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Tackle the Messiest Thanksgiving Spills on Carpet and Rugs: 10 Spot Cleaning Tips

Posted by Hammond Knoll on Nov 16, 2021 10:30:00 AM

Oh, Aunt Betty.

You watch in slow-motion horror as a ladle full of turkey gravy falls from her hand and lands on your beautiful Oriental rug beneath the dining room table.

Sigh.

#%$! Happens! (“oops” happens!) Especially when you have a large gathering of family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner.

Some people (ahem, Aunt Betty), just get too excited about turkey. 🤷🏻‍♀️

This year, you can make a change. You don’t have to let the top 10 Turkey Day stains spoil your fun. 

Take note of these tips for removing spots and spills from your carpet and rugs.

Let’s do this!

Be prepared with the right supplies

Here’s what you need to have on hand to tackle those Thanksgiving spills: the following 4 solutions and some white absorbent cloth or tissue.

 

#1 - Detergent Solution: Hammond Knoll Spot Be Gone, or substitute one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent to 1/2 pint of warm water.

 

#2 - Detergent/Vinegar Solution: Add one teaspoon of White Vinegar to the Detergent solution.

 

#3 - Ammonia Solution: One tablespoon of household ammonia to one cup of warm water (Refrain from a stronger ammonia solution on wool carpet.)

 

#4 - Dry Cleaning Solvent: (For example, Forcefield.) Test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area, then tackle the stain by working from the outer edge towards the center.

See ya later, T-Day stains

Here is how to tackle the top 10 stains safely and effectively

 

1. Red wine

Blot up the surplus spillage. 

Using the #2 Detergent/Vinegar Solution a little bit at a time, work from the outer edge of the stain, blotting up with dry cloths frequently.  

(Another great cleaning solution to have on hand if you are a red wine drinker is Red Wine Away. Or drink white wine. (*wink, wink)

 

2. Gravy

Scrape up the excess with a blunt knife. 

Using the #1 Detergent Solution, start at the outer edge and blot dry. 

Follow with the #3 Ammonia Solution. Blot dry. 

 

3. Coffee

Blot up the surplus spillage. 

Use the #1 Detergent Solution, and follow with #3 Vinegar

Using a little of the solution and vinegar at a time, work from the outer edge of the stain. 

Blot with dry cloths frequently.

 

4. Cranberry

Blot up the surplus spillage. 

Use the #1 Detergent Solution followed by #3 Vinegar

Working from the outer edge of the stain, use a little of the solutions at a time, and frequently blot up with dry cloths.

 

5. Turkey fat & grease

Blot up the surplus spillage.  Use the #1 Detergent Solution, and follow with the #4 dry cleaning solvent.  

Blot dry.

 

6. Chocolate

Scrape up the excess with a blunt knife. 

Using the #1 Detergent Solution, start at the outer edge and blot dry. 

Follow with #3 Ammonia Solution. Blot dry.

 

7. Pumpkin pie

Using the #1 Detergent Solution, start at the outer edge and blot dry.

 

8. Yams & sweet potatoes

Use the #1 detergent solution, starting at the outer edge and blotting dry.

 

9. Butter

Scrape excess with a blunt knife. Use the #4 Dry Cleaning Solvent, and blot dry.

 

10. Candle wax

Scrape the excess with a blunt knife.  

Use a piece of white paper (copy paper), or brown paper from grocery bags (minus the ink writing on the sides).  

Set the paper on the wax stain.  

Use an iron on a low setting, set the iron on the paper for 1-3 seconds. Remove the iron and place a fresh piece of the paper on the wax. 

Repeat this process until all of the wax has been removed.  

Test the iron/paper in an inconspicuous area of the carpet or rug first to make sure the fiber doesn't melt. 

Additional dos and don’ts

Don’t agitate the carpet! This will cause the fibers to fray at the ends and become permanently damaged. Always blot! 😀

Don’t use any cleaning solutions from the hardware store without checking with your local carpet & rug professional. Some of them have bleaching agents which could cause color loss of the fibers. 

Some have even been known to set the stain further. (Not good!)

Do rinse the detergent out of the carpet. You can use a shop vac to extract the excess water and prevent left behind detergent. 

When the carpet’s not rinsed properly, it will collect soil from shoes and out of the air and cause a darker stain where the solution was left.

Don’t allow the dry cleaning solvent to penetrate the back of the carpet or rug. This will damage the backing and cause the rug or carpet to bubble.  

Do test the solutions in an inconspicuous area before spot cleaning on area rugs.

Have more messy situations to tackle?

If you don’t see your troubled spot tip above, have no fear! We’ve got the ultimate spot cleaning guide for you to download:  The Ultimate Spot Cleaning Guide: Tips That Work Every Time (hammondknoll.com)

Now that you are prepared for what spill could happen, what’s on the menu for T-day?  Share it with us, we’d love to hear.

Happy Thanksgiving!

For more tips on how to keep your carpet in tip-top shape, here is an article we think you are going to find helpful.  

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