4. Conquer Stubborn Stains
Getting coffee or tea stains out of your rug may seem as feasible as getting water out of a rock, but beer can be a miracle worker in this field. Color test a small non-visible area first and allow to dry. If all looks well, then time to tackle the stain: douse it in beer, blot, repeat. For other types of carpet stains, try some of these tricks.
Soon we will be closing our homes up for the cooler weather, leaving us face-to-face with rugs and carpets that look and smell less than fresh: A wine spill here, a pet accident there—and you can end up with a real mess underfoot. But commercial carpet cleaners and fresheners can contain synthetic ingredients that can harm you and your pets.
Here are some great formulas that really work to remove grease stains, chewing gum, food and red wine stains, and even cat mistakes (Annie’s formula works better than expensive enzyme-based cleaners!). Find out how to have sweet-smelling, fresh-looking rugs, safely and naturally.
Always try these formulas on a bit of rug that is out of sight first, to be sure they won’t cause discoloration or fading.
Annie’s Fabulous Whipped Carpet-Cleaner:
This formula is fun to make and fun to use. Just mix equal parts water and liquid detergent and whip with a hand beater until it gets frothy. Use a sponge to scoop some onto a section of your rug, rub in gently, then wipe dry with a clean rag.
To Neutralize Pet Odours:
The odor of cat urine is one of the strongest and most unpleasant smells ever. And it’s so difficult to get rid of: one pet mistake on a carpet or sofa can ruin it forever–unless you know the secret.
Find out how to get rid of that awful odor quickly, easily and naturally!
- First, use water with soap or detergent to dilute and remove as much of the urine as possible. Rinse area well.
- Next, apply straight white vinegar to the area (you may want to make sure this will not affect the color of your rug or furniture by doing a spot-test first.) Rub in well and allow to dry until area is just damp. Be sure to wait until the vinegar is nearly dry before applying the baking soda.
- Apply baking soda liberally to the damp area and allow to dry completely. (If baking soda gets too wet, it will make a gloppy mess that is hard to vacuum. Once it then dries it can stick to the fabric of a carpet and be hard to fully rinse off, although it should eventually.)
- When dry, vacuum thoroughly.
Pets tend to return to the same place in the house when they make their periodic pee and other mistakes. Pets have an excellent sense of smell; in fact, they can smell the residue from their previous error, and this makes them feel as if that marks the spot for the next error.
Neutralize the odor by alternating baking soda and vinegar. I always follow cleaning up a pet mess by sprinkling the area with baking soda, leaving that overnight, and then sweeping or vacuuming it up. Pet urine often has both acidic and alkaline components, so the next step is to neutralize the alkaline baking soda and residual alkaline odor using a strong vinegar wash;
I use 2 cups of white distilled vinegar to 1 gallon of water.
Wash the area with the vinegar wash, and then rinse. The strong smell of the vinegar will
dissipate in a few hours.
To Remove Red Wine Stains:
It’s easier to get rid of stains when they are fresh. First, blot, then dilute with warm water and blot again. Then:
Method 1: Pour on a bit of milk, white wine, or club soda. Blot and wash with warm water and liquid detergent.
Method 2: Mix equal parts liquid detergent and fresh hydrogen peroxide (it loses its effectiveness if it’s old) and apply to stain. Blot and reapply if necessary, then use warm water to rinse. Allow to dry.
To Remove Fruit Juice and Berry Stains:
Blot and dilute the stain, then apply straight white vinegar. Rinse with warm water.
To Remove Chewing Gum:
Remove as much of it as you can (some people swear by using a plastic bag to pick up the gum: evidently, the gum will adhere to the plastic). Then apply ice cubes to the gum still remaining on the carpet to freeze it: the gum becomes easy to pick out of the rug fibers.
To Remove Grease Stains:
First, blot away as much of the grease as you can. Then apply straight isopropyl alcohol to the stain. Blot, then wash with warm water and liquid detergent. If that doesn’t get it all, apply a few drops of fresh hydrogen peroxide and blot, then wash again with warm water and detergent.
Fragrant Carpet Freshener:
Mix 2 cups of borax (in the laundry section of your grocery store) and 25 drops pure essential oil, making sure the oil is evenly distributed throughout the borax. Shake this mixture liberally over your carpet and allow to remain on for a few minutes, then vacuum.