Getting Spills Out of Your Apartment Carpet

Well, your new apartment open house party has been a success – lots of guests, the food didn’t run out, and that bratty nephew of yours managed not to break anything…that is, of course, until he dumps a pitcher full of Kool-Aid to the ground a few seconds before heading out the door. Quick! Battle stations! What should an apartment fan do when confronted with a rapidly dissolving sea of juice on your brand new carpet?

You’ll want to act fast if you have any hopes of saving your carpet (and security deposit!), so don’t delay in attacking your stain. High-five your guests on their way out the door, make a mental note to keep your next shindig ‘kid-free’, and get down to the task at hand. Step one – soak up as much of the spill as possible! If you have a shop vac then fire it up and proceed carefully. Blotting is also your new best friend, so assemble a small pile of light-colored cloth over the stain (colored fabrics may run themselves, so avoid those) and stand on it with all of your might. Whatever you do, do NOT rub the carpet, which can damage the fibers and even actually make the stain worse.

Odds are good you’ll want to apply a cleaning agent of some sort, just remember in the case of carpet stains it’s often the lightest touch that yields the best results. Avoid heavy duty bleach-laden cleaners, as these can actually eat away at the carpet, or worse make it lighter than the rest of the room. Try a solution of four cups of warm water mixed with one teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and blot your heart out.

Once you’ve reached your maximum blotting capacity, place yet another pile of light-colored clothes on the stain and cover it with something heavy, like a potted plant or your nephew’s butt, for several hours. With any luck the offending stain will have largely disappeared come morning, but if not you might need to get up-close-and-personal with a pair of hair shears to trim away any remaining evidence. Many grocery stores now rent ‘Rug Doctor’-style steam cleaners as well, so give it a shot.

Remember, if all else fails, honesty is always the best policy. Explain to your apartment community manager what happened, and odds are good they will be willing to work with you to reach a solution. Who knows, maybe he’ll let your nephew mow the community lawn to cover the expense of a new carpet! One can always hope.

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