consider these steps.
Remove Excess Water
If you’re dealing with a stain that’s fresh, you want to do as much damage control as possible by blotting any excess moisture with a microfiber cloth, paper towel, or any gentle absorptive material on hand. If your rug is going to recover from the stain, it needs to dry fast. The best way you can allow for a quick drying time is to make sure you’re soaking up as much water as possible. If the stain is older, you can skip this step and go straight to cleaning.
Clean and Dab
Even if you’re just dealing with a plain old water stain, your rug still needs to be clean. Not all water is fresh and pure, and a lot of older standing water caused by plumbing leaks can be quite dirty, leaving brownish stains on home rugs and furniture that seem impossible to eradicate. However, when it comes to water stains on your rug, mixing together a gentle household detergent with lukewarm water is the best way to effectively clean and kill bacteria without over-wetting your rug or exposing it to harsh chemicals. Using a damp cloth, pat the area with the diluted detergent and let it set. If you’re working with a white or off-white rug, you can also sprinkle on some baking soda and let it set to form a paste.
Vinegar is a rug owner’s best friend. When it comes to neutralizing odor, killing bacteria, and stopping mold in its tracks, vinegar is the perfect household staple to have on hand for any kind of spill-related emergency. When dealing with a water stain, use a mixture that combines equal parts vinegar and warm water to coat the area. After letting it set for awhile, dab up any excess moisture and let it completely dry. Don’t be discouraged by the lingering appearance of a stain. You won’t actually be able to see how effective the treatment was until you’ve let everything dry completely. If you want to speed the process along, place a damp cloth towel on the area and go over it with a steam iron. This will both expedite the drying process while helping the vinegar sink deeper into the rug’s base for a more thorough clean.
Dry the Area Quickly
Whatever you do, don’t over-wet a large, fluffy rug and leave it overnight to dry. The reason you have your water stain in the first place is likely due to a poor drying job that left your rug still wet after cleaning. If it’s a sunny day outside, bring your rug out and allow it to air dry. Since you’ve only dealt with a small patch, it shouldn’t take too long. If you don’t trust the weather, take your rug into a smaller room and run fans in order to circulate the air and get your rug dry fast. Otherwise, using steam heat can be a great way to quickly dry up a smaller or medium-sized stained area. Whatever you do, don’t let your rug get so wet that drying it out becomes a time-intensive process.
Use a Steam Cleaner
If you don’t want to get your hands too dirty, you can easily use steam heat to get your rug looking good as new. Most hardware stores and even many grocery stores have a steam cleaner that you can rent by the day. If you feel comfortable using the machine yourself, use it to treat and clean your stained rug. If not, consider bringing in your rug to the nearest trusted dry cleaning service to have it professionally treated.