Where did the top ten lists of carpet stains come from? I would guess that David Letterman popularized top ten lists as much as anyone. Hey, there’s an idea for an article “The Top Ten Top Ten List Makers.” Wherever it came from, the top lists have become a part of American culture and certainly a big part of the Internet publishing world.  The next time you go through the check out line count how many “top ten” lists you see on magazine covers. It’s the top ten recipes, top ten exercise tips, top ten beauty aids, and many top tens that I don’t even want to print.

I provide carpet cleaning in Portland, Oregon. For fun I typed in “Top Ten Carpet.” I got back top ten carpets, top ten cleaners, top ten carpet cleaning companies, and the top ten Carpenter’s songs. Even the carpet world has been invaded by the top ten craze. If you want to get noticed in the publishing world, think “top ten.”

In the course of my job and the course of my cleaning tips blog I have encountered hundreds of stains. I wondered, if pressed, what would I list as the top ten troublesome stains on carpet. The carpet-cleaning.net listed these top ten stains as the worst:

  1. Permanent Marker
  2. Candle Wax
  3. Beer, Wine, Cola, Coffee (That’s cheating)
  4. Fruit and Berry Stains
  5. Blood, Ketchup, and Vomit (Cheating again.)
  6. Chewing gum, glue
  7. Chocolate
  8. Crayon, Cosmetics
  9. Kool-Aide Red Stain

So why does a list that says 10 stop at 9? And why do they combine several into one? Anyway, that is the list they gave. I agree with many of them but not all. Certainly permanent ink ranks right up there. Permanent means, at the very least, hard to remove. In fact, most inks prove themselves able foes.

Candle wax and chewing gum I haven’t found all that difficult. They come off easily if you freeze them. They usually crack and peel right off without leaving much stain.

Drinks probably make my list but not all of these. Beer comes out easily as far as a stain but it can leave an odor. However, this is a stain not an odor list. Pet urine is similar to beer in that regard. It can stain a carpet if left totally unattended; however, the odor presents more problems to the professional than the actual stain. Coffee, cola, and wine present significant stain problems just like they do on your clothes.

Berries can prove difficult for the unsuspecting homeowner. Treated as an acidic, organic stain makes their removal easier.

Most people know to treat blood with cold water. Hot water and soap set a blood stain. Ketchup and vomit are different stains than blood, and I am not sure why they grouped them together. Oddly enough, the acid in vomit can discolor a carpet quite easily if you don’t neutralize it quickly.

Certain types of glue would make my list. We can usually dissolve or at least soften water-based glues. Chemically reactive glues like epoxy are altogether different. Once they set it is very difficult to dissolve them.

Chocolate isn’t too bad if you deal with the oils. I treat crayon like a wax and freeze it first and then remove any left over oils.

My list

  1. permanent ink
  2. food dyes
  3. reactive glues
  4. Merthiolate
  5. rust
  6. soot or charcoal
  7. latex caulking
  8. strong acids like battery, vomit
  9. strong bases like drain or toilet cleaner
  10. dried paint

Of course, many factors enter into stain’s stubbornness and its ranking on the top ten list. It also depends where the stain is. Is the stain in a rug, upholstery, or carpet? Where the stain is can make it more or less difficult to remove. Even the professionals disagree. In any regard, I published my first top ten list.

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