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Cleaning Up After Life’s Little Messes

If you’ve got kids or pets in your home, chances are your carpets have seen their share of messes. Some of them are simple to clean up — dust and water can be blotted and vacuumed. Unfortunately, that’s probably not the worst kind of stain you’ll have to deal with.

Bodily fluids can cause much more tenacious stains than other messes if they’re not tended to properly. Here are a few tips to help you address those nastier messes.

The Solution To Pollution Is Dilution

It’s a common saying in the medical community, but it applies here too. First of all, the faster you can find the mess, the better. These stains set quickly, so time is a factor. If there is a solid component, as with vomit or feces, remove it as soon as you find it. The wet part that soaked into the carpet is your main concern.

Get a towel that you don’t care about and soak up as much of the mess as you can. Don’t rub, just blot — rubbing can work the mess even deeper into the fibers. Put this towel aside to wash in the washing machine later, and wash it hot — most bacteria can’t survive the temperatures of your water heater.

Get another towel wet — not soaking wet, but significantly — with cold water. Blot at the stain, wetting it and diluting it while also absorbing it. Wring the towel out, wet it again, and continue this process until stains start to fade.

An important note: don’t use water on cotton, silk, or wool carpets, as it can damage them significantly. These steps are only for synthetic carpets — most of the carpets on the market. If you get a stain on a natural-fiber carpet, contact a professional cleaner who will have access to chemicals and machines that you don’t.

Fold up the damp towel you’ve been using so that a fresh, dry side is out, and apply a small amount of Dawn dish soap to it. Rubbing back and forth, work the soap into the carpet. This will lift the remaining stain residue off the fibers and clean them thoroughly.

Repeat the step with the wet towel, rinsing and blotting the soap out of the carpet until no stain remains. If this process doesn’t work, you will likely need to call a professional.

How To Get Blood Out Of Carpet

Whether it’s a nosebleed or a cut, a few drops of blood can really linger in a carpet. If you catch the mess before it dries, the above technique of water and soap should work just fine. If you don’t, and the blood has dried, you’ll need to take extra steps.

Brush the dried blood with a stiff brush to loosen the stain. This will remove the dried blood and surface stain and make it easier to remove.

Now mix a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with two cups of water. Dip a clean towel in the solution and blot it repeatedly on the blood stain. Do this repeatedly until the stain disappears.

With these tips, you should be able to keep your carpets looking fresh for years!