Quick Carpet Cleanup - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Quick Carpet Cleanup

by | Aug 31, 2022 | Pro Tip, RVEXPERT

Keeping your RV’s woven fabric flooring is as simple as applying the right products and techniques
While the RV industry is rapidly moving away from carpet to more easily cleaned flooring products such as linoleum and tile throughout many motorhomes and trailers, floor coverings made of thick woven fabric can still be found in many new RVs — and a lot of older units. And if there’s one thing RVers have discovered, it’s that carpet is a dirt magnet.

Fortunately, most common stains can be removed with a spot carpet cleaner, but beware: They are not all created equal. In fact, some carpet cleaning products can actually make stains worse, as their residue can actually attract dirt.

So how do you know what’s best for you and your RV? Look for products that have been awarded the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval (SOA). The CRI tests an assortment of carpet cleaning solutions and equipment and has found a big difference in how well these products work. According to the organization’s website, the CRI is the carpet industry’s only scientific program designed to test and measure the effectiveness of cleaning products and equipment, helping consumers make informed decisions about the product(s) they use. Products are evaluated on several performance attributes: soil-removal efficacy, resoiling, residual moisture, surface appearance change, pH level and optical brighteners.

In addition, products that have passed the SOA testing protocol have also earned certification as “green” products, which is important, considering that an RV interior is a relatively small space and some chemicals can cause health problems for sensitive individuals.

Spot Shot, a product of the WD-40 company, is one carpet cleaning product that is a recipient of the CRI SOA and has received rave reviews on the Internet. We’ve tried and continue to use this product ourselves on both carpet and fabric upholstery (always test any product in an inconspicuous area first before using as directed). Spot Shot has a mild scent and is non-toxic and biodegradable, so it’s safe for you, your pets and your kids. For pet stains, consider Spot Shot Pet Instant Stain and Odor Eliminator, or Nature’s Miracle.

a hand using a paper towel on the spilled area
Spills can happen whether in your home or RV. The important thing is to address them immediately — the longer it sits, the harder the stain will be to remove. To clean carpet, first blot the stain with a clean white paper towel or a clean white cloth. Keep blotting until you’ve soaked up as much of the offending liquid as possible.
a hand sprays Spot Shot cleaner onto the spill area
Spray the stain with your chosen cleaner, per the product’s instructions. If this is your first time using the product, make sure to test it on an inconspicuous area first. We’ve had good results with Spot Shot, which has very positive reviews online and is approved by the Carpet and Rug Institute.
a hand using a paper towel on the spilled area
Blot the stain, moving from the outside to the inside of the area. This will help prevent spreading the spill and making it larger. Once it appears that all the stain has been removed (no more liquid is visible on your cleaning cloth), use another clean cloth dipped in water to rinse the area. Blot as dry as you can, then leave a dry piece of paper towel or cloth on the area until completely dry. This will help wick more moisture from the fibers and prevent you (or others) from stepping on the area.
Whatever carpet you have or product you choose, the CRI offers these general spot-cleaning tips:

  • Act quickly — delaying may cause the spill to become a permanent stain. Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white paper towels. Gently scrape up semi-solids with a rounded spoon. Break up solids and vacuum.
  • Pretest any spot removal solution (for color transfer to the cloth or damage to the carpet) in an inconspicuous area. If a change occurs, select another solution.
  • Apply a small amount of the solution to a white cloth and work in gently (don’t rub), working from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Allow to remain on the spill for a few minutes. Be patient. Blot.
  • Continue to use the first agent as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. Complete removal may require repeating the same step several times.
  • When the spill is completely removed, rinse the area with cold water; blot with a dry cloth until all moisture is removed.

For tips on removing specific types of stains, the CRI’s exhaustive Spot Solver page (carpet-rug.org/resources/spot-solver/) can be invaluable. While it covers a lot of potential problems an RVer will never encounter, the scrolling list includes cleaning steps necessary to eradicate everything from pet stains to spilled coffee.

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