Picture this: It is a brand new day and you’ve just poured yourself a cup of fresh coffee. While you are in the middle of getting ready for a busy day ahead, you knock your mug off the table, and watch in horror as your coffee spills all over your carpet. We’ve all been there before, haven’t we?

No matter how careful you are, accidents are bound to happen, and there’s no need to panic if you find a stained area on your carpet or upholstery! These quick tips for common stains can help keep the situation under control until you’re able to call a professional if needed.

Coffee Stains

To clean up a coffee spill, start by soaking up as much as you can with a dry cloth or rag. This is important because these spills have a tendency to spread fast. If you do not have a specialty cleaner on hand, you can use a mixture of lukewarm water and dish soap. Gently blot the stain with your specialty or DIY solution from the outside in to prevent it from expanding.

Once the spot is coffee-free, you can use a clean and dry rag to soak up any extra moisture. You do not want to skip this step because lingering moisture can cause discoloration and mold, which can cause more severe problems later on.

Wine Stains

Wine is known for staining so acting quickly is key. While there are special stain removers to take care of red spills, you can easily make your own. If the spill is on white carpet or upholstery, you can use a solution of three parts hydrogen peroxide and one part dish soap. For non white materials, simply use club soda.

Begin by blotting the stain with a clean, dry rag until no more wine is coming up, and then dilute the stain with cool water. Apply your peroxide solution and blot stain with mixture, or pour your club soda on the area. Let sit for 20 minutes to an hour, blot clean, and repeat if necessary.

Grease and Oil Stains

These types of stains are notoriously difficult to remove because grease and oil are insoluble in water. This causes the stain to stick to the fibers of your carpet or upholstery and not let go. Luckily, there are two common methods for cleaning up new and old grease and oil stains:

Method #1: Mix of baking soda and detergent

  1. Use a dull knife to scrape off excess grease and cover the stain in baking soda. 
  2. Depending on the size of the stain, use a utility brush or a toothbrush to rub baking soda gently into the stain. 
  3. Let rest for 15 minutes before vacuuming it up. 
  4. Add a few drops of liquid detergent to the stained area and brush spot gently adding water. 
  5. Blot dry and rinse with clean cloth and water. Repeat if stain remains visible.

Method #2: Mix of vinegar and dish soap

  1. Scrape off excess dried grease residue with a dull knife.
  2. Mix one tablespoon of dish soap and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle (if possible).
  3. Spray mixture on stain and blot with clean cloth.
  4. Dip clean cloth in warm water to remove excess detergent from material. Repeat if stain is still visible.

Ink Stains

Ink removal is also tricky because the cleaning method is pretty dependent on the type of fiber that is stained. Common resolutions include the use of rubbing alcohol, vinegar, dish soap, or a combination of a few ingredients. To find the best solution, check out this comprehensive list of ink stain solutions for just about every type of ink stained upholstery.

Carpet is most commonly made of nylon or polyester, so to remove ink stains, you can dab it with rubbing alcohol. Once the stain is gone, repeat dabbing motion with water and a new rag. If your carpet is made from wool, it is more susceptible to damage, so you will want to blot the stain with water and vinegar.

Makeup Stains

The cleaning process for makeup stains is the same across the board, but the ingredients for the cleaning solutions differ depending on the product. For foundation, a mixture of cold water and dish soap should do the trick. For eyeliner, mix a teaspoon of vinegar and half a cup of warm water and mascara can simply be cleaned up with makeup remover. 

Start by scooping up as much product as you can, from your carpet or upholstery. Dip a microfiber cloth into your cleaning solution and blot from the outside in. Keep dabbing until there is no stain left. Finally, rinse the area with cold water to take care of any remnants of your cleaning solution.

Key Tips

In general, if the spot is wet, blot the area with a dry cloth and if it’s already dry, blot it with a wet cloth using either a gentle stain-removing product or a DIY solution that is safe for the material. The key to removing any stain: clean it up as quickly as possible and blot rather than scrub! The longer a spill sits on a fabric, the more likely it is to stain permanently and blotting the area will help lift the liquid from the material, rather than digging it deeper into the fibers.

After the majority of the liquid is removed, gently rubbing the area can help extract the rest—but make sure scrubbing is never your first action. If the stain persists, be sure to contact the cleaning professionals at Springer Floor Care to make sure your carpet and upholstery stays spotless.