According to a survey carried out by cleaning and maintenance franchise Fantastic Services, the most common stains that British homes need help with is those left by beverages.

Coffee and tea top the list of stubborn stains that Brits turned to Google for help with, during September 2021. Within that single month, there were 1,000 searches for cleaning solutions to remove coffee stains from carpets.

The study was compiled using monthly Google search volumes compiled from the Semrush search analytics tool. Tea was found to have been googled 880 times, with the infamous red wine stains reaching the same number of searches.

Drinks notoriously leave hard-to-budge marks, when spilled on soft surfaces, as they soak into the material. Fresh stains and dried stains take different methods to remove, as dried particles tend to prove very stubborn to clean. These marks can embed themselves in the carpet fibres and permanently stain the floor unless they are dealt with swiftly.

What are the best methods to remove stains?

Dried coffee stains can be particularly challenging to remove. Although there are plenty of effective cleaning solutions on the market, it’s also possible to make a DIY mixture. Soap, water and white vinegar can be used to blot at the stain until it’s gone.

Baking soda is another great household product that can help to lift stains out of a carpet. It can be sprinkled on the recently affected area, left to settle, and then vacuumed up. Salt is also a useful way to soak up the remaining liquid, especially if it’s mixed with carbonated water.

Joint second for the most googled stains in the UK, is red wine. It appeared 880 times in searches during September 2021. The alcoholic drink is notoriously hard to remove if it is spilled, and it seems the problem is found all over the country. However, carbonated water can be used when it is used with a clean cloth to blot at the stain.

The next most googled stain is blood. Like with red wine, the dark mark can mar the appearance of a carpet, especially if it is in a prominent and well lit area of the room. Ways to remove blood stains received 320 web searches in the UK during September 2021. This is significantly lower searches compared to the number that tea and red wine stains had.

Blood stains can also be removed using fragrance-free soap and cold water. This mixture can be used to blot at the stain until it dilutes and lifts from the carpet. In addition to the standard household cleaning products, items from a medicine cabinet, such as hydrogen peroxide, can also help to lift stains. However, some caution is advised with these more aggressive methods, as some cleaning products can change the colour of the carpet, so it’s always advisable to patch test first.

Next up, with 210 google searches, the study found that curry is the fifth most commonly searched for British household stain to clean. It’s no wonder, as whatever type of dish or colour it is, curry can be a hard mark to get out of a carpet. There are many steps to making sure a curry stain is properly removed from a carpet. Washing up liquid, along with white vinegar and cold water, appear regularly online as good ways to remove curry stains.

How I shouldn’t remove stains?

One of the most important things to remember in stain removal is that hot water can actually set the stain. Rubbing at the fabric can also drive the liquid deeper into the carpet and the pile underneath, and will make it much harder to shift. The carpet can also become damaged if it is repeatedly scrubbed with force.

Why are stains so hard to remove?

Tea is the second most frequently googled stain that Britons often need to clean. The problematic liquid can be hard to lift from any material and can leave a carpet looking discoloured. As with coffee, the tea can burn the fibres of the carpet and leave a permanent mark. Both drinks also contain high levels of tannins, a natural compound mixture that can leave a dark stain if left untreated.

As most households know, flowers can look beautiful, but the pollen can leave an ugly yellow mess behind. This type of stain was found to have been searched 170 times in September 2021. The tiny millimetre specks can embed themselves deep into carpet fibres and prove very difficult to clean.

Isopropyl alcohol can be used to lift the pollen stain from the carpet if it is used with a clean towel to blot at the mark. The pollen should lift out of the carpet and stick to the towel, although it can take a few repetitions of the process for the mark to fade.

When are stains easiest to remove?

Reports show that stains are easiest to remove when they are still fresh. Rinsing the area with cold water can dilute the coffee particles before they have a chance to settle and cling to the carpet fibres. However, vigorously rubbing the carpet can damage the material and could cause the particles to get trapped.

What are the best DIY cleaning solutions?

Britons googled queries on how to remove bleach, coke and faeces, each, a number of 140 times at the beginning of Autumn. It seems that September contained slightly fewer accidents concerning these substances than the other liquids in the study.

Despite being a multi-use cleaning liquid itself, bleach can itself leave a nasty stain on a carpet. Whether it was spilled during a hair-dye session or during a spring clean, bleach is often considered a stubborn mark to remove.

Research has found that warm water in a mixture of dish soap or white vinegar can work wonders to clean bleach out of a carpet. The exact ratio can depend on how big the stain is, but most experts recommend 250ml of warm water with one teaspoon of soap, or one litre of warm water with two teaspoons of white vinegar.

Either chosen mixture can be poured onto the stain and left to settle for around five minutes. The stain can then be blotted using a paper towel or old towel, and subjected to the same cleaning steps until it is fully removed.

Fizzy drinks make regular appearances at parties, and coke in particular can create a nasty mark if spilled. The dark liquid can create a sticky mess that looks especially ugly on a pale carpet. Hope is not lost, however – coke stains are relatively easy to tackle if dealt with early enough.

After blotting at the excess liquid with a clean paper towel, household soap or white vinegar can be diluted with water and sponged onto the mark. It’s better to apply small amounts at a time and to keep blotting until the coke stain begins to fade. As with any mark, it takes patience and persistence for a stain to be cleaned from the carpet.

How can I remove faeces and urine stains?

Perhaps the most unpleasant stains to feature in the study are faeces and urine. Accidents can happen and leave nasty reminders on the carpet. Research found that British households googled faeces stain removal 140 times, with urine coming in close behind at 110 searches.

Whether it’s left by a pet or toddler, faeces stains can be removed the same way. The initial mess should be picked up with a bag and deposited in the bin. It’s also worth checking that the person responsible has been thoroughly cleaned so that they don’t spread the mess around the house! There’s nothing worse than finding dark smears in more than one area.

Using a paper towel, pinch at the carpet to pick up any remaining bits of faeces. Select a carpet cleaning product and follow the instructions to make sure that the area is thoroughly disinfected. Alternatively, a cleaning solution can be mixed with white vinegar, non-fragrant soap and clean water for hard to budge stains. Blot at the stain to avoid spreading the mess. Add more mixture when necessary and repeat the process until the carpet is fully cleaned.

Urine can be removed in much the same way as faeces. Whatever the stain is, the most important thing is to act fast so that the mess doesn’t get a chance to dry and cling to the carpet fibres. Baking soda can also be sprinkled onto the affected area and left to settle for around ten minutes. The powder can then be vacuumed up and disposed. The great advantage of using baking soda for urine stains, is that it’s also highly effective at neutralising the unpleasant smell associated with pet urine.

Shockingly, carpets are said to hold four times their weight in dirt. It’s not very surprising, considering research has found that the majority of Brits keep their outdoor shoes on when they’re inside a house. All sorts of bacteria and germs can be tracked into homes and onto carpets that from the bottom of shoes. On top of everyday spills and wear and tear, household carpets regularly need a deep clean to return them to their original colour and standard.

If the homemade stain removal methods don’t work, then there’s always an easier solution – leave it to the professionals and call a carpet cleaning service!


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