Tips from ServiceMaster of the Key City in Dubuque, Iowa for water damage, fire and smoke damage, vandalism, and removing common household stains.

Water Damage

Water Damage

  • Lift draperies off of the floor, loop through a coat hanger and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Open drawers, closet and cabinet doors to enhance drying.
  • Do not enter a room with standing water until electricity has been turned off.
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help.
  • Do not disturb visible mold.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping or blotting.

Fire Damage

Fire/Smoke Damage

  • Change filter on your furnace.
  • Discard any open food packages.
  • Do not touch anything with your bare hands. Oil from your hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing additional damage.
  • Do not wash walls. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.



  • Make a list of all damage.
  • Use a shop vacuum to remove glass particles from carpet and upholstery.
  • Remove any debris from carpet or interior walls. Scrape or blot carpets and furniture, do not rub.
  • Do not use household cleaning products on fabrics, upholstery or carpets.
  • Do not attempt to remove chemical stains, including ink or paint.


Spot Removal Techniques

Remember that the best time to clean up most spots and spills is right after they occur. Follow the techniques below on how to use the proper agents. Be sure to pretest a small area to make sure that the fabric will not bleed or get damaged during the treatment.

  • If liquid, blot up as much as possible with a clean cloth.
  • If the material is dry, loosen residue with the dull edge of a knife or spatula. Scrape or vacuum up as much of the residue as you can.
  • Dampen clean cloth with the proper cleaning agent for the particular type of spot.
  • Blot area gently, working from the outer edge to the center of the spot. Turn the cloth frequently so you are always using a clean area.
  • Repeat this process until the spot is removed or until you no longer have a transfer of the spot on your cloth. Be careful not to get the carpet excessively wet.
  • Blot the spot with water. Blot any excess moisture.
  • Align the carpet pile protect the area from any traffic and allow to dry.


Spills and Spotting Tips

At ServiceMaster, we deal with thousands of spots and spills every year. Care taken when events occur may immediately solve the problem. Use the tips below to help get rid of common household stains found on carpets. If the stain is more serious, call us for service, 563-557-1488.

  • Grease and Oil Marks: Gently rub in talcum powder, cornmeal, or cornstarch. Let it set and then brush or sponge powder away. Vacuum the area.
  • Mustard Spots: Soak stained area with diluted ammonia (one tablespoon ammonia, one cup of water). Then dry with a hairdryer.
  • Pet Urine: Dampen area with equal parts white vinegar and water. Then blot dry.
  • Red Wine: Use club soda to flush the wine from carpet fibers.
  • Blood Spots: Flush with cold water. Avoid hot water as heat will set the blood stain.
  • Soft Drinks: Blot the area with a vinegar solution (one part vinegar and two parts water). Then blot with a detergent solution (one teaspoon detergent and one quart water).
  • Gum: Freeze the gum with ice and use a dull knife to remove.
  • Candle Wax: Put a brown paper bag over the dried wax and run a hot iron over it. The bag will absorb the hot wax.
  • Latex Paint: Soak with dish detergent diluted with 20 parts water. Agitate the area, blot, rinse and blot again.
  • Ball Point Ink: Use hair spray and be sure to rinse the entire area well with water when finished.