Red wine spilt on a carpet

The holiday season brings about tons of planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. You want everything to be perfect, so you prepare for guests who are coming over. And, because you’re busy from Thanksgiving to New Year, the holiday aftermath may be far from your mind.

But, after all the fun, food, and family bonding, your carpets may have suffered from all the stains and dirt that the holidays unleashed upon them. In 2014, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) conducted an online study to look at the top stains of the holiday season in American households.

The top holiday stains include:

  • Chocolate (26 percent)
  • Fruit punch and other dye-based drinks (26 percent)
  • Grease (23 percent)
  • Wine (21 percent)
  • Candle wax (19 percent)
  • Vomit (18 percent)
  • Beer (16 percent)
  • Gravy (15 percent)
  • Butter (10 percent)

Tony Wheelwright, Chairman of the IICRC, said, “Our research shows that these substances have ended up on our floors or upholstery. If they aren’t properly treated, these stains can leave you with a lasting memory long after the holiday season has passed.”

Learn how to clean these common, mostly holiday-specific stains to save your rugs and carpets from permanent damage. Who knows? These tips may even give way to a carpet cleaning business opportunity for you.

Cleaning Tip #1: Act Fast

The longer stains stay on your carpet, the harder it will be to remove them. Whether the spill was from something solid or liquid, you must remove the things causing the stain as soon as you possibly can. Carefully scrape solid particles or sop up excess liquid with paper towels or cloth.

Cleaning Tip #2: Vacuum the Spot

Guy vacuuming the carpetVacuum the spot that’s been stained after your initial blotting. This allows you to remove the dirt stuck to your carpet, especially if the material that caused the stain is made from something solid.

Cleaning Tip #3: Use Water First

Depending on the stain, you might not have to spend so much on stain-removal products. You’d be surprised how much stain water alone can remove. Simply blot the stained area with a damp cloth. Trusty club soda may also work as a dampening agent. It is slightly acidic, so it can decolorize stains.

Cleaning Tip #4: Don’t Scrub

You might have noticed that the first two tips involve sopping up and blotting stains, but not scrubbing at them. This is because you’re more likely to spread the stain if you scrub at it. What you need to do is lift out the stains, not spread them even more.

Cleaning Tip #5: Try some Baking Soda

Baking soda has a variety of uses, not just in cooking but in cleaning as well. From absorbing strong odors in your fridge to deep-cleaning your greasy pots and pans, you can solve your cleaning problems with baking soda.

For carpets, baking soda absorbs the stain, the smell, and the grease. Simply sprinkle baking soda over the grease-stained carpet, let it sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum the excess.

Cleaning Tip #6: Vinegar Works, Too

If you still see stains on your carpet, you can finish them off with a combination of a tablespoon of dishwashing soap, two cups of warm water, and a tablespoon of white vinegar.

Vinegar is a solvent, meaning it dissolves other things (a.k.a. stubborn stains). It also acts as a deodorizer and disinfectant, leaving your carpet clean and without a musty odor.

These simple steps can help in the extensive cleaning fest you’re likely to do after the holidays. If all else fails, call your trusty carpet cleaning company so as not to damage your carpet further.

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