Featured photo for Simple Carpet Spot Cleaning

Simple Carpet Spot Cleaning

When I returned from visiting friends in family in California this holiday season, I noticed the living room carpet and the stairs had no less than four places that had what appeared to be regurgitated cat food. Although Oreo and Tiger just looked at me innocently when questioned, I do suspect they had a little kitty party while I was gone and one of them gorged a bit too much on the Natural Balance Ultra Premium cat food that the nice neighborhood catsitter put in shiny bowls for them. Or maybe they overdosed on catnip. Or maybe they just get stressed out like Tori’s cats when she goes on vacation. I will never know for sure.

Whatever the case, I decided it was a good idea to clean this up especially before a particular cutie came over to my house. Calling the carpet cleaners seemed to be a little overkill (not to mention they already cleaned my carpets a year ago) so after Googling around and finding this NW Rugs guide, I resorted to something else: the wet/dry vacuum, commonly referred to as a Shop-Vac™.

My procedure was as follows:

  1. Vacuum up as much of the cat barf that I could.
  2. Heat up a kettle of water on the stove to near-boiling.
  3. Douse the barf spots with hot water and immediately suck up the water with a Craftsman wet/dry vacuum. Continue diluting and vacuuming until the carpet is clean and fairly dry. Note: follow the instructions for your wet/dry vac on how to use it to suck up liquids. Mine requires the removal of an internal filter.

After only a few minutes and less than a gallon of hot water later, the cat-attacked regions of the carpets looked as good as new. Success!

I also used the above method to clean up spilled red wine. It took a little more water, but the principle was the same: dilute, suck, and repeat.

You can’t even tell where I got clumsy with a wine glass or any kitties went “blech!” No chemicals were needed and the only special item used was the shop vacuum, which many people already own.

[Edit June 28, 2013: The same method also worked brilliantly on a red suitcase! For that, I sprayed on Shout stain remover first, and then did the procedure above.]

Spot carpet cleaning is simple, assuming you have a wet/dry vacuum and something to boil water in.
Spot carpet cleaning is simple, assuming you have a wet/dry vacuum and something to boil water in.