How to Tackle Common Carpet Stains During the Holiday Season
Hard to believe, but the holiday season is here again. That means food, food, and more food. More than any other time of year, it seems like everywhere you turn in November and December there’s a tray of treats—from meatballs and cheese platters to pumpkin pie and sugar cookies.
And it’s not just at home. Food tends to make its way into the workplace a whole lot more during the holiday months. For many, that can be a great thing – after all, who doesn’t like the occasional afternoon cookie? But for those of us tasked with keeping facilities clean, it can create some key challenges.
The holiday season is definitely a time of year when we see an uptick in stains in office building and facility carpets. Most of these stains come courtesy of food and drinks—whether it’s chocolate cake, wine, mustard, coffee, or something more unique. Unfortunately, all that holiday fun can do permanent damage to your carpet.
If the holidays tend to leave your facility’s carpet a little worse for the wear every year, here are some tips for tackling tough stains.
General Carpet Stain Removal Tips
Most fresh or recent stains – including liquid stains – can be removed from your commercial carpeting by following these steps:
- Absorb the stain. Get a paper towel, cotton cloth or a microfiber towel and lay it over the stain. Then, apply pressure to the towel to absorb the stain. Repeat this process until the stain is removed. TIP: Do not rub the stain as it may cause the stain to embed deeper into the carpet.
- Use water. If needed, apply a little water and repeat the process. Water is a cleaning agent. If a stain is still wet (new), steps 1-2 are probably all that is needed to remove the stain.
- Apply a carpet spotter. If the stain is still present after steps 1 and 2, spray a mild carpet spotter or detergent on the carpet, agitate with a soft brush, and blot. Then add water to rinse the detergent and stain from the carpet fiber and blot again. Liquid spills will almost always come out with blotting and the use of a spotting chemical. Below is a short video showing how to use a carpet spotter on your carpet.
(NOTE: DPM Care clients have exclusive access to Banish Plus, our proprietary spot cleaner. If you are a client and would like to request Banish Plus, please contact us here.)
- Get professional help. Sometimes, these steps aren’t enough. If the stain is still present, you need to call a commercial carpet cleaning professional.
Removing Food Stains from Carpet
The process of removing food stains is similar to the steps above with a couple of exceptions. Follow this process to remove caked-on food stains from your carpet:
- Scrape up the food from the surface of the carpet using a spatula or a spoon TIP: Take care not to push the food deeper into the carpet fiber.
- Apply a carpet spotter or mild detergent to the remaining food and agitate the spot with a soft nylon brush from the outside to the center of the stain in a circular motion.
- Blot the stain and repeat the process until the food is dissolved or removed.
- Use water. Rinse with a little water and blot to ensure no soap residue from the cleaning agent is left in the carpet.
- Repeat. If the stain remains after going through steps 1-4, you will need to consult a carpet cleaning professional.
Act Fast: Quick Spot Cleaning Is Key to Removing Stains
No matter the kind of stain, a quick response is the key. The longer a stain sits on your carpet, the harder it is to get out. Whenever possible, clean the affected area of your carpet right away to increase your chances of eliminating any noticeable spotting or discoloration.
Don’t Let Carpet Stains Spoil the Holidays at Your Facility
Be prepared to treat food and drink drops and spills as they appear during the holiday season. Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:
- Clean more often. Consider increasing your cleaning efforts during the holiday months—vacuuming and/or deep cleaning your carpets more frequently will help you stay on top of stains.
- Check for stains. Make it a point to do a sweep of your carpet for stains during and after any parties or events at your facility. That way, stains will be easier to clean.
- Use proper technique. Employ the correct cleaning technique based on the type of stain you find on your carpet.
- Get help. Don’t hesitate to call a carpet cleaning professional if you can’t get a stain out. Waiting too long can allow the stain to set in and potentially decrease the useful life of your carpet (and the return on your carpet investment).