One of the most popular ways to clean stains is with rubbing alcohol. But is it a good idea?
So, can rubbing alcohol ruin carpet and its colors? No, rubbing alcohol will not ruin carpet and its colors. Most professional cleaners recommend you use rubbing alcohol for a variety of quick carpet fixes.
The rest of this article will answer some essential questions about using rubbing alcohol on carpets:
- Can rubbing alcohol be used to clean carpets?
- Does it ruin carpets?
- Does it change the color of the carpet?
- How do you use rubbing alcohol to remove a stain?
Can Rubbing Alcohol Be Used to Clean Carpets?
Rubbing alcohol is actually one of the best chemicals to clean carpets. It will help you to remove coffee stains, wine stains, pet stains, and muddy footprints, to name but a few.
The good thing about rubbing alcohol is that unlike most commercial carpet cleaners, it evaporates, leaving no residue. It doesn’t contain a soap which will inevitably soak into your carpet, which will collect dust and grime in the future if it isn’t extracted carefully.
The professionals only use soaps and foamy products because they have high powered cleaners to extract the waste product after application. Lacking those cleaners, rubbing alcohol is a great alternative.
Does Rubbing Alcohol Ruin Carpets?
The short answer is no, but you don’t want the short answer, do you? You want science to back it up, right? Well, here’s the science behind it:
If you have ever had to rub alcohol on your skin, you will have noticed the cooling sensation as it evaporates. That is called evaporative cooling.
Like all matter, alcohol is made up of molecules. When these molecules heat up, they move about vigorously and are expelled into the atmosphere.
If the alcohol is pure, it will not mix with the substance in the carpet. As alcohol is less dense than most liquids, it will always try to rise to the top and will serve to loosen the substance in your carpet.
The dirt shall finally be transferred onto the paper towel through blotting the area, and the remaining alcohol will evaporate, leaving no residue.
The only way you will ruin your carpet is by scrubbing the area too vigorously. Try not to use abrasive materials or stiff brushes that will damage the pile.
If you concentrate on one small area and apply too much pressure, inevitably, the fibers might become damaged and will show in that area. However, carpets can be very durable, and usually, you do not need to worry about this.
Does Rubbing Alcohol Change the Color of the Carpet?
Nope! Most carpet cleaning professionals recommend it for small stains. It’s not worth the time and effort for a professional to pay a visit. For a 5 minute job, you may as well do it yourself.
Why Should I Use Rubbing Alcohol?
It’s an inexpensive way to clean your carpet and is quick to dry.
Additionally, there is an argument to be had about the safety of most commercial carpet cleaning chemicals. Most common carpet cleaning solutions contain a mix of acids, enzymes, and toxins, and the side effects to the user, the homeowner, and the environment are unproven.
Once the professional has left your home, how do you know there aren’t any toxins left in your carpet? What happens the next time your child drops food on the floor and continues to eat it? You will likely transfer any residue from the carpet to other surfaces too. It’s a problem worth thinking about.
How to Use Rubbing Alcohol to Remove a Stain
If you have dropped a liquid onto your carpet, you must blot the spot immediately. It would be best if you didn’t rub it either.
The aim here is to try and remove any excess liquid to stop it from penetrating deeper into the fibers. Once the stain has dried, it fuses to the fibers and becomes stubborn to remove. Use clean dishcloths or paper towels.
Once you have soaked up as much of the stain as possible, apply a generous amount of rubbing alcohol to the stained area.
Re-blot the area once again with new and clean paper towels or dishcloths. Voila!
How to Supercharge Your Carpet Cleaning Endeavors
If your spill is particularly large, it might be annoying to do the job with a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and a few paper towels.
Tip – Even if it’s a more extensive job, I’d still recommend doing it yourself. Most things are cheaper if you do them yourself.
Additionally, any self-respecting homeowner knows that carpet cleaning should be part of their weekly/monthly regimen. So if you want to build a comprehensive carpet cleaning kit, then read on.
Purchase a spray bottle to help that alcohol penetrate the carpet better and cover a larger surface area quicker.
Put this mixture into your spray bottle:
- one cup of warm water
- half teaspoon of dish soap
- two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol
Stir gently, but don’t shake it as it will become too foamy. Never add more soap to the mixture, but if the stain isn’t coming out, then add more rubbing alcohol.
Spray your solution onto the stain and use the back of a spoon to tamp the mixture. Still, don’t rub or scrub it. Use the vacuum to extract the dirty fluid, and repeat the treatment until the stain is gone.
The secret to getting a professional clean is the use of a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. So, for under $30, you can clean your carpet like a pro.
In some instances, however, it may be useful to hire a professional service. Some stains are incredibly tough to get out, and carpets that haven’t been cleaned in years may have built up too much dirt and grime for you to handle yourself.
Fortunately, it doesn’t cost too much to hire a cleaning service.
Dispelling the Myths
Vinegar is known as a popular carpet cleaner for a while now. But while it’s excellent when used as a disinfectant, it’s a useless substance for cleaning the visible signs of stains away.
The one thing vinegar is good for is odor. As it disinfects whatever you apply it to, it’s an excellent follow-up to a cleaning that removes physical signs of a spill but leaves behind an odor.
A Final Warning
Some stains are so stubborn that you may need to purchase other off the shelf products or bow your head in shame and hire a professional.
Choose your chemicals wisely. Many require an expert’s touch to handle correctly, and you don’t want to use one that ends up hurting you or your carpet.
If you use a pro service, then ask them to provide you with the datasheets of the chemicals they are using. Some products are banned in various states because they are harmful to humans.
For example, phenol, tetrachloroethylene, and tributyltin are banned in the San Francisco area.
Always read the product label and research the chemicals and their dangers on the internet. However, if you’re still unsure, contact your county health department.
Rubbing alcohol is an excellent substance for cleaning carpets. Not only does it remove many of the most common stains, but it also doesn’t damage the carpet or remove any color from the fibers.
While store bought cleaning liquids may be more effective for certain types of stains, rubbing alcohol is a great all-purpose cleaner to keep on hand for most carpet incidents. If you don’t have any, head to the store and buy some today!