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How to Spot Clean Your Rug to Get Out Stains Fast

Gloved hand spot cleans a rug stain

You work to keep your house tidy—from clean sheets to swept floors. But for even the most fastidious cleaners, the unexpected happens. Whether it’s from dirty soccer cleats, a pet accident, or a food spill, you need to work quickly to get that stain out before it sets. 

Here’s what you need to know to take care of it: 

Tools to Use

  • White cotton cloths or paper towels
  • Water
  • Stain remover
  • Additional cloths or paper towels for drying

Rug Cleaning Basics

The following care routine will help clean the majority of rugs: 

Step 1: Act fast

The first thing to do when you see a stain, regardless of where it came from, is to clean it while it’s still wet. It is less likely to have soaked deep into the carpet fibers. This will increase your chances of entirely removing the stain.  

Step 2: Prep the area

Remove any solid debris from the mess. This will allow you to get to the liquid of the stain more easily. Use a dry cloth to blot up any liquid that is sitting on top of the carpet. 

Use only white cloths or paper towels in cleaning, as it makes it easy to see if the stain is transferring onto the cloth and eliminates the risk of transferring any coloring from the towel onto the carpet.

Step 3: Start with water

Some stains, especially if they aren’t yet set, can be mostly removed with water. Lightly wet your cloth or towel and dab the stain. Check the cloth to see that the stain transfers onto the cloth.

Step 4: Apply stain remover

Dilute the stain remover if needed and apply to a new side of the cloth. The type of stain may determine the type of stain remover needed. You may need a different cleaner for a blood stain than a pet urine stain.

In general, look for cleaners that aren’t colored, as they can leave color behind. Be careful about the ingredients in the cleaner to make sure it won’t bleach or damage the carpet. To be safe, test the product on a small hidden part of the carpet first to check the affects before applying to the spot.

Step 5: Blot and dry

Use a cloth or towel with the applied cleaner and dab it onto the stain. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing as it can spread the stain. To correctly blot, begin at the perimeter of the stain and work your way toward the center.

Use a new dry white cloth or paper towel to blot the cleaned spot until it is dry and the cleaner is removed. It’s important to completely dry the area so that mildew doesn’t grow. If the area is large and difficult to get completely dry after cleaning, you can hang the rug or use a fan with the target area propped up to allow for air to move. 

Additional ways to protect your rug 

Rug pads and mats

A rug pad can help extend the life of your rug and floors by providing cushioning that keeps it off the floor and prevents dents or bunching from heavy furniture.

You may have a material or height of rug pad that works best depending on if your rug is over hardwood floor or carpet.

Product protection

Get extended product coverage on your new rug purchases. Look for companies offering accident protection against spills, stains, rips and tears, and seam separation, as these are the most common rug damages. 

Product protection should start on day 1 after purchase, and have repair and replacement options to fit the damage type. Read the warranty terms and conditions to make sure you’re getting the best coverage for your needs.

Happy woman customer and child, with text about 12 months of free product protection

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Janessa McQuivey

About the author

Janessa McQuivey is the Content Marketing Manager at Mulberry. Her degree in Human Development fueled a love of understanding customer experience. She has been in research and writing for 3 years and has covered everything from AI technology to her own dating life. Janessa has published across blogs, newspapers, and academic journals.

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