It’s the holidays, everyone is seated and ready to eat. Then as the gravy bowl is being carried into the dining room it slips out of your hands and you have a gravy spill all over the freshly cleaned white carpet.
IMMEDIATE DISASTER. NOW WHAT?
Most residential carpet fibers are treated with fabric protector which aids in the prevention of liquid absorption so you have to act quickly.
Carpet cleaning is all about “Gravity and Evaporation”, whatever goes down will rise back to the surface thru the process of evaporation or wicking. There will be a large mass of liquid gravy on the car[pet fibers and “Gravity” will eventually force it down into the backing, the deeper it goes the harder it is to remove. Don’t let the liquid get into the backing, there is as much yarn in the backing as there is on top and once it gets down that deep it takes multiple removal attempts for success.
Don’t Scrub The Gravy Spill, Blot
For a short period of time, immediately after the spill, the gravy will be suspended at the tips of the fibers, with the exception of the “impact area” (where the bowl hit the carpet). Don’t start rubbing, or trying to pick up with paper towels this will only force the gravy down. Grab a couple of large spoons or flat spatulas (use one as a scoop and one to help scoop and prevent pushing gravy onto unaffected carpet fibers), work from edge to center of spill and gently scoop excess gravy from the carpet fibers and place into a container (place plastic under the container to prevent spillage onto unaffected carpet areas). Be careful to keep excess liquid confined to spill area. As you gently scoop the excess liquid you can watch it gather in front of the scooping tool, keep gently scraping until liquid stops gathering.
Rinse With Water
“TREAT YOUR CARPET LIKE YOU WOULD TREAT YOUR HAIR, WHATEVER YOU PUT ON IT RINSE OUT WITH WATER”. Before treating with unnecessary chemicals, flush the area with clear tap water, warmer water helps move gravy oils better than cold water. If you do not have a wet vacuum then paper towels are the best way to draw the water and gravy out of the carpet, be aware you will need a lot of paper towels.
Wet Vacuum Extraction
Place warm to hot water in a 32 ounce trigger sprayer bottle, Spray & vacuum (spray saturate the affected carpet fibers and immediately vacuum up the liquid before it soaks into the backing). Repeat as necessary until all carpet fibers in spill area have been fully rinsed.
Paper towel Extraction
Use white paper towels with NO PRINT! Follow above directions except immediately blot at the liquid with paper towels before it soaks into the carpet backing. Repeat as necessary until all carpet fibers in spill area have been fully rinsed.
Once the area has been rinsed, place 1/4″ thick paper towel over the entire wet spill area, place glass baking or pie dishes over the wet spill area leaving the edges of the paper towel exposed, do not use metal as it may rust. Leave the area covered for 24 hours then remove the paper towels and allow to air dry. Once dry monitor for re-soiling, if the area darkens then a cleaning agent treatment may be necessary. Allow to dry, if it browns it got over wet and you will need to gently rinse with plain water and dry until the browning goes away. Again, repeat as necessary.
Use Dishwashing Liquid
Cleaning agent treatment: Mix 1/4 teaspoon Dawn Dishwashing Liquid and warm water in 32 ounce trigger sprayer bottle, spray the affected spill area moistening the carpet fibers, gently agitate with a wooden spoon (one you are not attached to) by tamping in an up and down motion breaking surface tension of the carpet fibers (DO NOT RUB).
Allow 3-5 minutes dwell time, just like pre-treating a stain on a shirt, then follow the extraction instruction above. Repeat as necessary, you will feel if it needs to be rinsed again because when you touch the area it will feel different than the carpet that wasn’t affected. Allow to dry, if it browns it got over wet and you will need to gently rinse and dry until the browning goes away. Again, repeat as necessary.