No carpet stays pristine forever. If yours is even a couple years old, odds are pretty good that it already has a few battle scars from its war with reality.
First, it’s important to outline the basic removal techniques. When the spill is fresh, blot at it with a cloth or paper towel, working from the outside edges in. Rinse with clean water or the solution best suited to the stain. Try to avoid scrubbing the carpet. This can actually damage the fibers, or force the spill even deeper into the carpet.
Beyond that, your removal strategy will depend on the substance spilled. Here are some of the most common:
Wax. If you spill a candle, it’s not the end of the world. There are two options for getting wax out of your carpet. First, you use ice to freeze it, and then shatter it with a spoon. The other option is to cover the wax with a paper towel or two, and then take an iron (set just on warm) and run it over the paper towel. This melts the wax, transferring it to the paper.
Pet mishaps. There’s nothing worse than cat or dog urine in your carpet. Before you get your bucket full of cleaners, though, blot up as much of the liquid as possible. Next, mix a solution of one part white vinegar to one part water and spray the area. Allow it to soak for a few minutes, then blot.
If the spot still isn’t completely clean, you can try a detergent and water solution (1/4 a teaspoon of a clear dishwashing liquid with one cup of warm water). Apply, blot, rinse with warm water, and repeat if necessary.
Wine (and other beverages). A similar technique will get you through most beverage spills, be they wine, coffee, or juice. Start by spraying the detergent solution above. Wait for a few minutes to give the detergent time to do its job, then blot. Next, rinse with water or the vinegar solution (vinegar will remove the detergent even better than water alone). Blot as necessary, or lay a stack of paper towels over the stain and apply pressure. This will help lift a bad stain.
Repeat this process for as long as you see the stain lightening.