Cycling is one of my favourite fitness routines. Since I live in an apartment building, I have to haul the bike up to the apartment and keep it there. Once in a while, bike grease drips onto the carpet. In fact, a lovely wool carpet that I had received as a gift got completely spoiled by grease stains and I had to dispose of it. It was after this that I did thorough research and learnt methods of dealing with and cleaning grease stains from carpets.
Grease is an oily substance that is applied to the bike chain to ensure that it moves smoothly. Grease (or for that matter any other oily substance) is quite stubborn and can leave a really nasty stain, so it’s extremely important that you deal with it as soon as you notice. The quicker you take action, the higher the chances that you will be able to completely remove it off the carpet.
Before you begin removing the stain by employing one of the methods outlined below, there are a few basic things that you need to do first.
- If there’s a blob of grease on the carpet, use a butter knife or a spoon to scoop up as much of it as possible and get rid of it.
- Next, use a few white paper towels at a time to blot up as much of the grease as possible.
- Start from the outer edges of the stain and slowly move towards the centre. This will ensure that stain doesn’t spread any further.
- Remember to use only an up and down motion while blotting. Do not rub the stain at all, as that might result in the stain spreading and also the grease might embed itself deeper within the carpet fibres.
- In case you have noticed the stain a little late and it has dried up, you need to place a bunch of ice cubes in a clear plastic bag (such as a ziplock bag) and hold it against the stain till it freezes sufficiently. Then use a butter knife to carefully pick at it and remove as much as possible. If you have a small handheld vacuum, then you can use that after the picking to suck up any remaining debris.
- Finally, if the carpet is made of natural fibres like wool or silk, then consult the manufacturer’s care instructions before embarking on cleaning the grease stain.
Use Baking Soda and Liquid Dishwashing Soap
- Step 1: Pour a generous amount of baking soda over the stain. Since it’s an organic substance, you don’t have to worry about any side effects. The baking soda is a great absorbent. It will soak up the grease. You can use cornstarch instead of baking soda if you don’t have the latter readily available at home.
- Step 2: Don’t try to rub the baking soda into the stain. Use a paper towel or clean cloth to gently dab on it. This will help the baking soda coat the fibres of the carpet more comprehensively.
- Step 3: Let the baking soda sit for at least 15 minutes and absorb most or all of the grease. Then use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all of the powder.
- Step 4: Pour a drop or two of liquid dishwashing soap over the grease stain. Remember that some liquid soaps create a lot of lather even from very little amounts. So, depending on your experience of using the particular liquid soap at your home, pour one drop or two. If you pour too much, you will have the spend more time cleaning the lather.
- Step 5: Wearing a kitchen glove, rub the soap gently into the stain. Then pour a little lukewarm water over it and quickly start blotting it up using white paper towels. Use as many paper towels as necessary to blot up soap. If the soap hasn’t been removed completely, then pour a little more lukewarm water and repeat till the soap has been completely removed off the carpet.
- Step 6: Remember that soap can leave a sticky residue, which will attract dirt off shoe soles, etc., if it isn’t cleaned properly at this moment.
- Step 7: Place a few paper towels over the area where the stain was located and use a hairdryer on a low setting to dry the area. Don’t do it for too long. Irrespective of whether the carpet is completely dry or not, stop after about 10-15 minutes. Leave the carpet overnight to dry.
- Step 8: Check the carpet fibres in the morning. If there are traces of grease, then you will have to repeat the process.
Use Rubbing Alcohol or Nail Polish Remover
- Step 1: Apply rubbing alcohol on a clean white piece of cloth. Do not use a coloured cloth or one with patterns on it. Also, since rubbing alcohol is flammable, discard the cloth after use and wash your hands thoroughly. You can use nail polish remover instead of rubbing alcohol as well.
- Step 2: Gently rub the grease stain with the cloth to remove it. The alcohol (or nail polish remover) will cut into the grease, dissolve it and eventually remove it off of the carpet fibres. Once the stain has dissolved, leave the carpet for some time to dry.
- Step 3: Once the alcohol has dried, pour some cold water on the area of the carpet where the stain was located and immediately blot it up with paper towels. Repeat this a couple of time to ensure that all remaining alcohol has been removed.
- Step 4: This may not be a good option to use on carpets made of natural materials. So, check the care manual before employing this method.
Some Dos and Don’ts
- Before applying any of the products mentioned above, test it out on a small hidden section of the carpet. This will inform you whether it’s safe to use it on your carpet or not.
- You should not use more than one method of cleaning the grease back to back. Once you’re done with one method of cleaning, let the carpet dry completely (preferably overnight) before trying the next method.
- Do not use aggressive cleaning products like bleach and ammonia or natural fibres.
In the unfortunate event of you getting some grease on your carpet, you now have some handy tips and solutions to get rid of it without leaving any or much of a stain, mainly using things that you will find around your home. If cycling isn’t your thing, you can find lots of other ways to keep fit over at Your House Fitness.