Spilling liquids onto carpets is one of those things that sooner or later most of us do. Knowing how to deal with the situation when it happens can make the difference between a permanent discolouration and an unmarked rug. Here’s a quick and handy guide on how to remove tea stains from carpet.
The Golden Rules of Stain Removal
Whatever sort of carpet you have, and whatever has been spilled on it some things always stay the same:
• Act fast – The quicker you deal with the offending substance the greater the chance of avoiding long-term damage
• Always work from the outside of a stain towards the centre – This will avoid the risk of spreading the mark
• Don’t use too much water – Patient cleaning and blotting will be more effective than soaking the area
• Be gentle – Pat and blot rather than scrub. Scrubbing will drive the substance into fibres and can damage the pile
• Avoid the use of heat – Hot water or blowers can cause many substances, including tea, to set, making stains harder to remove
• Always test a stain removing agent on an inconspicuous area – Before you apply it to a spot in the middle of the room
Steps to Follow in Removing Tea Stains
In most cases, the following process will work on a fresh tea stain. Some fibres are harder to clean than others of course. When removing the tea stain from wool carpet it’s especially important not to over-wet the fibres.
1. Blot the area with a clean, white absorbent cloth or with kitchen paper to remove as much liquid as you can
2. Pour a little cold water onto the stain, this will dilute the remaining tea – Some people recommend fizzy or soda water as the bubbles will lift the stain
3. If you have a shop bought stain remover at home, use it now, following the instructions on the bottle
4. If you don’t have a branded stain remover make your own using one cup of white vinegar with three drops of dishwashing liquid
5. Apply your vinegar mix, leave it to sit for a few minutes then dab and blot, repeating as necessary until you can’t see the stain.
6. Rinse the area with cold water then blot up as much water as you can using clean, dry, white cloths
7. Once the carpet is dry, vacuum to restore the pile
If The Stain is Stubborn
If the method outlined above doesn’t remove the mark there are a few other things you can try.
Pour baking soda into a bowl and apply to the carpet using a damp cloth. Leave to sit for a moment then remove with cold water and blot the area dry. Rinse and repeat as necessary.
Use three parts borax to one part water, to form a paste. Apply this to the carpet, gently, using a soft toothbrush. Allow to dry then vacuum, Flush the clean area with a cold tap or fizzy water.
Dealing with Old Stains
Some of the methods described above may work on old stains that have been allowed to set, but in many instances, the best answer to the question ‘how to remove old stains from carpet’ is call in a professional! They’ll have access to specialist formulations that you can’t buy over the counter. Not every stain can be removed but it’s always possible to make a mark far less conspicuous, and a competent cleaning technician will give you honest advice when you’re trying to decide between spending money on stain removal or covering a spot with a rug until you’re ready to buy a new carpet.