Occasionally, they discolor or bleach carpets, and many are made from environmentally unfriendly chlorine- or petroleum-based solvents.
Often, a trip to the kitchen cabinet is often all you need to remove all traces of that little mishap on the rug. Vinegar is a workhorse when it comes to green cleaning. Here are some common culprits and their solutions:
Catsup, chocolate, coffee and cola: TLC’s “How Stuff Works” website http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/5-green-carpet-cleaning-tips5.htm advises the following: Mix a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water. For catsup, blot liberally and repeatedly into the spot until it disappears. Chocolate stains should be treated in the same way, but it’s important to blot with a clean cloth, rather than rub, to avoid spreading the stain further. Again, rinse and wring out your sponge repeatedly until the water runs clear. For fresh coffee and cola spills, use plain water. If the stain has set, use the vinegar and water solution.
Red wine: Sprinkle immediately with salt and let sit for 15 minutes. The salt will absorb the spill and turn it pink, says TLC. Then vacuum or brush away the salt and clean the area with a solution of 1/3 cup vinegar and 2/3 cup water.
Dog urine: According to the folks at Dog Chat, http://www.dogchatforum.com/dog_urine_odor.htm#.UP7cw7vChFE, here’s how to remove it: Absorb as much as possible with old towels, or if the area is already dry, use this same procedure: Mix a solution of half vinegar and half water. Work it into the carpet with a scrubbing brush to penetrate the fibers. Blot with towels or paper towels. The vinegar will neutralize the ammonia in the urine. Use a wet vacuum if you have one to remove excess moisture.
When the area has dried, or almost dried, sprinkle a handful of baking soda over it. Then, mix a half cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide with a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent (not dishwasher detergent.) Do not use hydrogen peroxide that is stronger than 3% or stronger than 10 volume, to avoid possible bleaching. A spot test in an inconspicuous area is advised.
Slowly pour the hydrogen peroxide and dishwashing detergent mixture over the baking soda, and work the liquid mixture and the soda into the carpet with your fingers or brush. Allow the area to dry completely. Once the area is thoroughly dry, vacuum up the baking soda. Use a hard bristled brush to loosen up the baking soda if necessary. Your carpet should smell fresh.