December 31, 2019
Was last night wonderful? Did you prepare a big feast? Did you do the conga? Did someone pop champagne? Did it explode? Did the big feast spill on the rug? Can you even recall?
Here, a few simple directions to salvage your favorite rug for many parties to come.
1. Move fast
Clean up spills immediately - don't let them sink in. This makes them harder to remove.
2. Remove the offending material
Scrape up solid materials and blot up liquids.
3. Work your way in
Always blot from the edges of the spill towards the center so as not to spread the stain further.
4. Rinse and repeat
After all excess liquid has been soaked up, surface clean the spill area. Begin by adding a small amount of clean water to the spot to dilute the stain, or wet a paper towel or cloth, and proceed to blot. Repeat this process until the stain is removed.
5. No scrubs
If the stain is persistent, resist the urge to scrub. Scrubbing can damage the wool fibers and more easily allow the stain to penetrate. You may try using a mild detergent, such as very diluted dishwashing soap, following the same blot-and-rinse procedure.
6. Ask for help
If the spill is non-organic and/or composed of chemical substances, or the above methods don’t work, we suggest getting the rug professionally hand-washed as soon as possible. When in doubt, ask a professional.
7. Test first
If you suspect the spilled substance may stain, use appropriate removal techniques. Because rugs use a large range of dyes, all of which will respond differently to stain-removal techniques, we recommend testing the stain-removal technique in a small area on the back of the rug before employing it. We've included a few party-symptomatic stains below.
Beer, whiskey, or wine
1. Soak in a solution of 1 quart (1 liter) warm water, 1/2 tsp (2.5ml) detergent, and 1 tbsp (15 ml) white vinegar for 15 minutes. NOTE: only use white vinegar. If a dye changes color after vinegar has been used, rinse the area thoroughly with water and add a few drops of ammonia*, then rinse well with water again.
2. Rinse with water
3. Sponge with rubbing alcohol
5. Soak in a solution of 1 quart warm water and 1 tbsp enzyme presoak for 30 minutes.
*Please note: be very careful with ammonia, which can irritate skin, eyes, lungs, and can remove color from certain dyes. If this happens, rinse color-changed area thoroughly with water and apply a few drops of white vinegar before rinsing with water again.
1. Apply drycleaning solvent (available in hardware and grocery stores. Use with caution and do not inhale) and dry spotter (1 part coconut oil and 8 parts drycleaning solvent) and blot immediately with absorbent material.
2. Repeat step 1 until no more stain is removed. If stain begins to spread, flush immediately with drycleaning solvent. (This means: place clean absorbent material under the stain, then slowly add drycleaning solvent in small amounts–a medicine dropper is good for this. Make sure all solvent is soaked up before adding more. Change the absorbent material several times as you flush out the stain, to ensure all stain-removal chemical does not remain in the rug.) Then continue to repeat step 1.
3. Let all drycleaning solvent evaporate.
4. Sponge with water.
5. Apply wet spotter (one part glycerine, one part mild liquid detergent, eight parts water) and a few drops of ammonia. Blot frequently with absorbent material.
6. Flush with water.
7. Apply wet spotter and a few drops of vinegar. Sponge frequently with absorbent material.
8. Flush with water. Allow to dry.
9. Sponge with alcohol. Allow to dry.
Cocoa, cake frosting, or ice cream
1. Sponge with drycleaning solvent
2. Sponge with dry spotter. Keep stain moist with dry spotter and blot occasionally with absorbent material. Continue as long as any stain is being removed.
3. Flush with drycleaning solvent. This means: place clean absorbent material under the stain, then slowly add drycleaning solvent in small amounts (a medicine dropper is good for this). Make sure all solvent is soaked up before adding more. Change the absorbent material several times as you flush out the stain, to ensure all stain-removal chemical does not remain in the rug.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until no more stain is removed
5. Allow to dry completely
6. Sponge up with water (remember, work from outside-in so as to not spread the stain)
7. Apply a few drops of detergent and a few drops of ammonia, and sponge. Keep stain moist with detergent and ammonia, and blot occasionally with absorbent material. NOTE: be very careful with ammonia, which can irritate skin, eyes, lungs, and can remove color from certain dyes. If this happens, rinse color-changed area thoroughly with water and apply a few drops of white vinegar before rinsing with water again.
8. Flush with water. Be sure to remove all the ammonia.
9. Soak in a solution of 1quart (1 liter) warm water and 1 tbsp (15 ml) enzyme product for 30 minutes.
10. Rinse with water.
Instructions adapted and modified from "Removing Stains from Fabrics", Home and Garden Bulletin, No. 62, United States Department of Agriculture, via Peter F. Stone's definitive Oriental Rug Repair
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