Carpet Spots Vs. Carpet Stains—What’s the Difference?

May 27, 2016

wine glass spilled on carpet






Treating carpet spots and stains isn’t an exact science. In fact, successfully removing them yourself can depend on how long it’s been untreated, and even the pigment of your carpet’s fibers. Why does make-up seem so much easier to remove than a cup of spilled coffee or tea? Although it seems quite random, it’s the difference between a spot and a stain that ultimately calls the shots. Here’s a quick breakdown so you can deal with each carpet blunder correctly—and know when it’s time to bring in a carpet cleaning professional (before it gets worse!) 

What’s a Spot and How Do I Remove It?

No matter what size household you may live in, you deal with daily “risks” and “blunders” that can harm the quality and overall health of your carpet. Chocolate, blood, pet feces, gum, mildew, nail polish and colored drinks (such as Gatorade) are just a few examples of spots and stains that can cause you to develop a dirty and unhealthy carpet. But not all mishaps are created equal.

The difference between spots and stains (and as a general rule of thumb) is that you can “feel” a spot and not a stain. Therefore, it’s often easier to apply a do-it-yourself treatment to restore your carpet (until your next professional cleaning) than it is a stubborn stain.

A spot can be any of the following: make-up, feces, vomit and gum. The sooner you treat your spot, the better chance you have of removing it from your carpet’s fibers. However, it’s important to be aware that some spots such as nail polish may require the help of a professional. If you can’t get it out yourself by combining 2/3 cup of cold water with 1/3 cup white vinegar, contact your local Chem-Dry representative for help.  

The Stain Game: Understanding What You’re Working With

As convenient as it would be, not all stains are created equal. In fact, while some stains are relatively easy to remove yourself, others can be downright impossible. This is because some of the chemicals in the foods and drinks you eat (and thus spill on your gorgeous carpet) contain harsh chemicals that can’t be simply treated with a water based mixture. Be on the lookout for the following stains, and contact a cleaning professional to take care of it for you: tea, sports drinks, ink, mustard and bleach.

It’s important when trying to remove the stain yourself that you never scrub in a back and forth motion. With tough stains, this can result in having to remove the carpet and replace it altogether. It’s also important not to “deal with it later.” Always attempt to treat a stain as quickly as you possibly can.

Begin by vacuuming the stain up as much as you can. Blot damp towels saturated in water onto the stain to attempt to dilute the chemicals as much as possible. Continue to blot until all the moisture has been absorbed.

If you don’t notice a difference after about 30 minutes of blotting, contact a local Chem-Dry in your area. They have the tools, experience and reputation to take your carpets from spotted to spotless!