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Ultimate Guide to Handling Summer’s Toughest Stains

With more time spent outdoors, summer fun gives way to common stains such as mud, dirt, grass, pet incidents, food and drink spills—even your child’s artwork can make its way onto your carpet. While we have no control over these accidental stains, families can use these tips from Jotham Hatch, Vice President of Training for Chem-Dry, to help prevent them from doing permanent damage to their carpets this summer.

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Mud and Grass

From soccer practice to playing in the yard to summer camp, mud and grass are inevitable when it comes to kids and carpet. To clean these types of stains, it’s best to tackle them sooner rather than later. Like most stains, the longer it sits, the harder it is to remove. Start by removing any of the excess dirt, mud and grass from the carpet with a clean utensil like a knife and then vacuum up as much debris as possible. It’s best to use a vacuum that contains a HEPA filter or microfiltration system—this will help properly remove particles and allergens from the surface of your carpet. Lastly, apply a green-certified general cleaner, like Chem-Dry’s World Famous Spot Remover. Then blot the extra moisture from the stain with a clean white towel and leave the carpet to dry.

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baked beans spillstocksolutions/Shutterstock


With summer comes delicious barbeque and with barbeque usually comes stains. For spots such as ketchup or barbeque sauce, scrape off any excess spillage or remaining dried particles from the carpet with a knife or similar object. For water-based spots (e.g., ketchup and most barbeque sauces), blot the affected area with warm water using a paper towel or clean white cloth immediately after the spill occurs. For oil-based spots (e.g., greasy food, salad dressing), dampen a clean wash cloth with warm water and blot the area, repeating as necessary. Oil-based spots can best be removed using an oil-based carpet spotter such as Chem-Dry’s Grease and Oil Spot Remover.

Plus: Learn how to get wax out of carpet here.

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little girl painting on carpetAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Marker and Paint

These are spots you never want to scrub, only blot. Use the edge of a knife to clean up as much of the dried paint as possible, being careful not to over-agitate the fibers or cause damage. Then lay a wet towel over the affected area until it can be treated by a professional. When it comes to removing a marker spot, blot the stained area with a clean white towel and use a mild, oil-based spot remover.

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pet stainOlimpik/Shutterstock

Pet Accidents

When the summer heat is in full swing, not all pets love going outside, which may increase the chances of an indoor accident on the carpet. When this happens, first blot the affected area with paper towels to soak up as much urine as you can before it settles deeper into the carpet. Then dampen a sponge with warm water and blot the area several times, diluting the affected area and working to absorb as much urine as possible. The deeper the urine travels, and the longer it sits untreated, the harder it will be to remove the odor and bacteria.

Remember not to scrub—gently blot to remove as much of the stain and odor as you can. Unfortunately, many consumer products available today simply mask the smell temporarily, only to have the odor return days later. Chem-Dry has created a process called P.U.R.T. (Pet Urine Removal Treatment)—an innovative process that uses a proprietary cleaning agent that fully removes the odor by breaking down and eliminating the urine crystals that are the source of the odor at a molecular level. In independent lab testing, Chem-Dry’s P.U.R.T. process was found to eliminate 99.9% of pet urine odors from carpets and upholstery. It’s also non-toxic so it’s pet-friendly and safe for you and your family. Be sure to only use safe and non-toxic products to maintain a healthy home for you, your family, and your pets.

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guy cleaning rugAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Hire a Pro When Needed

Summer is a great time for getting together with family and friends, but it can also lead to a variety of carpet stains. While there are actions you can take on your own to limit the impact or the extent of damage from a spill, you may not be able to fully avoid or eliminate a stain, and a professional cleaning service might be needed. In fact, it’s recommended to get your carpets professionally deep-cleaned every six months to eliminate unhealthy elements including allergens and bacteria, remove set-in stains, and prolong the life of your carpets. One more tip: ask a professional to add a protectant during their cleaning process that protects the fibers of your carpet or rug, making it easier to clean up a spill and giving you more time to take action before it causes further damage.

Keeping your carpets clean gives them a revitalized look and feel, protects your investment by increasing the life of your carpet, and makes your home safer and healthier.