When it comes to the tough stains like wine or coffee, it’s a great time to learn a little carpet chemistry 101. With just a couple ingredients offered from your local market you can clean up carpet stains at a fraction of the cost. When it comes to carpet stain removal, a box of arm&hammer washing soda, liquid dish soap, white vinegar, and a wet/dry shop vac works wonders! Lets say you have a red wine stain on your carpet. Unless you have wool or cotton carpet, this simple homemade detergent will do the trick. Most homes have nylon or polyester carpet, also called synthetic carpet, these fibers are much more durable than organics such as wool, cotton or jute. First soak up as much of the spill as possible with a cotton clothe. Cotton is super absorbent which is why it works so well. In a spray bottle add 1 or 2 teaspoons of washing soda to a cup of hot water. shake until powder is dissolved. Then add a couple drops of liquid dish soap to the solution. Spray cleaner on stain but do not saturate. Let chemical sit 10 to 15 minutes while gently agitating in a clockwise rotation with a brush or towel. Do not rub or scrub as it will distort the carpet fiber. After the dwell time, use a wet/dry shop vac to extract the spent chemical from the carpet. Then add 1 teaspoon of white vinegar to 1 cup hot water – the hotter the better! Spray on stained area and extract. Repeat until stain is gone. Viola!How it works: Washing soda is actually called sodium carbonate, which is an alkaline base ingredient for most detergents. The wine is an acid-based stain as are most stains. Similar to that vinegar & baking soda experiment in the 5th grade, they break each other down. Here’s the cool part. The dish soap consists of surfactant and surfactant is WHERE IT’S AT! Surfactant not only makes water wetter, but acts as a link between polar and non-polar molecules. Ever mix water and oil together? They resist each other right? When surfactant (dish soap) is added, it’s molecules have both polar and non-polar ends so it links the oil and water together as one fluid. The surfactant makes the water wetter so it has lower surface tension – kind of like a slimy fish out of water. The white vinegar solution neutralizes the spent alkaline cleaner so your carpet returns to being fluffy and soft. Cautionary Note: washing soda can irritate the skin. I recommend using rubber gloves and protective eye wear and to dispose of cleaners in a sanitary drain (sink).
As you can tell I like detergents! If you have a tough carpet or upholstery stain, you can find me at Nashville EverClean Carpet Cleaning