Emergency Spills and Stain Removal Guide

by Cleaning Doctor

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You can also listen to this guide on the Cleaning Doctor Helpline:
UK: 0800 191 0133     Republic of Ireland: 1800 932 650

This is what you’ll need…

  • Kitchen roll or toilet paper.
  • A palette knife, or a similar flat blunt knife, if there are solids in the spill.
  • Some luke-warm water.
  • Cleaning Doctor Spotter, or spot and stain removal spray (if available).
  • A soft, white, absorbent cloth (such as a towel) for cleaning and another (or kitchen towel) for blotting the area dry.

Deal with spills and stains as quickly as possible for an increased chance of success. For stubborn stains first call your local Cleaning Doctor for advice, especially if there is a serious staining problem. Doing so could prevent irreversible damage to your carpet or upholstery.

If you are using any stain removal product, make sure there is plenty of ventilation in the work area.

This is what to do, step by step…

  1. First remove any excess liquid spills or solids. The first thing to do is mop up any liquids and solids as quickly as possible. If you have previously had stain protection applied to your carpets or upholstery the spilt liquid may float on top for a while, giving you time to mop it up. If you don’t have stain protection. there’s a good chance the fibres will absorb the liquid like a sponge.

  2. You don’t want the stain to spread any further than it already has, so be sure to work from the outside of the stain towards the centre. 

  3. Grab the absorbent kitchen roll or toilet paper and BLOT the excess spilt liquid. DON’T RUB or SCRUB – apart from damaging your fibres (which could give an unpleasant, shabby, fuzzy appearance to your carpet or suite) – rubbing could force the liquid into the fibres making it even more difficult to get any staining out.

  4. Use the palette knife or a blunt knife to scrape up any remaining solids.

  5. Now to Tackle the stain itself. Dip your white cloth in the lukewarm water and squeeze out the majority of the water.

  6. If you’ve got a bottle of Cleaning Doctor Spotter, spray it onto the damp cloth or lightly mist over the stained area and leave for one or two minutes. This is used to lubricate the stain and help release it from the fibres. (It is strongly advised that you always test a cleaning product on a hidden area to check for colourfastness and to ensure that items are wet cleanable before using it on a visible area.)

  7. Dab the fibres in the stained area with the cloth, working from the outside edge towards the centre. Don’t saturate the carpet – if the liquid soaks through to the backing it could damage it.

  8. Turn your soft cloth frequently so you’re always working with a clean surface. Never rub, scrub or use a harsh brush.

  9. You can – if needed – use your fingertips (or lightly agitate with a blunt instrument such as an upturned mug) to gently work the water/spotter into the base of the stain.

  10. Now rinse the stain as follows. Dampen (don’t saturate) the stained carpet fibres with clear, lukewarm water to rinse out the liquid you’ve released.

  11. Cover the spot with an absorbent white towel or kitchen towel and gently press the towel to blot the area.

  12. Repeat the rinsing and blotting procedures until you have removed as much of the stain as possible.

  13. Now place the absorbent white towel or 5 – 6 layers of kitchen roll over the area you’ve just cleaned, and weigh it down with a heavy, colour-fast object, such as a weighted plastic wastebasket. The extra pressure increases the absorption of any moisture that’s still on your carpet.

  14. If the stained area is large, you may have to change the towels or kitchen paper frequently until the carpet is dry. Allow drying over 24 hours, this will absorb any stain in the base of the fibre that may wick up to the surface during the drying process.


If you require any further help or advice call your local Cleaning Doctor.

F   Whilst this spillage and stain removal guide may be simple and basic, it could prevent a spill becoming a permanent stain, and it will assist your local Cleaning Doctor’s chances of success should you find expert assistance required. If followed, it should help prevent some quite common and expensive DIY stain removal damage.

Next step:

Contact the local Cleaning Doctor in your area.