To successfully remove stains from your carpet, you need to identify what substance(s) makes up the stain. One of the major sources of carpet stains is protein-based products/byproducts. Some examples of substances that can cause protein-based stains in your carpet include cooking grease, blood, and pet urine. Removing such stains requires applying an enzymatic cleaner followed by a solvent.
What not to Do
One problem with protein-based stains is that if you don't follow the right process, you can spread and set the stain. For example, if you grab a hot rag from the kitchen and scrub at the stain, you can make the stain larger as you scrub, and introducing heat to the stain will set it and make it extremely difficult to remove. Thus, the first step when cleaning up a protein-based stain should be to blot at it with a dry paper towel or rag to lift as much of the substance out as possible. Once you have cleaned up as much of the stain as you possibly can by hand, you need to break down the proteins in the stain to remove it.
What Is an Enzymatic Cleaner?
Enzymes are naturally occurring substances which act as catalysts in transforming one substance into something else. Protein and fats may be resistant to some cleaners, but once exposed to enzymes, they become much more manageable. The key is to use the right enzymes for the job. For example, proteases enzymes will digest proteins and break them down into amino acids, and lipases will break down fats into fatty acids and glycerol. On the other hand, amylases will only break down starches. Thus, you need to check enzymatic cleaners to make sure they contain the right enzymes for the stain you are dealing with.
How to Use Enzymatic Cleaners
If you buy enzymes as a powder, you need to mix them with room-temperature water, and if you have highly alkaline or acidic water in your tap, you should consider using distilled or filtered water. The problem is that extreme heat and extreme pH levels can neutralize the enzymes and rob them of their ability to remove your stain. Once you have applied the cleaner, you should be able to lift the stain with a mild solvent such as water since the byproducts of enzyme exposure become soluble; whereas, fats and proteins are not.
Protein-based stains are notoriously difficult to lift, but with the right approach, you should be able to lift difficult stains and keep your carpet looking pristine. Talk with a place like Cohen Carpet Upholstery & Drapery Cleaning Specialists if you have a protein-based stain that you need help with.