If you read this site on a regular basis, you know that I create posts of cleaning tips for carpet, upholstery, oriental rugs, tile and grout in addition to my job of carpet cleaning in Portland, Oregon. In my job as cleaner and writer I have the opportunity to read the multitude of stain cleaning sites and hear first hand what my clients have tried. I have seen some excellent cleaning tips and some horrible ones. How can you as a homeowner and consumer tell them apart? That’s what today’s post will answer for you. Let me start by categorizing sites.


The Miracle Stain Cleaner Site: 

Many of the commercial sites that sell a product claim to have a one-size-fits-all miracle cure for any and every stain. Just spray it on and away goes your stain. When you consider that stains have many different properties, it seems a little far fetched to think that any one product would clean every stain. Stains have pH value, solvents, color, organic, and inorganic compounds. Many of the “natural” stain cleaning sites make this same one-size-fits all mistake. Common sense would tell you that vinegar and water will probably not move an oil stain. Psst…Acids don’t neutralize acids (Vinegar and dirt are both acids!)


The Menu Stain Cleaning Site: Most of the carpet sites have an area on their website that deals with stain removal. Often they give you a list of possible stains linked to an article that deals with that stain. The homeowner clicks on the stain and goes to the article. They may never look at another stain article on that site. I have clicked on several links only to find out that the articles say almost the same thing with each stain. The miracle stain cleaning site focuses on one product or one solution solving every stain; whereas, the menu stain cleaning site focuses on one process or method as the cure for every stain. Every article in the menu uses the exact same process. Again common sense would tell you that some stains would require different treatment than others. Wine stains do not equal urine stains.


The Throw-Anything-At-It Site: Some sites look like an encyclopedia from a chemistry lab. They simply list anything and everything you could use on a stain. Certainly they got away from the one product or one process problem, but they compounded the issue by just trying everything. In some cases this can even prove dangerous. For example, you don’t want to mix ammonia and chlorine even on your carpet. I almost labeled the throw-anything-it site as the copy-cat site. You can tell that the writer just put together everything they read on the Web into one post.

How do you find a decent stain cleaning site for carpet?

  1. Look for research. Does the writer say anything about the stain itself? To remove a stain you have to understand that stain. Is it oil based, acidic, pigmented, etc? If they don’t know anything about the stain, how can they recommend a product or process to clean that stain? A writer or cleaner should tell you why and how they use a certain solution.
  2. Look for rational. It should make sense. If they are just throwing a bunch of stuff on the carpet, run. It needs to make sense. You can do some of your own research to check them out. If you are dealing with a fingernail polish stain, type on the computer “What is fingernail polish made of?” You will find that it is primarily a petroleum product in petroleum solvent. If the site recommends vinegar water, then again run.

For an example of a decent post on a decent site dealing with ball point pen on carpet. The writer talks about why she doesn’t use hairspray on ink like recommended on some sites. You can tell she did her homework and some actual thinking.

Hope this information is helpful. Until next time…Sean!