Rock Salt Stains


During the winter months, it is not uncommon for rock salt to be carried on peoples’ shoes and into our homes and offices.

Rock salt will stain carpets in an unusual way. The colours may look as though they have been bleached rather than stained, especially the tips of the yarn which can look white in colour.

Rectification is usually possible, but it’s not a quick and easy fix.

DO NOT apply water to the carpet.

DO NOT apply detergent to the carpet.

A vital process with rock salt stains is to firstly remove as much of the dry soiling as possible. The more crystals of salt and grit removed, the lesser the problem. Start by vacuuming the carpet. Not once, nor twice, but over and over again. An upright type machine is preferable and you should move the machine quite slowly, backwards and forwards, over an area well beyond that of the visible staining.  See the KenDry Vacuuming Tips published earlier in this blog.

Once thorough vacuuming has been completed, you can then start to work on the actual stains.  For this you will need a small hand sprayer that can deliver a mist or spray of water rather than a water jet. Some warm water and white distilled vinegar. Mix the vinegar at about one part per ten parts water and fill the spray bottle. Wear rubber gloves. Test this solution on an out of sight piece of the carpet to ensure that there is no colour or texture damage. When you are satisfied that the product will not damage your carpet in any way, mist this solution onto the stained area of carpet.  You are looking to apply just enough to wet out the pile, but not the carpet backing. Leave to dwell for about 10 minutes.

You now need to remove the solution and contaminants. Using a clean towel or cloth, DAB the carpet to remove the moisture and lift off the salt residues. DO NOT rub or scrub.  At this stage, the staining may appear to be gone, but then return when completely dry. Just repeat the spraying, dwell and towelling process. You may wish to increase the distilled white vinegar concentration to 1 part to 5 parts water, but take care and pre-test again as above.

If you are unable to remove really stubborn rock salt stains, you may require the services of a professional carpet cleaner.

Safe and happy cleaning 🙂

Ken Wainwright

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