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Ask Doug: Nightmare Stains

Ask Doug: Halloween is a flooring nightmare in our home. How do you get out fake blood, chocolate, Carmel/Tootsie Rolls, glue, and temporary hair dye?

I think I’m coming to your house for Halloween. When’s the party? I’m really good at dunking for apples. Do kids even do that any more? Whatever you do, it sounds like your family and friends have lots of fun, even if it gets messy.

When the fun is over and the lights come one, here are some suggestions on how to clean up your carpet.

Fake Blood from Carpet:

There are several kinds of fake blood. Homemade blood is usually comprised of red food coloring and Karo syrup. They even use it on movie sets. Then there is the high falutin’ stuff known as “Kensignton Gore.” It is made of a number of chemical compounds and it similar to what you can buy from a costume shop. I talk about the different kinds because the kind tells you how to clean it out of your carpet.

Most fake blood can be removed by blotting as much as possible with a white paper towel or scraping it up with a dull knife. All forms eventually coagulate, like real blood, but don’t wait for that!

Using an oxygen-based detergent solution, blot the affected area until it is covered. DO NOT use any detergents that contain bleach and/or lanolin. Rinse your carpet with a spray bottle containing cool water, blotting until you remove the stain.

If this does not completely remove the stain, it means you have a different chemical component in your blood. You may need to moisten the area with a three-percent hydrogen-peroxide solution. Make sure to let it sit for an hour, and repeat as necessary. Light causes a chemical reaction with the peroxide so you do not have to rinse. Once the stain is removed, use a towel or paper towel to ensure the area is dry.

Another method is to pour a little club soda over the blood. Cover the fake blood in plenty of salt to absorb the stain. Wait one day and vacuum!

Natural fiber rugs or those using natural dyes will need professional treatment. These treatments will not work for them.

And never use a circular motion when rubbing, it will hurt carpet fibers.

 

Chocolate

You could lick it out. Just kidding!

As with any other stain, the faster you react to the chocolate spill, the better. Use a butter knife or scraping tool to get up as much of the chocolate as you can. Next, pour cold water on the stain. Using a small amount of dishwashing detergent, rub the stain gently. Let it stand for a few minutes. Rinse the stain with cold water and it should be gone. DO NOT use hot water, it will set the stain.

 

Caramel/Tootsie Rolls

You will see a theme emerging here about using a butter knife or other scraping tool. This is the best way to get this sticky-gooey stain up, especially if it has dried. To get out what you could not scrape off, mix one teaspoon of a non-bleach liquid detergent and one cup of lukewarm water together in a bowl. Using a clean rag dipped in the mix, blot the stain. Next, pour a mixture of one part white vinegar with three parts water into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the stain, then blot with a dry paper towel or white cloth to remove it. Repeat these steps as needed until the stain lifts completely. When the stain is gone, rinse the area with water making sure to absorb excess water with a clean rag.

 

Glue

Yes, there are many different kinds of glue. But no matter what kind, the first thing you can do is get out that poor overworked butter knife or scraper and try to scrape up all of the glue that you can, careful on to spread it. Elmer’s regular glue can, once scraped, be cleaned up with soap and water. If you have had a hot glue boo-boo (pun intended), cover the glue stain with a thin cloth. Next, using a hot household iron, begin to heat up the glue by running it over the cloth covering the glue stain. The glue should turn to liquid and be absorbed into the cloth.

 

Temporary Hair Dye

If you are going to color your hair with one of those wild colors like blue or pink for Halloween, I’d suggest staying far away from a carpet. But if you or your teenager has an accident, there is help! Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand-washing soap and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water.

Hopefully you haven’t run out of clean cloths, because you are going to need more of them. I suggest that you buy an extra large supply of them and the scraper things before the party gets started.

Soak one of those white cloths with the detergent/vinegar solution. Blot with a dry cloth until the stain disappears. then sponge with cold water. Grab another clean white cloth and blot the cold water until the liquid is absorbed.

Maybe you’d better invest in some sponges, too. Because now you are going to need to sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol, and you can’t use the sponge you used before that is full of water. You need a clean one. Blot to remove the stain. Bring back that sponge filled with cold water and go over the stain again. If the stain remains, mix one teaspoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with this solution. Leave it on the stain for at least 30 minutes, blotting every five minutes with a clean white cloth and more solution. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Funny, you didn’t ask about removing wine stains. Guess you have that one covered.

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