I learned how to get dried paint out of carpet, along with other stains, the day before an appraiser visited as part of our refinancing process. In other words, this process can be done in a day. When you see the results below, you’ll know why I just had to share it with you!
So many, many stains
Like many homeowners, our carpets were spotless when we bought the place. Several years, a couple of kids, cats and dogs later our carpets looked horrid. We’d always planned to replace them with hardwood flooring, but the cost was overwhelming. In fact, one of the reasons we’d decided to refinance our home was to free up money so we could replace the floors.
Then I found out our refinancing depended on a home appraisal. Suddenly, I couldn’t ignore those carpet stains any longer. So I began to look around and saw just how many different stains I needed to deal treat. Some I could easily identify (like dried paint or coffee spills) while others were mysteries (a few of which I’m still telling myself were courtesy of our hairball-prone cats).
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Katie, how on earth could you knowingly allow such stains to stay in your carpet? Aren’t you a clean freak? The answer is that, yes, ordinarily I am… except when I think there’s no point in cleaning something. That’s what I figured about these stains because it wasn’t just paint I was dealing with.
Let’s get a closer look at a couple of those spots, shall we?
Let’s just say I was pretty horrified with what I found. But the good news? I got them ALL out. Every. Single. One. Not only did we get approved for refinancing, but we were also so pleased with how our carpets looked that we decided to forego wood floors until our youngest is out of the house.
Not bad, huh? Here’s how I did it.
How To Get Dried Paint Out Of Carpet (and other old stains)
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Getting Dried Paint Out Of Carpet
Step 1. Goo Gone First, I used some awesome stuff called Goo Gone (a/k/a “Goof Off” for U.K. readers). Having used it in the past to clean crusty paint brushes, I knew it worked on dried paint and figured I’d give it a try on the carpet. After spraying it on, I got out a putty knife to lift up as much of the dried on paint as I could.
Step 2. Soap and water After the dried stuff on the carpet surface came away, it was time to start working on the stained carpet fibers themselves. I sprayed a mixture of hot water and Dawn Original (Sunlight or Fairy for U.K. readers) on the carpet. It’s important to avoid over spraying so you don’t soak the pad, something that can cause mildew.
Once sprayed, I dabbed at it with many, many, many white cloths, transferring the stains from the carpet to the cloth. Like so:
Using a white cloth is important since colored cleaning rags can transfer their own dyes back to your carpet, which just makes matters worse. An hour later, the dried paint stains were pretty much gone.
Getting Cat Vomit Out Of Carpet
Step 3. Ammonia (ugh) Then it was time to tackle the tougher, less readily identifiable stains. Hot water and Dawn didn’t cut it with these, so I had to resort to using one of my least-favorite (and yet one of the most effective) cleaning chemicals: household ammonia.
Let me just warn you: open your windows before opening a bottle of ammonia because that stuff smells awful! Fortunately, that smell won’t stick around after you’re finished, but it’s sure unpleasant while you’re working with it.
So, windows opened, I mixed 2 tablespoons of ammonia in one cup of very hot water and sprayed it on the unidentified spots. Again, it’s important not to drench the area so you don’t soak the pad, but you do want to make sure the ammonia is worked into the carpet fibers. For that you need a stiff-bristled scrub brush. Rub the ammonia in and let it sit for an hour or so.
Getting Mystery Stains Out Of Carpet
So, to get rid of the remaining stains, I used my very favorite trick: ironing them. That’s right, I said iron those stains!
Step 4: Iron the stains out Make sure your iron is filled with water and set it to steam. (I have wool carpets, so I used the highest setting. If yours are nylon or a synthetic blend, use the LOW setting.) Place a clean white cloth over the stain and iron it, keeping the iron in constant motion, for 20 seconds or so. Lift, rotate the cloth to a clean spot and repeat.
Be sure to change your cloth frequently because, as the heat and steam combine with the ammonia, it will lift that stain out of your carpet and transfer it to your cloth. See what I mean?
Shampoo Your Carpet
Step 5. Clean the carpet with water When I was satisfied the stains were gone, I broke out the big equipment: my trusty carpet cleaner. For the first pass, I used just plain hot water since I figured there was probably still some ammonia residue, and I’d already sprayed soapy water on the spots. My real goal was sucking out any remaining moisture.
Step 6. Let carpet dry, then shampoo it Stains often return after drying so I decided to wait and see if I needed to make a second pass. Sure enough, when I came back a couple of hours later, a few stains had reappeared. Out came my trusty steam cleaner again. This time, I filled the tank one-fourth of the way with white vinegar and topped it off with hot water plus a couple drops of Dawn.
Do you see that? DO YOU? Not bad for a 19-year-old carpet!
Yes, it was a lot of work — most of a day, though much of that was waiting for products to do their thing — but it cost me all of $7.50 and I don’t have to cringe whenever I see that carpet anymore. I call that a win!
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