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How to get bleach spots out of carpets

05 Dec 2016

You know that sinking feeling you get when you realise a spot of bleach has hit the carpet and stripped the colour out of the fabric?

When you spot a spill, it’s natural to want to grab a brush or cloth and try to scrub it off. However, this will just work the bleach deeper into the carpet, spreading it further and damaging a bigger area.

James Rael, from Cleaning Services Durban, says it’s so easy to drip laundry or bathroom bleach onto your carpet while doing household chores. 

However, does a bleach spill mean that your carpet is beyond repair or is there hope? James says you'll be glad to hear that all is not lost. He says a bleach spot doesn't have to mean permanent damage to your carpet, especially if you act quickly.

James shares some tips…

What you’ll need  

To effectively tackle this issue you’ll need a few essentials:

- A supply of cleaning cloths and sponges

- Hot water

- Mild household detergent

- White vinegar

- Protective gloves 

To successfully clean up bleach spills, mix ¼ teaspoon of mild dish soap into 1 cup of hot water and pour the solution onto the stain.

Here's what not to do  

Whatever you do, James says don't scrub or try to wipe up the bleach.

He says when you spot a spill, it’s natural to want to grab a brush or cloth and try to scrub it off. However, he says this will just work the bleach deeper into the carpet, spreading it further and damaging a bigger area. 

Here's what to do

James says to successfully clean up the bleach, take quick action by following these steps:

 1. Use a wet cloth to gently blot the stain, being careful not to rub or scrub it.

2. Mix ¼ teaspoon of mild dish soap into 1 cup of hot water.

3. Test the solution on an inconspicuous corner of your carpet to make sure it's not going to cause any discolouration.

4. Pour the solution gently over the bleach stain. You can use a sponge or cloth to carefully blot it on, working from the outside of the stain to the centre.

5. Leave the solution to sit for at least five minutes to let it work on the fibres.

If you're finding the bleach spot to be a bit stubborn, white vinegar is an effective way of tackling it.

6. Very gently wipe the solution off.

7. Rinse with cold water until the cleaning solution is gone.

8. When the carpet is dry, vacuum it to restore the pile.

You can repeat this treatment several times if the first pass doesn't get rid of the bleach spot.

Use vinegar on stubborn stains 

White vinegar is cheap and non-toxic. According to James, if you're finding the bleach spot to be a bit stubborn, white vinegar is an effective way of tackling it. Just follow these steps:

1. Add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to 4 cups of hot water.

2. Pour the solution over the affected area and leave it to sit for at least five minutes.

3. Gently rub the solution off using a sponge or soft cloth.

4. If that doesn't do the trick, repeat the vinegar, let it stand, and rinse off the treatment a few more times.

If you've tried cleaning off bleach spots but your carpet is still damaged, you can carry out emergency repairs using a surprising ingredient – crayons.

5. Rinse with cold water and leave to dry.

6. Once dry, vacuum the carpet to restore the pile. 

Repairing bleach stains with crayon 

If you've tried cleaning off bleach spots but your carpet is still damaged, James says you can carry out emergency repairs using a surprising ingredient – crayons.

1. Gently blot the bleach stain with water.

2. Find a crayon that closely matches the colour of your carpet.

3. Carefully colour in the fibres of the carpet.

4. Use a hair dryer to melt the crayon into the carpet fibres and make sure the colour sets. If you skip this step, the colour will wipe off again in next to no time. 

James says repairing your carpet with a crayon is a last resort if soap and vinegar don't work. Some people have had great success with it, but be careful, this method is best for small and relatively inconspicuous stains, he says.

Call a professional if you need to 

What should you do if your attempts to get the bleach out yourself just aren't working? James says if you look online, you'll find all kinds of ideas from coffee grounds to printer ink to boxes of hair dye. However, he says these methods can all go wrong, leaving your carpet looking a little the worse for wear.

James says you can try a little crayon on a small patch, but beyond that he recommends calling a professional carpet cleaning company. He says they'll be able to assess your carpet and let you know the most effective way to treat it. 

Bleach stains quickly strip carpets of their colour and cause unsightly spots. If you act fast and remember not to rub or scrub, you can pull the bleach back out and leave your carpet looking as good as new, he says.
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