Winter is a popular time of year for many reasons: the snow, the cold, the blue skies and winter wonderland atmosphere. However, snow brings snow removal, which means all of us are dealing with heavy salt stains and salt deposits that track into our homes, cars, and other areas. Salt stains can be incredibly challenging to remove because their unique chemical properties allow them to bond to other fibers or materials in their environment and refuse to let go. Not every surface can be washed out to remove salt stains, and you might be left wondering how to remove salt stains from the carpet.
Salt stains are not a permanent death sentence to your carpet. Even though you may feel like people are tracking in the stuff by the bucket every time they enter your home, it’s far easier than you might think to return salt stains or deposits from your carpet. Shag, wool, flat, or old; no matter what your carpet is, our team has the knowledge and research to provide you with the best salt stain solutions for your cleaning needs.
Treating Shag Carpet
- Distilled white vinegar
Thick shag carpet presents an extra challenge to anyone who’s trying to clean it, largely thanks to its thick and matted fibers that create a tough, nearly impenetrable surface that’s soft to touch but hard to clean thoroughly. Thick shag carpeting can swallow up rock salt chunks very easily, making it extremely hard to pick out as well. When you’re taking out salt from the shag carpet, you’re going to want to start by vacuuming up any and all loose salt follicles. Use a textured or hose attachment to help remove any really ingrained salt. Next, mist all salt stains with a mixture of equal parts water and distilled white vinegar. Allow this mist to sit for about ten minutes and begin dissolving salt residue and remains. Take a towel and begin blotting the stain in order to safely and completely remove it, while also removing as much moisture from the carpet as possible. Allow to air dry.
Treating Flat or Bare Carpet
- Paper Towels
- White Vinegar
- Distilled Water
- Spray Bottle
- Carpet Brush
Your flat carpet is a bit easier to clean because you’re working with less texture and fiber to work with, but that also means that you’ll need to put a little more elbow grease into dislodging loose salt crystals so you can actually clean them up.
Begin by taking a stiff carpet brush and brush the surface of the stain, applying steady pressure. Next, take a vacuum and vacuum up all remaining salt crystals. After you’re sure your salt has been removed, mix equal parts white vinegar and distilled water into a spray bottle and apply liberally to the salt stained area. Allow to rest for twenty minutes and then blot dry with a thick towel.
Treating Wool Carpet
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Carpet Cleaner
Your wool carpet is often more delicate and susceptible to permanent damage due to the fragile fibers of natural wool, so you’ll really want to take extra precaution in how you clean in. In order to treat the built in salt stains, you’re going to want to take a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment or a delicate vacuuming attachment and cover the entire surface of the wool carpet, picking up any and all salt remnants to prevent them from further staining. If you don’t have a delicate vacuum attachment, you can take your rug outside and hang it up over a clothesline/railing to beat out any additional salt left.
Wool rugs are extremely soluble in water, so when you’re treating your salt stain you’re going to want to avoid water at all costs. Use a specific carpet shampoo such as Woolite INSTAclean Permanent Stain Remover. Apply in small areas, then dab or blot dry and allow to air dry.
Heavy-Duty Cleaning Solutions
When you’ve exhausted all other options, you can turn to commercial steam or carpet cleaning solutions to target thoroughly built in salt stains. Popular rug cleaning companies like Rug Doctor, Stanley Steamer, or Molly Maid offer individual carpet cleaners or steaming services that you can rent and use on your own before returning. These professional grade cleaning solutions target salt stains on any level while still remaining sensitive to the fiber and type of carpet you’re cleaning. Getting a commercial steamer combined with salt-busting, deodorizing and cleansing liquid as well as following the instructions of the rental agency will let you steam the entirety of your carpet to treat serious salt stains. Repeat as needed until the water inside the machine runs clean and your carpet looks as good as new!
Alternatives to Salt in the Winter
If you’re sick of cleaning out salt from your carpeting, that’s completely understandable! There are a few different cleaning hacks and tricks you can try to get your carpet salt free and keep your driveway snow free. If salt is an absolute must for you, try putting ribbed or grooved carpets and floor mats down in front of all entrances and exits to your home as well as one inside. Make it a rule that you leave winter shoes outside and keep a pair of socks or slippers inside the door to change into right away to prevent salt from spreading around the house. You can also use all-natural de-icing materials such as coffee grounds or cheese brine to help keep roads clear and safe to use without tracking salt all over the place.
Keeping salt out of your carpet is easier said than done, but removing the stains salt can leave behind is actually a piece of cake when you have the right tools to get it done! Winter salt is no longer a problem. Salt treatment and salt removal is simple with powerful cleaning products and time-tested recipes so you no longer have to worry on how to remove salt stains from the carpet.