Dear Angie: How do I remove week-old blood from light beige pile carpet? — Sue T. of Richardson, Texas
Answer: It's always best to deal with a blood stain before it has a chance to dry. Many times, all you have to do is dab the area with a clean cloth and cold water.
However, when blood dries, it binds to carpet fibers. If it sits awhile, it can become more deeply embedded by foot traffic.
Still, there are techniques you can try that may work to remove dried blood. The first step, say pros, is to brush or scrape the area to loosen the blood. After vacuuming the bits, apply cold water and blot until the stain fades or disappears. Afterward, rinse or dab the area with hydrogen peroxide, a natural oxidizer.
If that doesn't work, some pros recommend using solutions that vary, depending on the carpet material. For synthetic-fiber carpets, apply a mixture of two tablespoons of household ammonia and one cup of cold water. For wool carpet, use a solution of two cups cold water and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing liquid. Some pros warn, however, that the soapy solution could leave residue that may attract dirt and oils.
Whether you treat the blood stain with plain water or a solution, take care to thoroughly blot the area with a clean towel. Don't apply too much water or solution, or harshly rub the area, or you may spread the stain or push it further into the carpet.
After blotting the area, run a wet/dry vacuum over the area, then cover it with a clean paper towel, weighing it down with a book or something heavy so it absorbs more of the stain and liquid.
If the spot turns brown after drying, apply a mixture of one cup of vinegar and two cups of warm water. Repeat once. Blot clean and let dry as before.
If there's still evidence of the stain, consider consulting a professional carpet cleaner. Consider those who have positive reviews on a trusted consumer site and who are appropriately licensed, insured and bonded. Angie's List members report paying $25 to $75 per room for carpet cleaning, with the cost varying depending on where they live.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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