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Removing Salt Stains from Carpets

It can be DIY or done by the pros.

It’s summer, which means trips to the beach (Willows, anyone?) and that means sand and salt water. Every season we are inundated with inquiries about how to remove salt stains from carpets safely and easily. There are a few ways you can do this yourself, which we will outline below, and as always you can give us a shout and we can give it the professional treatment. These tips are also useful in winter, when our roads get salted to protect against ice.

No matter which method you choose, your first step should always be to loosen and collect as much dried-on salt crust as you can. The easiest way to do this is with a stiff brush and a vacuum. If your car has removable mats, start by taking them out and give them a good beating.

For your next steps, there are a few different products and methods to choose from.

Option 1: vinegar, warm water, spray bottle, terry cloths

First, take your 50-50 mixture of vinegar and warm water, spray the salt stains and let it sit for a minute. Next, fold up a small terry towel and press it firmly onto the wet area, holding for several seconds. Repeat as necessary, re-folding or using a new terry towel so you’re always blotting with a clean surface.

Option 2: Carpet Cleaning solution, terry cloth, stiff brush

When using a store bought carpet cleaning solution, you should always follow the directions on the label. There are several types of cleaning solutions available to you should you choose to go this route. Some come as a liquid that you dilute with water, others as a full-strength liquid spray. There are also spray foams, which are packaged in a can with a bristle scrubber in the lid. Depending on what kind you buy you may need to brush the solution in and/or blot away any excess at the end of the treatment.

Option 3: Industrial Carpet Cleaner with upholstery attachment

If you already own one, that’s perfect. If not, home carpet cleaners can generally be rented from your local hardware store. Make sure the one you get has an upholstery attachment for use on your vehicle carpet. Follow the instructions, keeping in mind that using twice as much cleaning solution may not make your car’s carpet and mats twice as clean. You may find that a rental will be more expensive then having your carpets shampooed by us, so we would only recommend this option if you have multiple cars to clean and want to make a day of it.

Option 4: liquid dish soap, warm water, bucket, cloth or scrub brush, wet/dry vac (optional)

This method works best for removable mats as it will get your mats more wet than some of the others. Blend one part liquid dish soap (do NOT use automatic dishwasher liquid) with four parts warm water. Rub the solution in with a clean cloth or scrub brush. Rinse with clean water. Vacuum the rinse water out of the carpet using a wet/dry vacuum capable of sucking up water, or hang the mats to dry.

Option 5: Go to the Pros

If all else fails (or your time is limited) just give us a call for a shampoo. We have professional-strength products and the know-how to take your carpets off their salty diet and have them looking like new.

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