Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to spot-clean carpet

It looks like dog-shedding season and dog-vomit season in our house have intersected. First it was last week, when Doc threw up at 3 a.m. and my killer reflexes caused me to bolt up in bed, groaning and annoyed. Then it was this morning at 5:30, right after Maxwell ate breakfast and threw up not once, not twice, but a solid SIX TIMES in a row. If I didn't know my dogs, I would think there was something terribly wrong with them. But, they occasionally throw up, kind of like cats and babies. Even our vet sees no cause for alarm.

So, I monitor the little guys and what they put in their mouths, and I come up with a plan for cleaning up the mess.

Back in my not-so-green days I would use Spot Shot for cleaning carpet stains. In my experience, it really does work well, and I was happy when, a couple years ago, I could buy some non-toxic Spot Shot (and a double-bonus for the non-aerosol bottle). But then I decided, people have been cleaning carpets way before Spot Shot entered the picture, and Spot Shot doesn't last long and it's pricey (when you have two big, pukey dogs).

I'm happy to announce I've found a solution!

This rag, this measuring cup, and this book have become a bit of an institution in our house.
Here's the procedure (slightly adapted from Cheryl Mendelson's Home Comforts)

1. Mix together a solution of half mild detergent and half lukewarm water. (I used my homemade laundry detergent; the point here is to use a non-bleach detergent.)
2. Blot the stain using the detergent solution and a rag. DO NOT rub the solution farther into the carpet.
3. Mix together a solution of one-third white vinegar and two-thirds water.
4. Blot the stain using the white vinegar solution.
5. If you're still not satisfied after you give the area time to dry, try sponging the area with clean water.

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