Asked on May 27, 2013

Carpet Stains / Ground-in Dirt

Jim Ginas
by Jim Ginas
Had a Carpet Cleaning group in and they did a half a....butt job. My wife used her machine AFTER they did their job and still got LOTS of dirt out. NONETHELESS, we still have a few areas that stains are coming back up after it looks clean and dries. Are there home solutions I can use that might help?? (We've used Bissel and Woolite w/ Oxy). Thanks
  10 answers
  • Shari Shari on May 27, 2013
    My husband and I have been pet owners for more than 37 years and during that time, we've dealt with our fair share of every kind of pet related accident and stain you can think of. I've tried many products and hands down, I think the best one is Woolite Oxy (Deep) Stain & Odor Remover so I'm surprised it hasn't worked for you. I've put it to some tough tests (including a dog diarrhea accident on white carpet) and it has never failed me. It might take repeated efforts but it should eventually remove whatever stains you have. I have found that some stains can penetrate deep into the carpet fibers or the carpet backing and then "wick" back up to the surface as the carpet dries. This is probably what you are experiencing. When I have had this happen, I work the Woolite Oxy Deep into the fibers and down to the carpet backing with my fingers. Then, after working it in, I place a clean, dry wash cloth or towel over the stain and put pressure on it with my foot or something heavy. This helps pull the stain up and out. Repeat as many times as necessary. We had a German Shepherd that pulled a quart of black latex paint off the kitchen counter and carried it into the living room. (I'm sure he thought there was something to eat in that can!) Anyway, the lid wasn't on the paint can tight so black paint dripped on the carpet. I had to repeatedly work on that mess because it would look clean but then after a short time, the spot would reappear as more paint traveled up the carpet strands to the surface. However, I was eventually able to draw every bit of the paint up and out by the towel & pressure method. Once you have removed the stain to your satisfaction, you might want to fill your carpet cleaner with a solution of white vinegar and hot water and clean the areas of the carpet that were repeatedly treated for stains. Soap residue left behind in the carpet is a dirt magnet. (It is possible maybe these recurring stains are actually areas where there is a buildup of soap that is attracting dirt when you walk across them.) The vinegar/hot water solution will help cut the soap residue from these areas that you have repeatedly treated with the commercial stain products. When I clean my carpets, I actually try to use as little soap as possible (usually much less than the carpet cleaner manufacturer calls for) and then I come back and do a final rinse with nothing in the machine but white vinegar and hot water to cut the soapy residue. I also had a carpet cleaner repair shop employee tell me that running a tankful of white vinegar and hot water through your carpet cleaner before you put it away will also clean all the dirt and gunk out of all the little tubes and nozzles so they don't clog.

  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on May 28, 2013
    This is VERY HELPFUL Shari. We'll try what you've posted. Thanks much!

  • Shari Shari on May 28, 2013
    You are most welcome. I hope you have success! I'm borderline obsessive-compulsive about keeping my carpets clean and looking nice, and with animals that can be quite a challenge. We also now live in the country on a horse farm with dirt, dirt and more dirt so I feel like I've sort of become a "junior Martha Stewart" when it comes to carpet stain removal. :)

  • Sherrie Sherrie on May 28, 2013
    Jim the problem is the soap. You have to rinse ,rinse p, rinse to get the soap out. If you don't every time you walk in and have a little bit of dirt on your feet the soap on the carpet grabs the dirt and it shows stains. If the stains are really bad there are commercial stain removers. Use a white cloth and start in the outside and work in, you would be really surprised how clean you can get your carpets by renting a commercial steamer yourself. The carpet dries quicker and its cheaper then calling a company.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 29, 2013
    When I rent the carpet cleaning machine from my local place and use it in our rental. I will do one pass with the soap...then follow up with about 6 to 8 "rinse" passes. Keep going till the water comes out takes forever. which is why most commercial outfits skimp on this step.

    • Barbara Barbara on Jul 12, 2016
      When doing multiple rinses, how long to wait between each rinse pass? 'Til completely dry? Or rinse back to back? (I have a Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe which is very good at extracting water. Hoover customer service told me to wait 3-6 hours.). I don't want to overwet, but waiting 3-6 hours between rinses for carpet to dry takes waaaaaay too much time. I have looked in vain all over the internet for the answer to this question . . . many say "do multiple rinses" but no one ever mentions how long to wait between rinses!

  • Peggy S Peggy S on May 29, 2013
    I've put white vinegar in my machine. About a cup in with the water. No shampoo, and rinsed, and rinsed and rinsed until there are no more suds. I've also stopped using carpet Shampoo. I use plain ammonia. don't mix the vinegar and the ammonia. I've poured stright ammonia on spots to pre treat them. I think it's the best thing I've used, ever.

  • Janice Phillips (JP) Janice Phillips (JP) on May 29, 2013
    Peggy, you're right. Vinegar is perfect for cleaning carpets or Parson's Lemon Ammonia. Make sure to rinse WELL!!! I never use a shampoo on carpeting. If the carpet is new...follow the manufacturer directions or call the company of purchase so as not to void warranty.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 30, 2013
    I was just using a carpet machine yesterday in my girls room. It has been about 10 years since the carpet was installed, and this was the first "cleaning". Being in a back remote bedroom it was not really that bad. I ran a single pass with the "carpet" cleaner then only needed about 4 passes with plain hot water for the rinse. When doing the rinse I like to alternate passes at 90 degree. this helps with missed area and prevent the nap from getting bent in only a single direction. This room is about 15 x 16 and it took me about 3 hours, and use about 60 gallons of hot water in the cleaning and rinsing. The machine I used has a 2 gallon res. About half of the time cleaning was spent going back and forth to the sink to fill and empty the machine. This is one area where large truck based system save some time.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on May 30, 2013
    Here is a carpet (Shaw)) carpet cleaning guide. I linked it so you can use care and maintance guidelines.

  • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on May 31, 2013
    Thanks Sherrie. I've saved the pdf for future reference too. (varying methods base on varying stains. HOPEFULLY, it's not ever going to be that bad! I do have my 5 yr old grandson living here in a house of WHITE carpet though!