5 carpet cleaning hacks every parent needs to know

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Many great decisions are made over a bottle of wine. This story does not involve one of them.

Let me take you back to 2008. Dave and I had just gotten married and we were deep in the throes of designing our dream home. We were at the stage where we needed to make some big decisions about internal furnishings – carpets, tiles, floorboards – you know the drill. We felt overwhelmed with the amount of choice and couldn’t seem to agree on anything, so we thought we’d bring in a professional.

We were a little tight on cash, so instead of hiring someone, we decided to ply our interior designer neighbour with alcohol and bring internal furnishings up in casual conversation. Brilliant idea, right?!

I remember his advice as if it was yesterday.

‘If you have a dark haired family,’ he said.

‘Go for dark colourings.

‘If you have a fair haired family, go for light.’

Dave and I thought this was pure genius. We’re a dark haired family, so bam – we chose the dark carpets, bam – we chose the dark tiles, bam – we chose the dark blinds.

Carpet

Our beautiful new carpets and white walls before we let the kids loose on them.

The three of us – Dave, me and our neighbour – didn’t have any kids at the time, so our focus was purely on what would look good and show up less of our everyday wear and tear.

Our neighbour was on the ball with the dark carpet advice. It doesn’t show up our hair, but oh my God, it shows up just about everything else.

Plus, we didn’t know, I repeat, we did not know what havoc little ones can wreak on carpet.

By the time we moved into our beautiful home with its lush dark grey carpet, we had a two-year-old and a baby.

Alarm bells were ringing, my friends, but we didn’t even hear them.

I think it was a matter of days before we had our first incident. Smiley was quite the vomiter and I’m talking projectile. After nearly every feed it would come straight back up and then there were the poo explosions, the wee, and that time I spent an eternity trying to express a bottle of milk with my manual breast pump only to spill it all over the carpet. There was breast milk and tears on the carpet that time.

Oh, and if you think your child is never going to feel the urge to smother themselves in Sudocrem, then you’re wrong. There’s something about kids and Sudocrem. It’s like the call of the wild. They cannot resist it. Pity the fool me for leaving it lying around twice. My eldest did a right job of it while my back was turned with the baby (thankfully it was on our floorboards and not the carpet), but when Smiley was of age she had a fair crack at the custard covering herself and the carpet with it. (I have no photos of this one as the horror was too much for me to focus on anything other than cleaning it up.)

sudocrem and kids

Curly-locks having fun with the Sudocrem

When we moved in, I’d bought a carpet cleaning product from our local supermarket. I did all of the things I shouldn’t have done when cleaning carpet, like not testing the product on sample carpet before spraying half a bottle on it, and rubbing too hard, which damages the carpet.

We now have multiple pale coloured stains on our carpets in all of our bedrooms.

If I had my time over, I would have consulted with a carpet specialist like Stainmaster Carpet. They know that if you have an active young family, then you need to choose your carpet around that.

Their website has a great stain removal section, which every parent needs to have a good look at.

To save you time, I’ve put together five carpet cleaning hacks from Stainmaster that every parent needs to have on hand.

Vomit
I hate to tell you, but whether you have a baby, or older kids, vomit on the carpet is inevitable.

Poo
Oh, I know. It’s so gross and you don’t even want to let your mind go there, but trust me, you’ll thank me later.

Urine
This one is a must for any parent toilet-training a toddler.

Blood
Along with active kids comes plenty of accidents. Blood doesn’t show up too badly on our dark carpets, but you’ll need this hack if you have lighter carpets.

Markers
If your kids are anything like mine, they love to draw .. anywhere … and everywhere. This hack will do the trick to get those felt tip pen marks out of your carpet.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a hack for getting Sudocrem out of carpet. Does anyone know how the hell to get that stuff out? What has been the worst stain you’ve had to contend with? Add any carpet cleaning hacks you’re willing to share in the comments.

Mummy, Wife, Me received financial compensation for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Flogging my blog With Some Grace.

40 comments on 5 carpet cleaning hacks every parent needs to know

  1. Fashionista
    July 30, 2015 at 10:11 am (2 years ago)

    Lipstick. My new tube of my favourite beautiful dark wine (this was Y2K) lipstick was unceremoniously mashed into the carpeted top step by Miss2. I wept. Both for the lipstick and the unholy mess. It never really came out, it went black and faded but was always a smudge right where you couldn’t miss it. I waited until the children grew up (they are now 19 and 16) and now have glorious new carpets. So far we have had dog vomit (first time EVER the dog has vomited inside!) and milo incidents but I went the nylon carpet option and it’s stain repelling properties are pretty impressive.

    When we were redoing our bathrooms the tile shop lady advised “dark tiles for dark hair”. Best bit of advice in the whole project.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 30, 2015 at 11:54 am (2 years ago)

      Oh my goodness!!! I can just imagine the horror at finding your gorgeous lipstick mashed into the carpet. I think I’ll be doing the same thing as you and re-carpeting once the kids are older πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    July 30, 2015 at 12:11 pm (2 years ago)

    We really need to get our carpets cleaning, they show everything, oh the joys of building pre-kids! I think we’ll just rip them up and get a nicer type, or MOVE! xx

    Reply
    • mummywifeme
      mummywifeme
      July 30, 2015 at 12:13 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep, exactly πŸ™‚ I have no idea what we were thinking with the dark carpets and wait for it – a white couch!! xx

      Reply
  3. Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit
    July 31, 2015 at 6:38 am (2 years ago)

    Our carpet is trash. Seriously rubbish. I NEED NEW CARPET but am too scared to get it for fear of instant ruination. When I finally make the move … I’d better contact Stainmaster.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:22 pm (2 years ago)

      Ha! You better or opt for floorboards instead πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  4. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid
    July 31, 2015 at 6:43 am (2 years ago)

    We’ve got really dark, poo brown carpet that we’ve inherited from the previous owner. It’s not aesthetically pleasing but on the flip side, I think it would hide anything and everything (except maybe the sudocrem!)

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep, nothing hides the sudocrem πŸ™‚

      Reply
  5. Lydia C. Lee
    July 31, 2015 at 6:56 am (2 years ago)

    We’re moving into an apt with carpet – I’m quite stressed about that….I’ve been informed by partner that the wee girl won’t be able to do craft there?????????

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh no! Surely she can do craft. Maybe lay down some plastic or craft outside??

      Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:24 pm (2 years ago)

      Lol. Yes, we’ve had the glitter glue here, but it’s definitely a downstairs and away from the carpet job πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Bec @ Styled by Bec
    July 31, 2015 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

    We have light beige/latte coloured carpet and it’s so good for dark and light hair. Right now in my office I have a black stain on the carpet because Bentley nicked off a round roll of licorice I left up on the kitchen bench and he decided to eat his ‘treasure’ on my office carpet. The joys of owning an indoor dog! At least carpets can be cleaned and eventually replaced when they look ratty and worn. Great post! xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:26 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh no, Bentley!! Yes, that’s the good thing. They can easily be replaced x

      Reply
  7. Caroline Raj @ Mamma Raj Says
    July 31, 2015 at 7:39 am (2 years ago)

    This is great! We have 1 2 year old and a baby so this is us – right now! This carpet is terrible and Baby Raj is about to move so I need to sort myself out – and quick! Thanks for the great advice and a story that gave me a good chuckle

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Oh good, Caroline. Yep, when they’re on the move it’s even more chaos. Argh!

      Reply
  8. Amy @ HandbagMafia
    July 31, 2015 at 7:40 am (2 years ago)

    The only thing that makes a dent in sudo is detergent and hot water. Which is probably bad for carpet!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:28 pm (2 years ago)

      Yeah that’s what I ended up using and there’s a bit of a stain there. God that stuff is hard to move!

      Reply
  9. Nicole@ The Builders Wife
    July 31, 2015 at 7:43 am (2 years ago)

    I’ve never had carpet, and after reading this I am so glad that I don’t. I really don’t like the thought of cleaning those things out of the carpet. To be honest, with our cat’s we couldn’t do dark carpet, but I do love what it looks like xx

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:28 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes, it is not fun getting vomit out of carpet. No siree πŸ˜‰

      Reply
  10. Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad
    July 31, 2015 at 8:19 am (2 years ago)

    Oh our carpet is feral! I have to close my eyes and just pretend it’s all pristine. We both know who are the culprits for my carpets demise. A bit like yours but let me tell you, I have light coloured carpet and it is no better with showing things up. Anything with a bit of colour and the stain sticks out like a sore thumb. We have our carpets cleaned every 6 months. I can’t wait till the kids are passed the destroying, messy toddler stage so we can replace every piece of rug and carpet about the place. Sounds like Stainmasters might be handy here!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes, I think we need to face facts that it doesn’t matter what colour we go for, the kids will trash it anyway πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Mumma McD
    July 31, 2015 at 8:35 am (2 years ago)

    Argh SUDO!! That stuff is a nightmare! These are great tips, I wish I’d known these during my son’s projectile vomiting period!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:30 pm (2 years ago)

      I just read about that Mumma McD. Poor little one πŸ™

      Reply
  12. Laney@thelaneyfiles
    July 31, 2015 at 12:22 pm (2 years ago)

    We’ve given up with our carpet. Kids terrorise them. I hate outside shoes walking on them but this is enar impossible when you’ve got six people living under the one roof. I am saving up a super duper clean once the weather’s warme dup. Can’t wait!!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      July 31, 2015 at 1:32 pm (2 years ago)

      Yes, that’s a pet hate of mine too. Outside shoes on carpet. Six people under one roof makes for a lot of wear and tear πŸ™

      Reply
  13. Kathy
    July 31, 2015 at 4:20 pm (2 years ago)

    I can’t believe I clicked on a carpet cleaning post, being that I just love cleaning carpet! But I knew you would have some good stories to go with it Renee – ah the thrills and spills. We have taupe coloured carpet which is neither very light or very dark or very clean. I look forward to replacing our office/tv room carpet with timber one day.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      August 1, 2015 at 6:33 am (2 years ago)

      Lol! Thanks for dropping by Kathy πŸ™‚

      Reply
  14. Toni @ Finding Myself Young
    July 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

    I’m glad we have tiles downstairs which is where our main living areas are. Mind you it wouldnt have really mattered because the cats have destroyed the carpet long before bub came along.

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      August 1, 2015 at 6:34 am (2 years ago)

      I think it’s very wise to have tiles or floorboards in the main living areas. Very clever.

      Reply
  15. Robyn
    July 31, 2015 at 5:57 pm (2 years ago)

    All I ever remember about carpet cleaning is that if you spill red wine, then chuck white wine on top!! Our carpets are revolting but Mr D refuses to do anything about it until the kids are older!!

    Reply
    • Mummy, Wife, Me
      August 1, 2015 at 6:34 am (2 years ago)

      Really, Robyn!! That sounds pretty crazy. I wonder if it works πŸ™‚

      Reply
  16. Grace
    August 1, 2015 at 11:21 am (2 years ago)

    We’re so lucky we have floorboards! We have a lounge room rug and that gets enough of a beating! Sudo cream is a bitch to get out!!!

    Reply
  17. Dannielle
    August 4, 2015 at 4:00 pm (2 years ago)

    This is brilliant Renee loving those hacks.
    My problem is I have marks on my carpet and I actually don’t know what they are, scary I know, I probably don’t want to know?
    Stain master carpet sounds like a great product to me.
    PS – I loved the plan of you and Dave getting your interior design neighbour over but first filling him up with some magic liquid πŸ˜‰ You sound like our kind of couple xx

    Reply
  18. Julie @ Off to the park
    August 6, 2015 at 6:54 pm (2 years ago)

    That darn sudocream, I had it once smeared in my nappy bag! We have floorboards in our house which has been good while they are little. Thankfully the 3 p’s (poo, pee, and puke) were fairly easy to clean up, but our rug in the loungeroom has copped it with just about everything, you name it we’ve spilt it, lol.

    Reply
  19. Heart
    August 8, 2015 at 2:29 am (2 years ago)

    I like the color of your carpet. It blends well with white. One of the most common carpet hacks.is dust. Just vacuum it and it will be removed.

    Reply
  20. Kirsten McCulloch
    August 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm (2 years ago)

    Hahaha! That sudocreme comment made me laugh out loud. It’s so true! Why do they all feel the need to spread that stuff EVERYWHERE?

    Have you tried using your Norwex cloths on the carpet? I have gotten numerous stains out of carpets at demos just with a damp envirocloth – often when the host was asking if she should get the Norwex carpet cleaner for a particular stain she hadn’t been able to get out, and I say “let’s just try the envirocloth” and presto! it’s gone.

    I haven’t ever tried it on sudocrem, but I reckon it would be your best bet πŸ™‚

    Reply
  21. Karen Roy
    October 10, 2015 at 1:17 am (2 years ago)

    When the kids come along the cleaning becomes a completely different experience than before! Then you learn how to handle stains that you have never thought that you will ever deal with, isn’t it true! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the cleaning hacks! They are absolutely great!

    Reply
  22. hamza
    July 25, 2017 at 1:13 am (2 months ago)

    great tips about cleaning thanks for sharing helpful post

    Reply

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