Monday, February 23, 2009

Carpet Woes

Here is a secret about me. I often fixate on my evil carpet. I call my carpet evil because it has become the bane of my housecleaning. By all accounts, white carpet was a foolish decision, even if I only had three sons when I moved into my house. Two summers of no grass didn't help the carpet situation. I shampoo my carpet as often as other people vacuum and I have to say-they need it every time. But this week has been my worst carpet week ever.

Let me explain. It started with a tube of bright green oil paint. My four year ‘Little Darling’ took the tube from an older sibling's art set. The older boy left the entire set in the family room while I drove him to Tae Kwon Do (not such a good idea). When I got back, my giant 15 year old boy was on the computer and not a foot away from him was ‘Little Darling’ emptying the tube onto the carpet.

Oil paint is complicated to clean. It doesn’t really come out of the fibers well. If you rub it you just make the stain larger. I spent the day it happened scrubbing with different soaps and Clorox. I scrubbed so hard in fact that I literally made four fingers bleed. After that first day the pain in my hands made it impossible for me to fixate for so many hours on the stain. But I still continued to use about ½ cup of bleach on the green spot each day (I would scrub with my foot). I tell you I get crazy about my carpet.

By Saturday there was only a faint greenish hue where it earlier had been a vibrant gem-like green. I can’t say I was pleased with the green hue, but it was considerably better. There was now a bright white spot surrounding my greenish hue, but I was counting on my kids making that area darker in time as well.

I thought I was finished with my carpet woes on Friday. I put the carpet cleaner away and assumed I wouldn’t be seeing it for a week or two at least. I was wrong.

My darling 7th grader turned 13 last week and we celebrated with 13 little girls joining in a party that included sleep over, lots of candy, and dress ups. The girls put on old prom dresses and make up and we took tons of pictures. The party was a success, but in the process a tube of lipstick got left on the floor. I don’t know who’s shoe attached to the lipstick, but someone left a bright red polka dot with each step they took. They walked in the kitchen, around the table, into the family room, sat down on the couch. They walked over to the computer and appeared to have sat in front of the computer for quite awhile and moved their feet a lot. They went into the living room and back into the kitchen. With each step a deep red blemish was left on the rug. Envision acne or chicken pox in your carpet. I was hysterical.

I got the Bissell out again. I cleaned the quarter sized red spots until they were the size of a dollar bill. I pulled out the dishwashing soap (to cut through the grease in the make up). Surprisingly it was working. I scrubbed and then went over each stain with the Bissell. The bright red began to fade to pink. I kept working. Finally I used the technique I learned when my boy emptied a syrup bottle on the carpet. The “pour hot water right on the stain and then let the Bissell suck as much liquid as possible” technique. This technique appeared to be having great results. The carpet was looking cleaner than it had in years. The red was completely gone.
I was joyful. I just couldn’t believe I had done such a great job at making the carpet look good again. I went to bed congratulating myself, only to wake up this morning to giant yellow stains that had appeared during the night. I traded red polka dots for stains that appear to be made by a herd of camels urinating. I wish I hadn’t cleaned any of it. I now envision my used to be white carpet as it could have looked with the red and green stains mixed together. I could have redecorated my home to be a “Christmas all Year” theme. I can’t quite envision a theme that would make camel urine stains appropriate. If you can, please advise.

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