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February 1, 2002
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Carpet cleaners face a wide variety of cleaning problems, not the least of which are problem stains. Here are a few that you may encounter, and their remedies, as offered by the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).

Stain Removal

Carpet cleaners face a wide variety of cleaning problems, not the least of which are problem stains. Here are a few that you may encounter, and their remedies, as offered by the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA).

Beer Stains
Apply detergent solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply vinegar solution and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Crayon Marks
Apply dry cleaning solvent
Apply a non-volatile dry solvent and blot with towel
(repeat as necessary)
Apply detergent solution and blot with towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Emergency Stain Removal
Although many carpets have stain resistant coatings, this protection will only last for so long. If you act quickly, within hours or, in some cases minutes, most spills can be removed. The longer the stain remains on the carpet, the less likely it can be removed via a spotting procedure.

Coffee spills, soft drink spills, and other stains can be removed by first blotting, not rubbing, the area dry. One of the best cleaners to apply is dish detergent and water. Apply it to a clean, damp cloth and blot the area several times. The stain will be removed. You will probably be able to remove the stain even if it sits for more than 30 minutes up to an hour.

Fruit drinks can be a bit more troublesome. You must spot the area with minutes. Ink stains and more serious stains will probably require a stain-removing product, which all cleaners should carry with them.

Always remember, blot the area, and do not rub. Rubbing just spreads the stain around making it more difficult to remove.

Chewing Gum
Harden gum with ice cube or equivalent and scrape gum with a spatula. Apply dry cleaning solvent to remove the traces of gum or use a commercial chewing gum remover.

Jelly Stains
Apply detergent solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply vinegar solution and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot with cotton towel
Apply enzyme detergent and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Juice Stains
Apply detergent solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply ammonia solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply vinegar solution and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Ketchup Stains
Apply cold detergent solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply ammonia solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply enzyme detergent and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Milk Stains
Apply cold detergent solution and blot with towel
Apply ammonia solution and blot with cotton towel
Apply vinegar solution and blot with cotton towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry
Apply an enzyme detergent and blot with towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry
Apply dry cleaning solvent and blot

Soda Stains
Apply cold detergent solution and blot with towel
Apply ammonia solution and blot with towel
Apply vinegar solution and blot with towel
Rinse with water and blot until dry

Wine and Cola Stains
The most important thing to remember when cleaning up wine or any liquid drink spill is to "blot" it up as much as possible as soon as it happens. Never rub a stain, which will just spread it further in to the fabric and make the stain larger. Blot it with a clean, absorbent towel or rag.

The next step is to blot it again using a COOL detergent-water solution such as dish detergent. Always use cool water; warm water will bake in the stain.

You can also apply a cool mixture of vinegar and water or even ammonia and water. Do not mix the vinegar and ammonia together; this can be harmful if inhaled.

There are also commercially available products you can also use to remove all types of stains. There are basically two types of stains, water based such as wine and oil based such as tar. When buying stain removers, read the label and make sure which type of stain the product is to be used for.

Lincolnwood, Ill.-based ISSA (www.issa.com) is a leading worldwide provider of products, services and benefits to the cleaning and maintenance industry.

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