DIY Carpet Spotting Guide

 DIY Carpet Spotting Guide

No one likes it when there is a spill on the floor, but with the help of this spotting guide there is a good chance it can be removed. To help you be successful we have provided this information for your convenience as a basic ‘do it yourself’ guide.

Click on the links below to be taken to a spotting guide that gives specific instructions for specific spots.Spot Cleaning

We frequently see clients try to remove spots on their own and end up permanently damaging their carpet in one of the following ways:

  1. Inappropriate solutions If a cleaning solution with harsh chemicals, bleach, optical brighteners or a high PH is used, the color of the carpet may be irreversibly altered or the carpet dye can be removed leaving a permanent, white, bleached out spot in your otherwise beautiful carpeting. Some products may set the stain making it impossible to remove in the future.
  2. Residue Some cleaning solutions are over applied or not rinsed out which leaves residue in the carpet that attracts dirt making the spot worse than before.
  3. Overwetting In your efforts you may overwet the carpet or not dry it quick enough which causes browning or wicking.
  4. Improper procedures Pile/Yarn distortion can result by harsh scrubbing or rubbing of the carpet.

This is not a substitute for professional services!

Referral has professional solutions, tools, experience and training in removing difficult stains and odors.  Click here to see results of Referral’s Specialty Spotting Results.  Follow these recommendations at your own risk. While this information is offered in good faith and appropriate to the best of our knowledge, we accept no responsibility for claims arising from the treatments, products, or procedures suggested herein.

If stains fail to respond or any difficulties arise, immediately stop and contact Referral at 260-483-4383


  1. Act Quickly! Most carpet available today has been treated with a stain-resist treatment, so many spills can be removed if immediate action is taken. The longer the delay, the higher the probability of a spill becoming a permanent stain or requiring professional cleaning. If the spot can be identified, follow the instructions in the spotting guides above.
    • Liquids- Blot with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or white (no printing) paper towels.
    • Semi Solids- Scrape up with a rounded spoon.
    • Solids- Break up and vacuum.
  2. Pretest any spot removal agent in an inconspicuous area to make certain the solution will not damage the fiber or the dye. After applying several drops to the testing area, hold a white cloth on the wet area for 10 seconds. Examine the carpet and cloth for color transfer, color change, or damage to the carpet. If a change occurs, another cleaning solution should be selected. As a general purpose spotter we recommend Spot Out which you can contact us to purchase.
  3. If you have a cleaning / extraction machine rinse and extract the spot with water. If not apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth instead of pouring it directly on the carpet. This will help avoid over applying the product.
  4. BLOT, Do not scrub the area! Scrubbing can cause permanent pile/yarn distortion in the affected area. Work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent the spot from spreading. Continue using the first cleaning solution as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. It is not necessary to use all of the cleaning solutions if the first solution removes the spill. Be patient! Complete removal of the spill may require repeating the same step several times.
  5. After the spill has been completely removed, rinse the affected area thoroughly with cold water, and blot with a dry cloth until all of the solution has been removed. Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid soiling if the solution is not completely removed. Increase air flow with a box fan or ceiling fan to dry the area as soon as possible. Don’t be anxious to turn the fan off, the carpet surface may feel dry but the base of the carpet may still be moist.
  6. If a light yellow/brown stain remains or a stain reappears after drying: Mix a solution of 1 part white vinegar and 2 parts water and moisten the stain. Then cover the spot with 10-15 layers of white paper towels and weigh them down with a flat heavy object such as a cookie sheet with books on top. (Ensure heavy objects won’t be damaged by moisture or transfer color) The white vinegar will help neutralize the stain and the papers towels absorb the stain as it dries to prevent wicking in the carpet. If you see improvement repeat this process.
  7. If you do not have success removing the stain yourself, call Referral Cleaning & Restoration at 260-483-4383 to schedule a professional cleaning.

Compact Cleaners / Extractors

If your carpet is prone to receiving spots and spills from food or pets, we recommend that you purchase a small machine that can clean and extract the spot. Many times spot removal fails because the substance and cleaning solution is not extracted. With a small extractor you will be able to rinse the spot with hot water and extract it. Many of our clients have commented that they are happy with their Bissell Compact cleaners. Visit Bissell’s web site to learn more about their products. Caution – DO NOT TRY TO CLEAN AREAS OR ROOMS OF CARPET. These machines are great for SPOTS. Often cleaning areas or rooms results in overwetting, inadequate cleaning or a residue left behind.

If you are a client of Referral you qualify to rent our spotting machine for small spots or emergencies if you want to attempt removal on your own. Call us at 260-483-4383 to see if it is available.

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