The Scariest Stains and How to Get Rid of Them

by Lawton Brothers | Oct 30, 2020


The first step someone takes into your business can set the precedent for the relationships you cultivate with your customers. After all, first impressions are everything and the last thing you want is for their first step to be on a stain. We spend a large amount of our time inside our office or business premises. Due to the use we get out of these spaces, they can quickly become dirty and stained. Messes on floors are extraordinarily common – I’m sure we all remember the last time we spilled something on our own floor – but that doesn’t have to mean stains are just as common! With the correct knowledge and supplies, you can save your floors from those pesky accidents and ensure your facility is clean and welcoming to all. 

How Do Stains Work?

For starters, when the spill first takes place, immediately get to work. The difference between a spot and a stain is about 24 hours. Responding to the spot quickly can prevent a more permanent and challenging stain from appearing. Start by removing any excess substance and material left on the surface of the carpet. Be sure not to rub in or spread the mess around. Then, using an absorbent material, such as a cotton ball or paper towels, you can blot the spot to help lift liquids out of the carpet fibers. Continue to blot the carpet (replacing the absorbent material as needed) until no color or additional liquid turns up. Next, pour clean water onto the spot and repeat the blotting process. Once you’ve absorbed as much as possible, you can move on to specific treatment methods.

Most stains in carpet are caused by liquids that have soaked into the fibers and, oftentimes, into the carpet padding beneath and allowed to dry. This means that even when cleaned on the surface level, stains can seemingly reappear after multiple cleanings. When this occurs, it is vital to get to the base of the problem.

 10 Scariest Office Stains

  1. Ink

    Unfortunately, ink stains are very formidable. As such, you will need a commercial cleaning agent or professional carpet cleaner to remove an ink stain.

  2. Food Grease

    Lunch breaks and the occasional office pizza party can seem harmless until they give rise to unsightly grease stains. For these situations, immediately clear excess food and blot the stain with warm water and clear dish soap. The dish soap will loosen the grease and allow the stain to be lifted out.

  3. Coffee

    Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee to start our day – and maybe a few more throughout the day to keep us going. Before long, coffee inevitably finds its way onto the floor and ends up as a stain in the conference room. To minimize staining, blot away with diluted white vinegar or use an approved carpet cleaner. 

  4. Water

    Yes – water can stain! Watermarks can be caused by water spills that were left to soak into the carpet, so it is always important to absorb additional liquid no matter the color or smell of the substance. Typically, watermarks can only be completely cleared away with steam cleaning.

  5. Chocolate

    With a variety of holidays around the corner, we are bound to indulge our sweet tooth. No need to worry about any tricks though – your treat can be cleaned off the carpet easily with water and a small bit of ammonia.

  6. Gum

    While this isn’t as likely as some of our other candidates, it can be very difficult to persuade gum out of your flooring. Using ice cubes contained in a resealable bag, freeze the gum until it is hardened. While this may seem counterintuitive, it actually prevents the gum from sticking to other materials. Once frozen, scrape the gum away and dab the spot with warm water and dish liquid.

  7. Mud

    This is one of the possible exceptions to the “clean immediately” rule. If you wait until the mud is dry, you can then vacuum it up to prevent spreading it or rubbing it into the carpet. Then you can proceed to clean it with your chosen carpet cleaner.

  8. Oil-Based Products

    Use a spoon or other object to scrape off any remaining product. Using ammonia, lightly blot the spot with a towel. If the color does not begin to transfer, you will likely need a professional cleaner.

  9. Blood and Other Bodily Fluids

    Accidents happen. Every facility gets the occasional nose-bleed, sick patron, or paper cut. Prevent the accidents from sticking around by using one cup of water with a tablespoon of ammonia.

  10. Product Residue

    Many times, leftover product can build up in your carpet and leave behind a sticky residue that actually attracts dirt and dust rather than removing it. This can be solved with a proper steam cleaning to pull out any additional product. Always double-check your cleaning product instructions to avoid unnecessary product buildup.

    Although all of the above household items will generally work in a commercial facility do to OSHA Right to Know requirements you are better off using a commercial product that is properly labeled and has a Safety Data Sheet available. We recommend that you always use a very mild spotter like Lawton’s Freedom, Pro-Link’s General-Purpose Spotter, or Hillyard’s Spotter to remove the most common soils. If these products do not fully remove all of the soil or the spot has sat and become a stain, Lawton has a full line of specialty spotters that will safely remove the stain.

    As always, read chemical instructions before using and/or mixing any products. If you use ammonia on the carpet, be sure to fully absorb any additional chemical out of the carpet before placing another on top. Paying close attention to the types of chemicals you are using can help prevent illness and injury. 

    Need help? Don’t Be Scared!

    Lawton Brothers has been your local choice for janitorial products and services for over 67 years. We are always available to help answer any questions you have about your cleaning routine or services we can offer. If you need any assistance with cleaning a carpet stain, don’t hesitate to call us today at: 800.432.0813.

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