Even when we try our hardest to be careful, we are all bound to do some small damage to our carpets. I mean, come on. How can you actually expect something that covers the entire floor you walk on to stay spotless. The force of nature, gravity in this case, is quite literally working against you constantly and I think we all know that gravity always wins. As certainly as apples will fall from trees your carpet will get stained, burned, or cut at some point. Thankfully, these imperfections are usually small and can be easily fixed as I will demonstrate.
First off, a word of caution. This technique will not work for areas larger than about a square inch. This is for small, unsightly imperfections that detract from an otherwise good looking carpet. Also, it is highly advisable to attempt to remove a stain with stain remover first before attempting this fix.
I recently helped a friend move into a new place and there were a couple of burn marks in the living room carpet which I fixed and have documented one such fix here. The supplies you will need are as follows:
1) Small piece of extra carpet that matches the area to be fixed. I was fortunate to have extra carpet available from installation. If you are ever installing new carpet, always keep some scarps! If you don't have this good fortune you can use a utility knife to remove small bit of carpet from a hidden location such as a corner inside the closet or something.
2) A utility knife
3) A pair of scissors
4) Carpet stain remover spray
5) A scrub brush. Note that the bristles on the brush MUST be plain white (or in other words, have no colored dyes). If you use a brush with a stripe of blue, green, or whatever colored bristles you are very likely to stain that area of the rug that you scrub as some of the dye.
6) Super glue (I have used super glue for my demonstration and have had no issues in my experience. However, a better alternative as suggested by Tisu Tinker would be to use a silicone or latex based adhesive which can be purchased at any good hardware store. As Tisu explains in the comment section, super glue dries hard and can leave crunchy bits on the carpet around the fix if you are not very careful in making sure to keep it only on the back side of the plug. Silicone and latex adhesives are more rubbery and forgiving in this manner. Another point he made is that some carpets contain synthetics which can be partially dissolved by the solvent in the super glue. I haven't experienced any issue of this sort with carpet but I have definitely see the effect when using super glue on plastic pieces. In summary, either be very careful in making sure that your super glue does not get on your carpet fibers or use a more forgiving silicone or latex adhesive. Thanks for the great feedback Tisu! It seems to me that hot glue may also be another reasonable adhesive to use. I will try using one of these on my next fix!)
7) Paper towels
Of course I take no responsibility for any damages you cause by using these instructions. However, the process is very simple as you will see and gives outstanding results in my experience. Let's get started!
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Step 1: Excise the Offending Area
The first step is to cut out the damaged area. Yes, things will get worst before they get better. Using your utility knife, cut as close to the edges of the damaged region as you can. You want the area of removed material to be as small as possible. Try to pull back the good carpet fibers as you make the cut. When you are done the hole should look about like the picture and the remaining carpet fibers will tend to fan over some of the excised region.
If you have padding under the carpet, DO NOT remove it from the cut area. We will be replacing the removed area with a plug of good carpet and we want to make sure that the plug is level with its surroundings.
Step 2: Cut a Plug of Carpet to Fit Your Hole
The next step is to cut out a small plug of carpet to fit our hole. Take your scissors and cut out a piece as close to the same size and shape as your hole. I suggest cutting the plug out of your scrap a little larger than needed and the trimming it down to size using your scissors. Pull off any loose fibers at the edge of the plug as you go. Periodically insert your plug into the hole to check the fit and make small adjustments until you are content.
Step 3: Align Your Plug and Glue It In
Once you have made your plug the right size we need to affix it in the hole. First, turn your plug over and look for the direction of the weave. Because of the way carpet is made, the fibers will have a tendency to lay in a certain direction. You want to match the weave direction in the plug to that of the carpet as well as possible to give the best final results. Usually, the weave directions will be aligned with the walls of the room, so align the weave direction in you plug to match this as I have shown.
Next, apply a generous amount of superglue to the underside of your plug. Smear it around a little with the tip of the applicator to get good coverage and then insert the plug into the hole using the correct orientation. Apply pressure to the plug for 20-30 seconds so that the underside is in good contact with the floor of the hole and the glue form a bond across the entire contact area.
Already your fix should be looking pretty good. Let the plug sit for 10-15 minutes to let the glue set up fully.
Step 4: Blend the Fixed Area to Its Surroundings
The last step is to blend the plug in with its surroundings. The first step here is to test you stain remover spray on your carpet. Pick an innocuous location like in the closet or somewhere out of sight and test you stain remover there following the manufacturer's instructions. You want to make sure that the spray is safe to use on your carpet before applying it to a prime location. Once you have made sure that that adversely affect your carpet (bleach, stain, ignite, etc.) you can safely use if one you're plug.
Spray the plug and its surrounding region with the stain remover. Use the scrub brush to work it through the fibers. First scrub left to right and then up and down. Also scrub in circles. The idea is to blend the fibers in both their direction and color. In my case, I used a small piece of new carpet which was a bit cleaner than the surrounding so the color was not a perfect match. This set will take care of that.
With the area blended you should now use your paper towels to blot the area dry. Let the area dry and presto! Your carpet will be as good as new and even someone with their face a foot from the floor would be hard pressed to ever notice the fix.
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