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Carpet and Rug Cleaning: Removing Foreign Objects

Updated on May 10, 2014

Carpets and Rugs

Rugs, or at least the concept of a floor or ground covering, have been used for thousands of years. Back when people lived in caves or with dirt floors in their homes, they used animal hide as their rugs, covering the ground, as well as beds, for comfort and warmth. In fact, in some homes, the animal hide or rug was the family's most treasured possession. Humans also wove reeds together to use as ground covering way back when. The concept of weaving something together into a large piece and used to cover the ground has not changed over time. Today, our rugs and carpets are woven together and made out of a variety of materials.

Rugs are still often used for warmth and comfort as a floor covering, as well as a form of art. Wall-to-wall carpets are used as an optional form of flooring along with tile and wood. Carpeting is a form of flooring that many people select for their bedrooms. Getting out of bed in the morning is much more comfortable when your feet hit warm carpet rather than cold wood or tile. Rugs are generally used to cover up wood or tile as a way to both decorate the room and provide people with a warm feeling or look. Some people use it to define a space and put rugs in front of the sofa, under the coffee table, or under the dining table. In order to keep the floor covering looking its best, you have to take some time to care for them. Cleaning them often will definitely help. Depending on the material you are dealing with, dry-cleaning your carpet or rugs might be your only option.

Carpet and Rug Cleaning

One option of cleaning your carpets and rugs is to dry-clean them. To do this on your own, use a flour sifter to evenly distribute baking soda all over your rug. If at all possible, leave it overnight. If leaving the baking soda on overnight is not an option, give it at least an hour to do its magic. If you choose, you can also sprinkle a tablespoon of your favorite herb (cinammon) or fragrance (lavendar) on the rug. After a few minutes, vacuum up the baking soda and herb or fragrance. You will be left with a clean rug and fresh smell.

If you are only trying to get rid of the odor, fill a spray bottle with one part fabric softener (that you use for laundry) and six parts water. You can spray this solution onto your carpet or rug. Wait a while and vacuum the area. Not only would this help you with the smell but should also decrease static electricity generated by your rug.


If you care for your carpet or rug regularly, chances are good you will be able to enjoy them for a very long time. Every now and then, however, an accident occurs and it's during those times when you freeze in your tracks and wonder what you should do. I'm referring to the times when the candle wax drips off the coffee table onto the rug, the coffee spills off the dining table onto the rug, or your two year-old decides to use your bedroom carpet as his or her canvas.

Removing Candle Wax

When you accidentally drip candle wax on your carpet, have no fear.  You can do the following to remove the wax...

  1. Place a few ice cubes in a plastic bag.
  2. Put the bag against the wax on the carpet.  The wax will become brittle.
  3. Break off or carefully pull off the wax.

Here's another option...

  1. Place a cut-off section of a plain brown paper bag on the melted wax. 
  2. Using a medium-hot iron, press the paper for a few seconds. 
  3. When the wax is softened, it will transfer from the carpet to the piece of paper bag.
  4. Repeat as necessary until all wax is removed.

Removing Coffee

When you find yourself in a situation where you have spilled coffee on the carpet, follow this protocol to clean it up...

  1. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels.
  2. Pour club soda onto the stained area and continue to blot.
  3. If the stain doesn't fade, pour a bit of 3% hydrogen peroxide onto it and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Blot and rinse with more club soda or cold water.

You could also try...

  1. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels.
  2. Combine 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of borax powder in 1 pint of water. You can get borax powder from drug or grocery stores.
  3. Sponge this mixture onto the stain and blot.

A third option includes...

  1. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels.
  2. Work a heaping tablespoon of foam shaving cream into the stain.
  3. Rinse with club soda or cold water.

Or you can decide to...

  1. Blot up as much of the liquid as possible with paper towels.
  2. Work a beaten egg yolk into the stain using a clean, dry washcloth.
  3. Rinse the stain with warm water.

You can also safely try the above solutions if you happen to spill tea on the carpet as well.

Removing Crayon Stains

If you have young children around who decide to use your carpet as their canvas for their crayon art, there is something you an do to solve that problem.

  1. Place a strip of transparent tape on each crayon mark.
  2. Gently remove the tape. 

Try to remove just the crayon marks without pulling out the fibers.

Removing Pet Accidents

If you own a pet that tends to have accidents on the carpet in your house, the first thing you want to do is find a relatively hidden corner that is rarely seen by human eyes.  In this corner, test a small patch of your carpet by putting some distilled white vinegar on it.  If the color of the tested patch changes, don't use the vinegar solution on the carpet or rug.

The vinegar solution...

  1. Blot up as much of the urine as possible.
  2. Rinse the area with warm water.
  3. Blot the carpet again.
  4. Mix 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar with 1/2 cup water and sponge onto the affected area.
  5. Wait a few minutes and blot it all off.
  6. Repeat this procedure.
  7. Pour equal amounts of table salt and baking soda on the wet area.
  8. Wait for the area to dry and vacuum over the area.

If you have a carpet that is sensitive to distilled white vinegar, do the following...

  1. Blot the area.
  2. Cover the area with a thick layer of table salt.  The more, the better as the salt will absorb the liquid.
  3. Wait for the salt to harden ~ overnight is best ~ and then vacuum over the area.

Removing Chewing Gum

Every now and then, you might find that someone has accidentally dropped chewed chewing gum onto your carpet. Perhaps one of your teen's friends was over. Perhaps your husband's football buddies were not careful. Whatever the reason, there is a way to remove the chewing gum before it spreads, which is easily done if not careful.

  1. Blow-dry the gum patch on the warm setting.
  2. When the gum melts and becomes very gooey, put a small plastic bag around it and gently pull off the bag, bringing the gum up with it.
  3. Repeat this process until you have removed all the gum. There might be some small remnants left...or not.
  4. If there are small bits left, work in a dab of petroleum jelly by rolling the gum into it.
  5. Wash the spot with a gentle laundry detergent that fights grease.
  6. Rinse with water and blot dry.

Caution: You might want to do a patch test for the petroleum jelly. Depending on what fibers you have in your carpet, the jelly might leave a stain.


Removing Fresh Fruit Stains

If you happen to accidentally spill fresh fruit onto your carpet, first try to pick up all the pieces of the fruit and blot up the juice.

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon liquid laundry detergent, 1 1/2 tablespoons of distilled white vinegar and 2 cups of water.
  2. Work the mixture gently into the fruit stain and then blot dry.

Caution:  You might want to do a patch test for the distilled white vinegar on your carpet.  Depending on the fibers in your carpet, the vinegar might leave a stain.

Removing Grease or Oil

If your spouse or children track grease or oil into the house and all over the carpet, try the following...

  1. Using paper towels, blot up as much of the grease or oil as possible.
  2. Pour cornmeal or cornstarch on the stain.
  3. Let it do its magic for several hours ~ overnight is best.
  4. Vacuum the carpet over the affected area.

You can also...

  1. Blot up the grease or oil with paper towels.
  2. Work in a heaping tablespoon of foam shaving cream into the stained area of the carpet.
  3. After the shaving cream dries, vacuum the affected area.

Carpet Stain Removal Video

You Just Never Know...

...when you might need to attend to your carpet.  Let's face it, accidents happen all the time.  Sooner or later, something will spill or drip onto your carpet or rug and you will have to find a way to clean it up without leaving behind a stain or mark.


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    • gypsumgirl profile image

      gypsumgirl 7 years ago from Vail Valley, Colorado

      Oh dear, Leah! Good luck on getting the flubber out of your carpet. Perhaps using the chewing gum ideas will help seeing how gum is like glue...sticky!

      I supposed carpet stains from spills and drips are to be expected with young children around.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 7 years ago from Western New York

      This hub is very timely - my five year old left "flubber" on the carpet until it dried ("flubber" is a cornstarch-glue mixture made at preschool). I am STILL trying to get it out of the carpet!