Clean carpet is something most homeowners strive for while each new season presents new challenges and obstacles to maintain that clean carpet. A good rule of thumb is that wherever there is snow and ice there is also salt. The salt mixtures we use for snow contains calcium chloride and in some instances also sand. While the salt and chemicals work wonders for keeping ice off of our walkways and driveways, they wreak havoc on our carpet.
When left unattended, salt and calcium chloride not only stain the carpet but also lead to discoloration and damage the carpet fibers. The salt penetrates the carpet fibers, typically nylon or wool, and causes them to breakdown much faster than what is considered normal wear and tear. The longer the salt stays in the carpet, the more salt damage occurs. Salt and carpet simply do not mix.
Keep your carpet clean by using a simple solution of white vinegar and warm water. Before you begin to clean the salt stains, make sure you thoroughly vacuum the area to remove any freestanding particles of dirt and salt. If not removed, the salt and dirt will simply dissolve when exposed to the water mixture leaving you a bigger stain to clean up than when you started.
Combine equal portions of white vinegar and warm water in a bucket. Keeping the carpet as dry as possible is key, so avoid using a spray bottle to apply the mixture. Dip a sponge in the water and vinegar mixture so it is wet rather than soaked, and scrub the stain. Let the homemade cleaning solution sit on the salt stain for approximately 15 minutes then use a clean towel to press against the carpet and remove any excess water.
Repeat the sponge and towel technique again to remove the remaining stain if necessary. After the carpet stain is successfully removed, simply press a dry, clean towel on the area to continue removing the moisture. Getting as much moisture out as possible is important to avoid additional carpet stains.