9 Worst Carpet Cleaning Tips Online

carpet cleaning tips

Should You Trust Carpet Cleaning Tips Online?

There are a lot of bad carpet cleaning tips and myths on the internet. Which tips can you trust? Which should you ignore? This blog post debunks common myths about how to clean carpet and protects you from permanently damaging your carpet.

The only tip we fully recommend is to visit our website or to call Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ at (732) 244-8080 for your carpet cleaning questions and emergencies.

Don’t Always Believe the Internet

Did you know “google” is now an official word in the dictionary? It means “the act of searching for information on the internet.”

We use Google and modern technology to find pages and pages of information and the answer to almost every question imaginable. But should we trust all the answers we find online?

The internet is great for finding driving directions, phone numbers, store hours, cooking recipes and more but some information should be trusted with experts, including a professional service like carpet cleaning.

albert einstein internet joke

Modern carpet is complex and expensive. Today’s carpets include different fabrics, synthetics and manufacturer protective finishes, each with their own chemical properties. Due to the cost of carpet, you want to be sure it is being cared for as best as possible.

Natural carpet like wool is very sensitive and easy to damage. Artificial viscose carpets and fibers are almost impossible to clean. Nylon carpet is the worst for acidic stains.

It’s very doubtful that your average internet blogger knows all of this or has considered every possible scenario that could occur when using one of their “how to” methods.

Unlike bloggers, most professional carpet cleaners have training, certifications and years of experience and can safely clean most carpets and stains in minutes with their industrial equipment, solutions and techniques.

Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ technicians receive continuous training and 5-star certification in all Chem-Dry cleaning processes and equipment in order to ensure optimal results for our customers. Learn more at the official Chem-Dry website.

When it comes to carpet cleaning, trust your local professionals and ignore these stain removal and cleaning tips you find online:

1. Vinegar

no vinegar carpet cleaningVinegar is the darling of the natural cleaning world and DIY cleaning movement on the internet. But should it be?

If you mix vinegar with water it is useful as a natural disinfectant but it is not effective as a carpet cleaning solution.

The Journal of Environmental Health tested vinegar and other natural solutions and determined that vinegar is one of the least effective solutions for removing dirt or soil.

Some tips recommend mixing vinegar with baking soda. This will not remove dirt or stains either. Mixing vinegar with baking soda just creates a foamy salt water paste that then will also need to be removed from the carpet.

Never mix vinegar with hydrogen peroxide like some internet tips suggest. The mixture will create peracetic acid that is toxic and can create respiratory problems or skin irritation.

You might see a video or two online that shows how vinegar removes stains form the surface of a carpet but we can assure you that vinegar will not remove embedded dirt and contaminants that harm carpet fibers and lead to permanent damage.

2. Ammonia

Ammonia and other high alkaline solutions will cause permanent damage to wool carpet and rugs.

For synthetic materials, ammonia can degrade carpet fibers, cause color dyes to become unstable and strip away manufacturer static and stain guard finishes.

Carpet aside, ammonia is toxic and it can be very harmful to children and to pets. If you use too much ammonia or mix it with other cleaning solutions in an unventilated room you will create chemical fumes that children and pets might inhale.

We always recommend green carpet cleaning solutions and methods if possible to avoid introducing harmful toxins and contaminants into your home.

3. Hairspray

dont use hairspray for carpet cleaningHairspray is for hair, not for carpet cleaning. You are much more likely to create a stain with hairspray than you are to remove a stain with hairspray.

Here is a good rule of thumb, if you can find several articles online with tips on “How to Remove X Stains from Carpet” then you probably don’t want to use “X” for removing carpet stains.

(Hint: Google “How to Remove Hairspray Stains from Carpet”)*

Hairspray creates a firm, sticky and stiff residue that you don’t want on your carpet. It is easy to rinse hairspray out of your hair when you are in the shower but it is not easy to rinse it out of carpet.

If that residue isn’t removed it will bond to dirt and contaminants in your carpet and create an even more difficult stain that needs attention.

You also want to know what ingredients or components you are using when trying to remove a carpet stain. Do you know the pH level of the carpet stain or the synthetic materials in your carpet? Can you pronounce any of the ingredients on the label of the hairspray bottle?

If you use hairspray for carpet cleaning you run the risk of combining chemicals and ingredients that don’t blend well together and could cause permanent damage.

*There are some carpet cleaning tips online that recommend using white wine to remove red wine stains. Don’t try this. If you put white wine on your carpet you are just creating more residue due to the sugar in wine. You will then be searching “How to Remove White Wine Stains from Carpet”.

4. Water

It might seem harmless to use water to clean a carpet stain but that is not always the case.

For example, if you use water to attempt to remove a petroleum or oil-based stain like an ink stain from carpet there is a good chance the ink will set in the carpet fibers and become permanent. The same is true for nail polish.

Every time you wet an acidic stain you reactive the pH and make it acidic and potentially harmful again. A stain that is wet will spread. A stain that is dry will not.

If you want to keep a stain damp before a professional carpet cleaning service arrives use club soda or seltzer, not water.

Professional carpet cleaning experts know what stains water is safe for and how to combat acidic and oil-based stains. The internet does not.

5. Dish Soap

dont use dish soap for carpet cleaningDo not use dish soap for carpet cleaning or any kind of liquid soap. Liquid soaps are extremely effective at removing dirt from surfaces but only if the soap is rinsed entirely from the surface after.

Dish soap is designed to remove grease, grime and food from plates, pans, bowls and cups. It then needs to be rinsed off of the dishes into the sink or dishwasher.

Laundry soap removes stains from clothing and fabrics and the washing machine then rinses off all of the soap.

Carpet does not have a rinse function like a dishwasher or washing machine. If dish soap is not completely extracted from carpet it leaves behind a residue. The residue attracts surrounding dirt in the carpet and will attract future dirt that reaches the carpet and create a large soil stain.

People often are able to remove a carpet stain with a mixture of dish soap and water only to find that the stain returns and is even worse than before. That is because of the residue from the soap that was not rinsed from the carpet.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide

Using hydrogen peroxide for stains is one of the most popular carpet cleaning tips found on the internet due to its cost and convenience. Everyone has a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in their medicine cabinet.

But did you know that hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent? You really don’t want to put bleach or bleaching agents anywhere near your carpet, do you?

Using a hydrogen peroxide solution higher than 6% on a carpet stain will almost assuredly bleach out the color dyes in your carpet.

Most common household hydrogen peroxide is diluted to a 3% grade. However, depending on the dye, you still run the risk of bleaching your carpet.

If you do decide to attempt to clean a stain with hydrogen peroxide (don’t!), we recommend you test it on a discrete portion of your carpet. Perhaps in a closet, in a corner or underneath a piece of furniture? BUT WE DON’T RECOMMEND IT!

7. Hot Iron

dont iron carpetYou will find some tips online for using an iron to remove wax stains from carpet or plastic from carpet. We strongly suggest you ignore them.

The risks of using an iron on a carpet stain should be obvious, especially at a high heat setting. If you leave the iron near the carpet for too long you could create a burn spot.

For most carpet stains and spots, we like to claim that “if we can’t remove it, no one can!” In the case of carpet burns, no one can.

If you burn your carpet with an iron, you create a permanent problem until you either purchase new carpet or cut out and repair that portion of your carpet. Do you really want to start a process of cutting apart your expensive carpet with a razor blade?

The carpet cleaner you hire should be able to remove wax and similar stains without any risk of burning your carpet. If they can’t, find a new carpet cleaner.

8. Pet Urine Stains

Ignore every blog post or article online containing DIY tips and carpet cleaning tips on how to remove pet urine or urine stains from carpet. We can’t stress this enough. Do not attempt to clean or remove pet urine from carpet on your own.

Urine is perhaps the worst stain for carpet and fabrics. It is the rare stain that both looks and smells terrible. And it gets worse.

Urine is a complex compound that starts as uric acid before transforming to alkaline crystals when it dries. Both states can cause serious damage to carpet fibers.

You should not attempt to remove urine stains on your own. Wait for professionals to arrive and use proven, safe methods.

Carpet with urine on it that is not properly cared for can lead to permanent damage to the carpet fibers, carpet backing, carpet pad, floorboards and even the walls and foundation of a home.

Urine will permeate into wood, dry and become even more concentrated and pungent.

You might find a carpet cleaning tip online that will help to mask pet urine odors but you won’t find one that will eliminate the odor from your carpet.

If you have a pet urine stain on your carpet, call Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ at (732) 244-8080 ASAP. Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ offers P.U.R.T.® to break down and eliminate odor causing molecules in pet urine.

9. Commercial Cleaning Products

no cleaning productsDon’t spend a dime on commercial and retail carpet cleaning products. You are much better off saving your money for routine professional cleaning services.

Every carpet cleaner in the world would prefer if a customer left a stain alone rather than use a retail product on it.

Oftentimes it becomes much harder to remove the cleaning product itself.  And even harder to reverse the damage of the product than it would have been to clean the original stain.

Similar to many of the solutions listed above, store-bought products contain multiple ingredients and chemicals. Those chemicals could cause unforeseen reactions and damage to various carpet fibers, dyes and finishes.

Many retail cleaning chemicals will corrode a manufacturer’s protective finish or stain guard while others contain protectant chemicals that will cause a protective layer over a stain if unable to remove it.

Commercial products contain contaminants, toxins and chemicals that can be harmful to your health, your family’s health and your pet’s health.

Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ uses green-certified solutions and methods for our carpet cleaning. The Natural® relies on the power of carbonation to lift dirt and contaminants to the surface of carpet. It contains no chemicals, detergents, phosphates or soap.


It’s easy to see how a lot can go wrong if you use carpet cleaning tips you find online. There are fibers, synthetics, fabrics, chemicals, toxins, dyes, stain guards, pH levels, heat levels, bleaching agents and even more to consider when it is time to clean a stain.

Thankfully, you don’t have to think about any of that if you call Joanne’s Chem-Dry of NJ at (732) 244-8080. We are trained in all of the proper methods for removing common carpet stains and embedded dirt and soils from carpet.

Are there other carpet cleaning tips on the internet you have questions about or think we missed? Please share them in the comments below or on social media at our official Facebook page.


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