From all the persistent stains the Universe throws at your carpets from time to time, those from milk are among the most difficult ones to clean. It takes a lot of patience and knowledge to take care of them, especially the leftover smell which is notoriously difficult to get rid of. For your convenience, we have gathered the most popular and proven methods on how to remove milk stains from carpets and taking care of the smell as well.
Bear in mind that depending on the “age” of the stain, the smell might take a little longer to disappear along with the stain itself. If you are not sure of the exact origin of the stain or how old it is – the best course of action would be to turn to a professional carpet cleaner.
But before we begin with the cleaning guide, let’s look at…
Why does milk leave stains and why does it smell so bad
Simply because the proteins and fat that it contains are very quick to penetrate your carpet all the way to its fibres. Also, a milk stain is a nurturing food source to all kinds of bacteria that stick there in seconds. Once there, the microorganisms develop a colony which leads to the pungent smell we all know and hate. This is also the reason why sometimes you will notice that even after you managed to get rid of the stain, the smell is still there. Most milk stains are invisible or light at first but over time they turn yellow and get darker.
That’s why immediate action is the best action.
How to clean spilt milk from the carpet
Here is a list of all tools and supplies you will need, and a bit of advice as well:
- Measuring: tablespoon, cup, bowl
- Blotting: sponge, paper towels, clean washcloths
- Treatment: protective gloves, toothbrush, dull knife/spatula, vacuum cleaner
- mild liquid dishwashing detergent (non-alkaline);
- powdered laundry detergent;
- isopropyl alcohol;
- hydrogen peroxide.
- coffee grounds;
- enzyme-based cleaner;
- soda bicarbonate or baking soda;
- sneaker crystals;
- If you are using a commercial product, be sure to always wear protective gloves during the whole cleaning process.
- Always try to blot as much of the spill as possible and start rubbing when you are sure all the liquid is removed.
- Before you start cleaning the whole carpet, always do a test on a small inconspicuous area to see how the material will react.
- Like we mentioned earlier – warm milk is a lot worse than cold milk. That’s why you can never use warm water when cleaning. High temperature helps the stain to set and increases the bad smell.
- If you read somewhere or you think you can increase your cleaning power by mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia, don’t. Just don’t. It’s extremely dangerous and the resulting fumes are deadly.
- Carefully read the ingredients of every detergent to make sure that it does not contain bleach. Otherwise, it may cause discolouration to the fabric of the carpet.
- The level of damage a milk stain can cause mainly depends on whether the milk is skim or full fat. A stain from full-fat milk needs to be taken care of immediately. A skim milk stain is not as urgent.
- If the spilt milk is flavoured, you should treat it as a normal full-fat stain, but still be very cautious. A flavoured milk contains dye, so most likely to remove it you will need professional help.
- The odour of a stain is highly dependent on the temperature of the milk. The smell is more unpleasant if the milk is hot.
- Always remember that there is a big difference between soda bicarbonate and baking powder. You will see a lot of DIY methods that include soda bicarbonate and think that powder will also do the trick.
Actually, they are very different and their effects are as well. Bicarb is pure sodium bicarbonate whether the baking powder only contains it. The powder is a mixture of different ingredients with the sole purpose of creating an acidic reaction into batter or dough. Bicarb is a lot more useful cleaning agent and it works best when used with acidified water. The best solution will be to mix a teaspoon of spirit vinegar with 500ml of water and one teaspoon of bicarb. If the water fizzes too much then the solution is too acidic and it needs more water. Read more here.
How to clean milk out of carpet – Technique #1
- Mix 2 cups of lukewarm water with one tablespoon of mild dishsoap.
- Moisten a white cloth with the solution.
- Soak up all the remaining milk from the carpet using a dry cloth.
- Blot the area until the stain is gone.
- If the stain is still visibile, mix two cups of warm water and one tablespoon of ammonia.
- Apply the mixture with a sponge onto the stain.
- Continue blotting until the stain is no longer visible.
- Use a sponge dipped in cold water to blot the carpet and rinse it.
Cleaning milk stains out of carpet – Technique #2
- Blot the stain with a dry sponge or a cloth as soon as it appears.
- Take a damp cloth and gently scrub the stain.
- Sprinkle cornstarch all over the affected area. Let it sit for at least half an hour.
- The cornstarch will soak up any remaining milk and when the time is up, you only have to vacuum it.
How to get milk out of carpet – Technique #3
- Blot the milk from the carpet using a dry cloth, sponge or paper towels.
- Mist the area with water to prevent the stain from drying out.
- Make a smooth paste by mixing powdered laundry detergent and water.
- Dip a toothbrush in the solution and gently scrub the stain.
- Rinse the spot with cold water.
How to remove milk from carpet – Technique #4
- As always, blot the stain carefully with a dry towel, cloth or a sponge.
- If you were late to see the milk stain and it’s already dry, remove as much as you can with a dull knife.
- Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol to the area by using a terry cloth. Do it in blotting motion. The stain should relocate from the carpet to the cloth.
You can use rubbing alcohol to remove wax carpet stains or to clean grease from your area rug.
Cleaning milk out of carpet – Technique #5
- Take a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Higher percent will damage your carpet.
- Use a dropper to apply it to the stain.
- Blot it up after the foaming stops.
If this doesn’t help you:
- Make a paste by mixing peroxide and borax
- Spread it on the milk stain and leave it to dry.
- Don’t rinse the area after. Vacuum the residue.
How to clean dried out milk from carpet – Technique #6
- Take a dull knife and remove as many flakes as possible from the stain,
- Whatever is left there – spray it with water. A moist stain has a bigger chance of disappearing.
- Dip a toothbrush in some washing powder and rub the stain.
- Rinse with cold water.
- If there is any leftover smell, you can try and remove it by spraying an equal solution of vinegar and water and blotting it up after.
How to get sour milk smell out of a carpet
Sour milk smell is like a punishment from some angry ancient deities. Sometimes you spend so much time trying to get rid of a stain and when it’s finally gone it turns out that the smell is still very much “alive and well”. Luckily for you, we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to help you out when something like this happens.
Removing milk stain smell by using soda bicarbonate
After you have taken care of the stain itself, take some bicarb soda and pour it over the spot. Leave the soda overnight. If you are living with other people, especially if you have kids, make sure to surround the area with something. You don’t want anyone to step on it while going on a midnight walk to the fridge. The morning after, loosen the soda with a brush or with your hand (using gloves of course) and vacuum the whole area. In addition, this method can reduce or eliminate the smell of a freshly cleaned carpet or a brand new rug which still gives off VOCs.
Getting rid of sour milk smell by placing a bowl of vinegar
This method you can use only after you’ve already done your best in removing the actual stain. Fill a medium sized bowl with vinegar, no matter which kind, and place it near the spot. It needs to stay for a couple of days. Again you have to be careful not to spill the bowl onto the carpet.
Another smell remover trick with vinegar is to spray it directly onto the stain. It’s best to dilute the vinegar with an equal part of water to prevent fading. Let it stay for a while and blot it with a clean cloth when it’s done. The vinegar smell should disappear gradually in a couple of days and you will have an odour-free carpet.
Taking care of a milk stain smell on your carpet with coffee grounds
This is a very simple method. The only thing you need to do is to sprinkle fresh unused coffee grounds onto the stain. Leave them for a few hours to soak up the sour milk odor and vacuum after. Most likely the coffee odour will replace the milk one but it should also fade away gradually in time.
Removing sour milk smell by using commercial products with Enzymes
Your local supermarket is the place where you can find most enzyme-based products. They are usually located in the pet isles. Created to remove smells like cat pee, they will work just as well on the milk odor due to its similar protein nature. Just follow the instructions on the label and you will be able to take care of the smell.
Getting rid of milk smell by using shoe odour “crystals”
These so-called “odour eaters” are usually used by different trainers who want to prevent the sweat and its smell to soak in the carpet. The crystals are made from charcoal which is a highly odour absorbing material. You only need to put them over the stain and cover them with a mat or a terry towel. Leave the crystals until they eliminate the smell and vacuum the area.
If everything else fails, you can always count on a professional
We know that it sounds very tempting to take care of a stain yourself, whether it’s milk or something else. Still, whatever you do would still not be enough to completely get rid of a stain or the smell that accompanies it.
So whenever you need a professional to help you out, you can always count on Fantastic Services to do the job properly. The carpet technicians are familiar with all the different types of stains and know how to treat each one of them and assure quality results. One of the cleaning methods we perform is hot water extraction deep carpet cleaning. It takes care of household spills, pet stains and helps you get rid of unpleasant odours and even dust mites. Check the availability and prices on our website now, book a professional technician and make your carpet happy and smelling good again!
Whichever method of cleaning or smell removal you choose, remember to always do a test on a small inconspicuous area. Depending on the size, nature, and age of the stains, some of them might be impossible to remove. We cannot take responsibility if any of the above-mentioned methods do not work on your carpets.
Header image source: Depositphotos / AndreyPopov
Posted in Cleaning Guides
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