I'm sure you've heard the secret to streak-free windows...vinegar and newspaper! And to remove those little carpet "dents" after you rearrange furniture? Put an ice cube in the dent, let it melt and then fluff up the carpet! I even heard the other day that if you put a package of Lemonade Kool Aid into the dishwasher and run it (empty), the inside of your dishwasher will be sparkling clean! But what do you do if your infant daughter knocks over a can of blue paint (that the lid wasn't very tightly on because you were going to be doing some more painting) and spills about 3/4 of a gallon on your off-white berber carpet?? Frantically search for your insurance agent's phone number to make a claim on your homeowner's policy?? Nah! I can tell you how to fix this little problem in a way that doesn't involve you shelling out $$ for new carpet!! Sit back and enjoy!
First of all, these types of accidents usually happen at the most inopportune times. For example, you could be in the shower when you hear your husband yelling obscenities at the top of his lungs, while requesting your help. If this happens, just hop right out and throw on a robe because you'll be working on a clock here...no time to dry off! Now, you might be tempted to have a conversation about whose fault this is, but I can tell you that this is not the time. It really doesn't matter if he didn't move her when she started crawling on the can, just as it doesn't matter that you're the one who left it, not closed very tightly, on the floor in the first place. All that really matters at this point is you have an infant sitting in a pool of paint that is slowly seeping into your bedroom carpet! If you feel you must have this conversation, I urge you to wait until much later, but I don't think that you will even want to have this conversation...you'll be so overjoyed at the outcome of the situation, you won't even want to bring it up!
Okay, well, time is of the essence here, so let's get started:
Step One: Divide and Conquer!
The first thing you need to do is get the infant out of danger. Most infants at this age like to put everything in their mouths, so you need to first make sure that your darling baby's chubby, little, paint-covered hands haven't made it to her mouth. (Amazingly, ours didn't!) So, scoop her up to the nearest sink to get her cleaned off. While you're doing this, your husband can be scraping up as much paint as possible and putting it back in the can. It would also be very helpful at this point if you have older children that can help you out. Since we had no idea what we should be doing, we sent one down to Google "How to get paint out of carpet," and one to watch the infant! Now, you will need to be very careful at this point if you happen to have, say, a curious preschooler who would love to help. Your preschooler may be so eager to help that he doesn't really pay attention to where he is stepping and may end up stepping in paint and tracking it all over your hallway. If this happens, just wipe off the bottoms of his feet and send him off to his room to play with the other children. Then, take a wet rag and scrub the spots in the hallway...as long as the paint is still wet, it should come up easily.
Step Two: Gather your materials!
Here is all you really need: Some rags or old towels, buckets of hot water, a scrub brush, a little Dawn dishwasing liquid and a shop vac.
Now, if you have a carpet steam cleaner, you might be tempted to use it. This is a very bad idea. Not only will you get paint residue all over the inside of the machine, the wheels will roll through the paint and you'll end up with a bigger mess than you started with, if you can even imagine. For the first pass, pour some water over the paint and then suck as much as you can with the shop vac. Otherwise, when you start to use the scrub brush, there will be so much paint in the carpet that it will splatter everywhere, like on your baseboards or other furniture or even your favorite robe. After the first pass, then put a little of the Dawn on the spot and start scrubbing with the brush. Pour another bucket of hot water over the area and suck it up again with the shop vac. Repeat as necessary. It's also a good idea to have one of the big kids refill the bucket with hot water when you need it, so you can concentrate on scrubbing and your husband can work the shop vac. You also might want to pay close attention to the shop vac. It is possible that instead of just spraying air out of the nozzle in the back, it will shoot out a very fine mist of paint and water that, if positioned just the right way, will spray all over your comforter and bedskirt. Just saying...it could happen.
And that's really it...after an hour or so, your carpet should be as good as new. There might be a faint blue tint to it, but you'll probably convince yourself that it's good enough, especially since once you finish getting the paint on the walls, it will cast a bluish shadow on the carpet anyway so what the hell! Onward and upward!
Now keep in mind that this method really only works while the paint is still wet. Also, it hasn't yet been proven on a darker color of paint. So, I guess if it doesn't work you could just get a rug or something. However, you might just want to remember this...An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don't paint while you have an infant in the house!