Over the course of a lifetime, a carpet will pick up a lot of dirt—and by-and-large all that's needed to control it is weekly vacuuming and an annual dose of carpet shampoo. There are a few potential mishaps that every carpet owner dreads, however, because they require immediate attention way above and beyond ordinary maintenance. If any of the worst offenders should find themselves blemishing your own beautiful carpeting, what can be done about it?
The trick to dealing with a red wine spillage on a carpet—or any other fabric, for that matter—is to move as quickly as you possibly can so that the stain has no time to set in. The second the offending substance is spilled, grab some absorbent kitchen roll and blot it firmly all over the spillage to get as much of it up as possible. Then cover every millimetre of the remaining stain liberally in ordinary table salt, and leave overnight. In the morning, the salt should be at least partly pink. Get out the vacuum cleaner and hoover it all up. Often this will be enough to nix the stain; if it isn't, you'll have loosened it enough to now clear up any remaining patches using an ordinary carpet cleaner and scrubbing brush.
Nobody wants chewing gum in their beautiful carpet, but that stuff gets everywhere—and once it's in, it's tricky to get out. The easiest way to deal with it in a domestic carpet is to begin by freezing it solid; get an ice pack or fill a sealed plastic bag with ice cubes, and pack them in to cover the gum as securely as possible. Leave them for as long as you can before they're melted, to ensure that the gum is frozen solid rather than simply cold. Once it's properly hardened, use a butter-knife or a metal spatula to lift it away from the carpet and dispose of it—it should come off cleanly. After that, all you need to do is clean up any stain it may have left in the usual way.
It is an unfortunate fact of life that the after-effects of a nasty illness (or some overindulgence, for that matter) can leave a stain on your carpets, particularly if you have pets, small children or raucous parties. Start by grabbing the largest and most absorbent towel you can to pick up all the solids, and dump it straight into the washing machine—which you will of course want to run right away. When that's done, cover the remaining stain in baking soda. Salt is better at lifting colour, but baking soda is better at absorbing smells—and that's hugely important here. Follow the same steps as above for salt on red wine; leave overnight, vacuum up, shampoo and scrub.