So, there's so much ad spam in this forum, that I thought it'd be nice to actually post some real advice. I own a carpet cleaning company in Greensboro, NC. There's a few things that are always good for pretty much any home cleaning needs:
1. Distilled white vinegar 2. Mild liquid soap, such as Ivory dishwashing soap 3. Hydrogen Peroxide 4. Hot water and cold water 5. Paper towels 6. Alcohol 7. Clear fingernail polish remover
Simple, huh? All household stuff. Obviously, there's times where you'll have to call a professional carpet cleaner or other service professional, but for pretty much anything, so long as you get to the stain soon, the above items will work.
For protein spills, aka organic spills such as food, vomit, urine, blood and grease, you should start with the liquid soap. Moisten the area with it, agitate it lightly with the blunt end of a knife. Let stand for a few minutes then rinse with hot water. Dry with paper towels. Moisten with vinegar to neurtalize the pH (which prevents resoiling). Dry. You may have to follow up with hydrogen peroxide to further dissolve the soil. Don't worry, it won't bleach anything. Just don't use hydrogen peroxide on silk or cotton, and not too much on wool either. Some is ok.
For urine, if you get to it within one hour of it happening, use a little soap then rinse/dry/rinse/dry over and over with cold water. If it's been longer than an hour, the urine has changed to a high pH (alkalyn), and you need to start with vinegar to neutralize it. Then try Hydrogen Peroxide, then liquid soap, rinsing with cold water between each step.
For blood, hydrogen peroxide is the key, followed by soap, then water, then vinegar, drying in between each step.
For fingernail polish, try clear fingernail polish remover, then alcohol if needed.
For ink pens, try alcohol, then fingernail polish remover.
For mustard, call a professional carpet cleaner. Seriously. Don't mess with it.
For shoe polish, call a professional.
For red clay and any mud, let it dry completely and vacuum it up really well. Use a little soapy water (cold) after vacuuming, and dry well. Repeat as needed.
If you have specific questions, email me, or check out my website for more info and links to local cleaners in your area. http://www.zimmermancarpetcleaners.com We're primarily doing carpet cleaning in Greensboro, NC as well as oriental rug cleaning, upholstery cleaning, tile cleaning, hardwood floor cleaning, but we the organizations that certify us link to great cleaning companies all over the country. Worth a look if you need a cleaner!