Stop Stains Before They Start

The best cure for a spill is a fast response. If a spill is allowed to become a stain, it will be much more difficult to remove. Here are some tips for eliminating stains and spills.

There are three important steps that you must use to treat a stain, hopefully before it has a chance to set in your carpet:

Apply: Wet a clean, white (not printed) paper towel with a cleaning solution. Then dampen the carpet with it. Avoid wetting the carpet through to its backing.

Blot: Absorb the excess liquid from the carpet by pressing straight down with a clean, dry, white paper towel. Do not rub. Place a half-inch thick pad of clean, dry, white paper towels with a weight on top and leave overnight if necessary.

Scrape: Gently scratch the soiled area with the blunt edge of a spoon. Scrape from the outside edge of the spot toward the center.

Complete removal of spills or spots may require a single solution applied repeatedly or the use of a combination of solutions. Follow these simple guidelines in sequence.**

Note: If your carpet is a Lees® carpet with the Ultra25® stain protection warranty, it is important to contact 3M at 1-800-352-6789 before you attempt any of the listed stain removal methods.

  1. Blot liquids with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or white (no printing)paper towels. Do not scrub the area! Continue to blot until the area is completely dry. Gently scrape up semi-solids with a rounded spoon and vacuum. Do not add moisture.
  2. Locate the spill on the spot removal chart, click here and select the first spot removal solution recommended and follow the spot removal procedures listed.***
  3. Pretest any spot removal solution in an inconspicuous area to make certain the solution will not damage the fiber or the dye. After applying several drops to the testing area, hold a white cloth on the wet area for 10 seconds.
  4. Examine the carpet and cloth for color transfer, color change, or damage to the carpet. If a change occurs, another cleaning solution should be selected.
  5. Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth and work in gently. Work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. Do not scrub! Blot, absorbing as much as possible, and repeat, if necessary. Do not saturate the area as this may cause the spill to penetrate into the backing.
  6. Continue using the first cleaning solution as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. It is not necessary to use all of the cleaning solutions if the first solution removes the spill.
  7. Rinse the affected area thoroughly with cold water after the spill has been removed. Blot with a dry cloth until all of the solution has been removed. Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid soiling if the solution is not completely removed.
  8. Place a 1/2 inch layer of white paper towels over the affected area to absorb all the moisture, and weigh down with a flat, heavy object.†
† Courtesy of the Carpet and Rug Institute, Copyright 2006.
** Carpet made of natural fibers requires special care. See methods specifically recommended for those carpets.
*** For an extensive list please reference the CRI website at