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  • Writer's picture KMPC staff writer

DIY Carpet and Fabric Spot Cleaning

HELP! I just spilled_________ on my carpet. You fill in the blank. Spilling something on your carpet can be a frightening experience. Your first thought is, “what do I do now” a rapid response to spots and spills dramatically increases your chances of successfully removing it. You are welcome to call us right away for free spot removal advice. Or try using the spot removal guide found below. These procedures are endorsed by the CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute). Although, these procedures have been proven to work as directed, we cannot be responsible for the out-come of your particular spot. All attempts using these techniques are at your own risk.

Kettle Moraine Professional Cleaners Spotting Guide

How To Use This Guide:

Use each of the cleaning agents on the spot in the order given until the spot is removed. In other words, if method 1 removes the spot no need to go to method 2. If method 1 does not remove the spot then try method 2 and so on until the spot is gone. Use one spotting solution at a time and rinse thouroughly between methods. Avoid aggressively "scrubbing" the spot as this will damage the structure of the fiber causing visible wear and change the texture. Apply the cleaning solution with a clean white absorbent cloth or spray bottle. Repeat the cleaning procedures until the spot is removed. Rinse and let air dry or set up a fan to speed dry the area.

Some spots may require special professional care. If the spot does not come out by using these methods, please call us for our free professional spot cleaning recommendations.

METHOD 1 Use a dry-cleaning solvent. Apply a small amount of dry-cleaning solvent to the spot and avoid overwetting to prevent damaging the backing of your carpet. Purchase a solvent that lists carpet as one of the surfaces their product will work on and always follow the label instruction.

METHOD 2 Mix 1 teaspoon of neutral detergent to 8 oz. of hot water (use cool to cold water on wool). Most of today’s dish soaps are neutral pH cleaners. You are also welcome to contact us for our recommendations. We also have an excellent carpet spotter, SPOT OUT, which comes free with every work order and also available for purchase.

METHOD 3 Mix 1 teaspoon of white household ammonia (alkaline cleaner) with 4 oz. of hot water. METHOD 4 Mix 2 oz. of white household vinegar with 6 oz. of warm to hot water

METHOD 5 Mix a solution of enzyme detergent. Follow label instructions. Many laundry detergents contain enzyme detergents. Pet stores or veterinarians may also carry an enzyme spotter.




2 & 4


2, 3 & 5


1, 2 & 4

Candle Wax 1 & 2

1 & 2


2, 3 & 5

Chewing Gum

2, 3, 4 & 5


2, 4, 5 & 1


1, 2 & 3


1 & 2


2, 3 & 5

Food Coloring

2 & 3

Fruit Juices

2, 3, 4, 5 & 1

Furniture Stains

1, 2 & 3


2 & 1


1, 2, 3 & 4

Ice Cream

2, 3, 4, 5 & 1


1, 2 & 3


2, 3, 4, 5 & 1


2, 4 & 5

Nail Polish

1, 2, 4 & 5


2, 3 & 5

Paint - oil based

1, 2 & 3

Paint - water based

2, 3 & 1


2 & 4

Shoe Polish

1, 2 & 3


2, 3 & 4


2, 3, 4 & 5


1 & 2


2, 4, 5 & 1


2, 3 & 4


2, 3, 4 & 5


2, 3 & 4


2, 3, 4 & 5

All other unknown spots try in order 1- 5


1. Remove Soil

If liquid, blot up as much as possible with a clean folded cloth. Press firmly with the cloth and change as needed. Remember to blot and gently wipe the towel over the spot. Liquids can also be removed using a shop-vac/wet vac or home extraction machine (i.e., a residential grade carpet cleaning machine)

If solid, scrape up with a spoon or spatula then proceed.

2. Application

Mix cleaning solution & put in a spray bottle. Or use our flip top “Spot Out” spotter bottle. Apply the solution to the spot until it is thoroughly moistened/wet. If needed gently agitate with your fingers, towels or soft bristle brush.

*Be careful not to over abrade the spot. It could damge the carpet fibers.*

3. Dwell Time

Allow a few minutes of dwell time for the solution to break-up and suspend the spot

4. Extraction

Extract saturated spot while it is in a state of suspension — blot it up with the absorbent towel or extract with a shop-vac/wet vac. or home extraction machine (i.e., a residential grade carpet cleaning machine)

Extraction Tips

Blotting: Fold a clean white absorbent towel so it has some bulk, place on the spot and press down. The weight will force the spot into the towel. Repeat if necessary.

Shop-vac/ wet vac extraction: Use a shop/wet vac to remove suspended solution and spot. Be sure the vacuum hose end touching the spot is clean so it does not transfer soil onto the carpet.

Home Extractors: Carpet cleaning machines designed for home use can be used for spot removal. Follow the same basic procedures as described here or refer to the unit instruction manual for spotting advice. We always recommend a clean water rinse after using any product.

5. Rinse

Fill a spray bottle with clean water. Thoroughly moisten the spot with the rinse water and repeat the blotting or extracting procedures. Or use your home extraction machine, however do not add detergent to the solution tank. Use clear water to rinse the carpet and leave the spot residue free.

6. Drying the carpet

Fluff the carpet to lift and separate the fibers and let-air dry and/or set up a household fan or turn on the ceiling fan to aid in the drying process.



· Tracked in soil is the single greatest threat to your carpet’s appearance and life span. Place mats on the outside and inside of each entrance to trap and prevent soil from reaching the carpet.


· Vacuum cleaning greatly increases the life and appearance of your carpets. Vacuum traffic lanes daily and all other areas weekly. Make sure your vacuum is in good working condition.


· A rapid response to spots, stains and spills dramatically increases your chance of success; follow these instructions or call us for help.


· Today’s leading carpet mills recommend you have your carpets professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months (see your carpet warranty for additional information). Protect your carpet investment, extend its life, maintain a high level of appearance and help provide a healthier indoor environment by having your carpets cleaned before they show soiling.


In addition to professional cleaning, most carpet manufacturers also recommend the re-application of a carpet protector. When your carpet was new a protector was applied. Over time that protector wears away. Manufacturers recommend replacing the protector after a professional Hot Water Extraction cleaning. We can do that for you. In fact, we use the same product most carpet manufacturers use – 3M Scotchgard.

Scotchgard is a liquid and soil retardant that helps keep your carpet looking cleaner. Carpets that are protected makes DIY spotting and vacuum cleaning more effective because you are removing dry soil and spots from the protector not the actual carpet fiber. Carpet with a protector applied also cleans up much better when professionally cleaned than those that were not.

Kettle Moraine Professional Cleaners, Inc. Phone: (262) 334 - 1881

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