Carpet Spot and Spill Removal Tips

An important part of maintaining a carpet involves properly treating spots and spills as they occur. These general tips will help you successfully tackle these accidental messes.

  1. Act fast. The longer the spot or spill remains on the carpet, the more likely, that it will become a permanent stain.
  2. Lift off as much of the spot or spill as possible. Use a white, absorbent cloth or towel to blot the spill. Avoid rubbing the spill. Continue to use a clean portion of the cloth to blot the spill until no more of it comes up. Scrape off any dry matter.
  3. Select the proper spot cleaning solution. Types of spotters include general, all-purpose, protein, enzyme, solvent-based and more. Your ARA-affiliated rental professional can recommend the spotter that will work best on your spot or spill, but keep in mind that like dissolves like. For instance, protein and enzyme spotters work best for a blood spot, but a solvent-based spotter more likely will dissolve a tar or paint spot.
  4. Pretest spot cleaning solution. Test the spotter on a piece of carpet left over from installation or an area of carpet out of view. If it does not change the color of the carpet, you can safely use the spotter.
  5. Use spot cleaning solution. Follow instructions on the spotter packaging.
  6. Rinse. After removing the spill, rinse the carpeted area with clean water. Use a rented portable extractor or blot with a towel until dry.

For instructions on removing hundreds of different types of spots and stains from carpet, visit the Web site for the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) at

Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your carpet cleaning needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.

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