I am a professional janitor, and I am an expert in my industry. I use commercial products on the job—so for the purposes of this article I will be discussing common products that you might find at Wal-Mart, Target, or wherever you purchase your cleaning supplies.
The tips I'm sharing here are not trade secrets; they are simple cleaning tips that I've found helpful. Anyone can use this information right now to remove stubborn carpet tar.
I am not an affiliate as of this article writing.
What Is Carpet Tar?
Carpet tar is a result of gum, candy, and other foreign objects—such as mud or dirt from work boots—which dries and then shows up as a shiny, tar-like material on carpets if not treated right away.
- Resolve Carpet Cleaner Spray Spot & Stain Remover, 22 oz; or Best Germ-Killer: Woolite Advanced Stain & Odor Remover + Sanitize, 22 oz; or any other carpet spray. (These are the sprays that I've used at home.)
- Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scour Pad (4-pack)
- Patience (Free but hard to master!)
Step 1: Apply Carpet Spray
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but nothing is magic in the world of cleaning. You are going to want to spray your choice of carpet spray in three initial steps.
- You should spray once onto the carpet tar itself.
- You should then spray in a circular motion in the carpeted area surrounding the offense.
- Spray the carpet cleaner once, squeezing only halfway, onto a small kitchen towel, or a cleaning pad like the Scotch-Brite green scrubbing pad.
Step 2: Lightly Scrub
One common misconception is that scrubbing carpets by hand to remove carpet tar must be done in an aggressive manner, when in fact, the opposite is true. Now, it is understandable why people attempt to do this aggressively, but this needs to be done lightly and it does take some time if you want to do it the right way. That is why patience is one of the key things that you need for this.
After you have sprayed the area with your carpet spray, you're going to want to start scrubbing lightly directly on the carpet tar for two minutes. When done lightly and with care, one can begin to actively break down the enzymes on the top layer of the carpet tar—these are the most important enzymes on the carpet tar, because you have to tackle the problem layer by layer. If you scrub aggressively, it can be easy to miss some of the enzymes which contribute to the stickiness of the tar, and scrubbing aggressively can potentially damage the carpet.
Step 3: Lightly Scrub the Surrounding Area
As mentioned before, there is an area which surrounds the carpet tar offense. This area was sprayed in No. 2 of the spraying step, and this is where you will now be scrubbing lightly as well. It's very important to scrub lightly on the surrounding areas, because this is where you will find the carpet that has not been affected by the carpet tar.
It is still important to scrub this area, because this is the area that is going to be near the carpet tar, known as the foundational area. (Think of it as when the army of Israelite soldiers marched around the walls of Jericho prior to its fall—but scrub gently; it's not Jericho, it's carpet tar).
You can do this.
You are going to want to scrub this area gently for two minutes before working back onto the carpet tar itself.
Step 4: Lightly Scrub the Tar Again
In Step 4, you will repeat Step 2 and scrub the carpet tar.
After you have sprayed the area with your carpet spray, you're going to want to start scrubbing lightly directly on the carpet tar for two minutes.
Step 5: Spray Again and Repeat
Always remember that it is important to not spray again until this step, because the carpet tar and the carpet itself need time to absorb the spray that you will be using. Remember that you will be scrubbing gently for two minutes each.
As both the carpet tar and surrounding carpet absorb the spray, you will see the carpet tar begin to break up. This does take patience, because scrubbing aggressively can damage the carpet and cause the enzymes on the carpet tar to be missed or glossed over.
In Step 5, you will spray again using the spray process, and then repeat the scrubbing process. Repeat the entire process until the carpet tar is no longer visible, and then you're on to Step 6!
Step 6: Vacuum
The final step is to vacuum the repaired carpet and put away the cleaning materials.
Congratulations, you have eliminated your carpet tar effectively while saving your carpet. You also saved on the cost of bringing in professional carpet cleaners!
This can be a frustrating process, and it may be tempting to hire a carpet cleaning service. It is my hope that with my experience as a professional janitor and an expert in my industry, however, I have helped you better understand how to tackle that troubling carpet tar once and for all. Cleaning is a passion of mine, but I'm more passionate about helping people achieve commercial results for their homes.
- Spray once onto the carpet tar itself, and then spray once in a circular motion in the carpeted area surrounding the offense. Then spray once, squeezing only halfway, onto a small kitchen towel or cleaning pad.
- Scrub lightly directly on the carpet tar for two minutes each time.
- Spray the area that surrounds the carpet tar for two minutes with the same pressure applied as Step 2.
- Scrub lightly directly on the carpet tar again for two minutes each time.
- Spray again using the spray process, and then repeat the scrubbing process. Repeat the entire process until the carpet tar is no longer visible.
- Vacuum the repaired carpet and put away the cleaning materials.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Jeremy Daryl
Jeremy Daryl (author) from Iowa on August 06, 2020:
Thank you so much, Abby! I appreciate your comment. It means a lot to me that my article provided some helpful information. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and experiences to help others! Thanks again, and have a great day!
Abby Slutsky from America on August 06, 2020:
Welcome to hubpages. I hope you have a good experience here. This article offered very helpful information.