Rugs can be extremely prone to becoming stained, especially if they are placed in areas where a lot of people pass by and use the room for entertaining and daily living. Yet a spillage need not mean the end of the rug’s useful life. If you act quickly and know what to do, the stain can be removed without causing any damage to the rug’s fibres underneath.
If you don’t know what the stain is or how long it has been there, you can still reduce or remove it with a few simple steps. First of all, scrape up any excess spillage. Then, apply lukewarm water to see if that is sufficient to remove the stain. If not, apply some dry cleaning fluid, diluted ammonia or surgical spirit, carrying out a spot check somewhere discreet on the rug first to make sure it doesn’t ruin the colours. Blot dry with a clean, white, absorbent towel. If further treatment is required, apply fabric detergent mixed with one tablespoon of vinegar (not malt) and again, blot dry. Do not rub at the stain and work from the outside in. Leave overnight to dry.
Drinks such as wine, coffee, fruit squash and milk should be dealt with quickly to prevent the liquid from drying and setting the stain. Blot up any excess liquid – again, never scrub. Use detergent and blot from the outside in, working in the natural direction of the nap of the rug. Try making a paste with some vinegar and cornstarch and rubbing at darker stains to reduce their appearance first. Or gently pour white wine over a red wine blemish, then mop it up and leave a layer of salt on the area for ten minutes. Vacuum the salt away once dry.
For ‘looser’ solids and thicker liquids, such as blood, vomit, melted chocolate and mud use a blunt blade, such as a palette knife, to scrape off any excess before applying a mild detergent and blotting the area with a clean, white, absorbent towel. Shaving foam can work surprisingly well on fats and grease-based stains, such as oil, butter and grease. Blot on gently then wipe away with a damp cloth. Try to tackle the stain quickly to prevent it from seeping into the rug further or drying and setting more stubbornly.
Seemingly ruinous stains, such as paint, wax or ink need not spell the end of your precious rug. Again, speed is of the essence, as is a gentle touch. For paint or ink, try a mixture of detergent, vinegar and cold water and dab at the stain quickly before it starts to dry. Rinse with cold water and repeat as required. If you spill candle wax, allow it to set before placing a sheet of blotting paper over it and then a tea towel. Run a cool iron over the top of the towel to make the wax melt into the paper. Repeat as required, but always start by testing the heat of the iron in an inconspicuous place to reduce the risk of permanent burn marks.
If you are at all unsure and don’t want to run the risk of making things worse, call in the experts. They will know how to handle any stain and can restore your rug to its former glory in no time at all.