Baby food can be one of the most difficult stains to remove from carpets. This is because baby food creates a protein based stain, which actually has more staying power than oil-based stains. The stain should be cleaned as soon as possible. The longer a baby food stain is allowed to remain, the harder it will be to remove.
Easy Baby Food Removal
NOTE: This method should work on all types of jarred baby food, including carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, peas, pears, apples, meat, and so on. It is not the color of the stain that makes a difference—it is the chemical make-up, and generally all jarred baby food is protein based (even the fruit).
What you need:
- Plastic spoon or knife
- Liquid laundry detergent
- Detergents with color safe bleach work best, if your carpet can tolerate it
- For Wool and Oriental Rugs use a delicate detergent such as Lux or Dreft
- 1 cup of cold water
- Spray bottle
- Clean white towel or paper towels.
- Heavy book or other object
- Vacuum cleaner
How to Remove the Stain:
- Mix about ½ teaspoon of laundry detergent with one cup of cold water in the spray bottle.
- Gently scrape away as much excess baby food as you can using a plastic spoon or knife. Be careful not to rub or spread the stain deeper into the carpet, making it worse.
- Test a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet with the cleaning solution before treating the stain to make certain your carpet can tolerate it without damage.
- Spray the stain with the cleaning solution, making sure it is damp, but not saturated.
- Allow this to sit for at least 15 minutes, but don’t allow the solution to dry on the carpet.
- Blot the stain with a white towel or paper towels, using a lifting motion, working from the outside, in. Again, do not rub as this may spread the stain.
- Repeat the blotting (rewetting with cleaning solution if necessary) until the stain is gone, or the towel no longer picks up any residue.
- Place a clean towel or several sheets of paper towels on the wet area and weight them down with a heavy book or other object to aid in the absorption process. NEVER use a hair dryer or other heated device for drying—if the stain was not completely removed, the heat will cause it to set, making it nearly impossible to remove.
- When area is completely dry, vacuum thoroughly to remove residue and restore texture.
- If the stain still remains after these steps, you may have to call a carpet cleaning specialist. Also, there are many carpet cleaning products available which may be effective on particularly stubborn stains.
Alternative Cleaning Solutions
In lieu of liquid laundry detergent, the following cleaning solutions have been found to be effective in removing baby food stains.
Shaving cream: Apply a small amount of shaving cream (lathering type, not the gel type) to the stain and allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes. Spray the area with cold water and follow steps 6 through 10 above.
Hydrogen Peroxide: Mix a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide (3%) with one part cold water. Spray the stain with solution and allow it to sit for approximately 30 minutes. Follow steps 6 through 10 above.
Reminder: ALWAYS test a small, inconspicuous area of the carpet with the cleaning solution before applying to the stain to make sure your carpet can tolerate the solution without damage.
Additional Tips and Ideas
- Never use a detergent or other product containing lanolin or bleach as this may damage your carpet.
- Always read and follow all care instructions and warnings provided by the carpet manufacturer.
- Rugs and carpets with natural fibers and/or certain dyes may require special treatment. Even if you have the slightest doubt, always contact a cleaning professional for advice or service.
- If you have an oriental rug or if your carpet is wool or silk, it is highly recommended that you have the stain removed professionally. These types of rugs/carpeting are delicate and may not be color fast. Make sure you call a carpet specialist familiar with the type of rug/carpet you have. When in doubt as to the type of material your carpet or Oriental rug is made of, check the tag, or check with the retailer/installer for your carpet.
- Avoid walking on any damp areas of carpet. Make sure any spots you cleaned are dry before you walk on them (wet carpet fibers attract more dirt than dry, and you may end up with a bigger stain than you bargained for).