With the holiday office party over, now is an excellent time to consider the shape of your commercial carpets. A basic janitorial task is carpet spotting. Not to be confused with carpet cleaning, carpet spotting is locating spots on office carpets that may appear at any given time, generally from spills from like food or beverages. Take a look at the difference between spotting and cleaning carpet stains, and review tips to remove stains from commercial carpets.
The first rule of spotting: Do no harm
Use the proper technique to ensure that you do not make the spot worse by spreading it to a larger area of the carpet.
Carpet spotting technique:
When cleaning spots on carpets, it’s a good idea to try plain water first. If the spot is new and hasn’t set yet, often water alone is all that is needed.
- Start by vacuuming the spot. (If the spill is something thick or solid, break it up with a brush before vacuuming.)
- Blot the spot with cold water on a clean WHITE cloth. Use minimal moisture – this will prevent dirt at the bottom of the carpet from “wicking” back up to the surface as the carpet fibers dry following the cleaning. (Carpets dry from the bottom up. As this occurs, dirt can migrate up with the moisture.)
- If water alone doesn’t get the spot out, then next step is to use a carpet spotter solution.
Read the instructions:
Follow the specified procedure on the label of your carpet solution.
- Generally, you should apply carpet spotters onto a clean WHITE cloth and blot the spot. Do not over-saturate – use the minimum amount of solution required to get the job done.
- Work the spotter into the carpet fibers with the cloth. For larger spots, use of a carpet brush may be helpful, especially if the substance being cleaned is hard or sticky.
- Always move from the outside of the spot towards the center. This will ensure that you do not spread the spot onto a larger area of the carpet.
- You may need to repeat the process 2 or 3 times.
- In some cases, it may be advisable to rinse the spot after using the carpet spotter – follow the directions on the package. Rinsing removes the alkalinity of the spotter from the carpet.
- Finish by blotting the area as dry as possible with your cloth.
What if the spotter doesn’t get the stain out?
If your carpet spotter is not effective on a particular spot, find out what was spilled. Many all-purpose carpet spotters are not very effective on spills from fruit juices or red wine. Once you have learned the liquid or material that caused the problem carpet stain, ask your local janitorial company what spotter solution will be effective on that type of stain.
An alternative to a Carpet Spotting solution, especially for red wine or coffee, is to use one of the following mixtures. Remember to always pre-test the carpet in an inconspicuous area to ensure the color will not run or fade. You also want to refrain from rubbing the spot and instead blot:
For Red Wine:
- Soda Water
- Salt and Soda Water
Directions: Begin by blotting the area as much as possible with a clean dry cloth or paper towel. Next, saturate the stain with the salt, soda water, or a combination of the two. Gently work the solution into the area from outside inward so as not to spread the stain further. Let the solution soak into the wet stain and dry. As it dries, it should suck up the stain. Then, simply vacuum all the salt up.
- Dish Soap (1 Tablespoon)
- White Vinegar (2 Tablespoons)
- Warm Water (2 Cups)
Directions: Mix ingredients into a spray bottle. Remove as much liquid before applying solution. Spray the solution onto the carpet stain and then begin blotting the area with a clean dry. Repeat as needed. Lastly, sponge the area with cold water and blot dry.
If you seek professional assistance to remove carpet stains, contact your Vanguard Cleaning Systems regional office. Vanguard Cleaning Systems franchisees are specialists to remove carpet stains and offer professional carpet cleaning solutions to meet the cleaning needs of any office environment.