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How To Clean Oil & Grease Stains from Carpet

A variety of oily, greasy stains can find their way onto your carpet. It could be that it's residue tracked in on shoes, spilled food, cosmetic residue or a mystery stain. These stains can be alleviated with simple, affordable materials using the techniques described below. Keep in mind that carpets come in a wide variety of materials, and unusual carpet pigments or materials such as leather, suede or exotic synthetics may not react favorably with cleaning solutions. You may also wish to consider the backing material of your carpet or rug, and whether or not it will react to the cleaning solution. Any stain remedy should be tested in an inconspicuous area. When at all possible, treat the oil or grease stain promptly and hopefully while still fresh. Compared to more liquid stains like wine, which can also be treated from the back, oil and grease stains are more effectively treated from the front or stain side.

For oil and grease based stains that have not yet yellowed, mix washing soda (sodium carbonate - commercially available as Oxyclean and similar powdered oxycleaners) and warm water in a shallow dish to make a thick paste. Apply the washing soda poultice directly to the stain. Allow to sit, as the poultice and oil should react to form a soluble residue that can be rinsed away with water. Follow the water rinse by blotting with a clean cloth or use the appropriate vacuum to dry.

For stains that have oxidized or are particularly aggressive, you can try dry-cleaning solvent with cotton swabs, cotton balls, or a clean dry rag depending on the size of the stain. Dry-cleaning solvent is commercially available as Carbona among others, often found at the grocery store, drug store, and fabric crafts aisle of the arts store. Remove any residue with dishwashing liquid well diluted with water and blot to dry.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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