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Something has just spilled on your favourite rug or carpet. There's a stain forming. You're worried. Will you be able to remove it? Will the stain set and stay forever?

Luckily, there's a good chance you can completely lift just about any kind of stain – if you follow a few guidelines.

The first rule of stain removal is: act fast. The fresher the stain, the easier it is to lift. So when you notice a stain of any kind, start to work on it right away. Don't wait.

Begin by trying to dry blot the stain. Avoid the temptation of using a wet cloth or detergent, at least at this stage of the game. Blot the stain gently with a clean, dry cloth or absorbent paper towel. Be patient. It may take several minutes before you see any results.

If dry blotting doesn't completely lift the stain, mix up a combination of one glass of water with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Again, take a clean cloth or paper towel, wet it with the water/lemon mixture, and gently blot the area (test on an inconspicuous area first). Wait five minutes, then try dry blotting again.

You may have to repeat the above process a few times.

Using a vacuum cleaner directly over the affected area can also help lift more of the stain.

If, after all your efforts, some of the stain is still there, place a couple of sheets of paper towel over the stain, with a few books on top to maintain pressure. Leave those there for 24 hours. Check every hour or so. If you see stain on the paper towels, you know it's working.

If all else fails, consider calling in a professional cleaner. They know all the tricks and can often perform a miracle for you!

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