Ask Sadie: A Cleaning Q&A Column | September 13, 2012
Q: I have coffee stains on my lobby carpet. Do you have any tips or techniques for getting rid of it? I don’t want to have to replace our carpet.
A: Treating spills on carpets can be a tricky business, especially without knowing what type of carpet you have, as certain carpet types/coloring can react to carpet spotters. Always remember to check for colorfastness before using any carpet spotter. I am going to answer as if it’s a general spot or spill on a fairly easy to clean carpet.
First off, the most important thing to do when treating a spill on carpet is to act quickly after it was created! This way the spot from the spill doesn’t have time to set. Once a stain sets, it’ll be more difficult to clean up. Also, you’ll want to use a water-based (or general-purpose carpet spotter) for water-soluable stains and a solvent-based carpet spotter (or general-purpose spotter) for oil-based stains. So make sure that you have the correct carpet spotter handy & double-check by reading the label all the way through BEFORE you start to clean up the stain.
Next try to soak up as much of the spot as possible using a clean cloth or paper towel before applying a carpet spotter. Remember to blot, NOT scrub! Spray the carpet spotter per the label directions, and using a clean cloth, gently blot the spot working from the outside in. You may need to walk away for 10 minutes to let the spotter soak in and start to work before blotting. Repeat this step more than once if necessary as sometimes it takes several applications to transfer the spot to the cloth or paper towel. If the spot still does not come out, a specialty spotter may be required.
WAXIE offers many types of carpet spotters that treat a number of different types of spills, stains or spots. An additional resource is the Carpet & Rug Institute’s wonderful Spot Solver Guide located on their website, which has a large list of different types of spills/stains/spots, including coffee, and what’s best for removing each specific type.
Also, it’s wise to invest in indoor matting, especially in high-traffic areas that protect carpet or hard floor surfaces from potential stains, the elements, and general wear & tear. Plus mats can easily be replaced rather inexpensively if they get too damaged, whereas it can be quite costly to replace a carpet.