Since you don’t want to create more work than is necessary, it pays to remove as much foreign material as possible before you begin putting cleaning fluid on the spot. If the spot is still wet, use a paper towel or soft absorbent towel to blot up as much of the liquid as possible. If the spot is dried and caked use a bone knife to scrape up as much of the material as possible. If the spot is greasy or oily, the bone knife can be used to scarify the spot so the cleaning chemicals will be better able to penetrate the foreign material. Do not use anything with a sharp edge that may cut or damage the carpet fibers. If you have a wet/dry vacuum or carpet extractor, it can be useful, particularly on fresh spills.

When uncertain of the origins and nature of a spot, it is a good practice to be cautious in your approach. First, test the carpet in an inconspicuous area to make certain that is colorfast. Apply a small amount of water based spotter or detergent to the face yarns. Then, after a brief wait, use a clean white cotton towel (or disposable wiper) to press on the dampened face yarns. It is a good sign that the colors are stable (i.e. the color does not transfer to the towel). 

If you are able to identify the spot as an oil base substance, begin by using a solvent spotter. Remember that the carpet is held together by latex adhesives that can be degraded by solvents causing the carpet to bubble when it dries. Work with a slightly dampened cloth and avoid over wetting with either cleaner or even water. So don’t use any more than necessary to loosen the spot. Use time rather than additional solvent. 

If the spot is a water based spot, use a water based spotter. There are innumerable water based spotters available. Ask your local distributor to familiarize you with the selection they have available. If you have a children’s eating area you may need to stock some specialized spotters, like one for red Kool-Aid stains.

Refer back to your knowledge of pH since you will need to know the acidity or alkalinity of a spot in order to treat it correctly and avoid “setting” the stain. Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…..


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or