How to Scotchgard a Carpet

The best practice for applying Scotchgard -- a proprietary stain and liquid repellent for furniture, upholstery and carpets -- begins with a clean carpet. If you apply Scotchgard over a dirty carpet, you can lock the stains in. If your carpet is new, check your paperwork because many new carpets often come with the protectant already applied.

For dirty carpets, thoroughly vacuum them to remove deep-down dirt and debris. Next, steam-clean them with a rental machine, following the instructions for mixing the detergent with water in the container.

Applying Scotchgard

While you can certainly buy spray-can versions of Scotchgard to treat area rugs with this protectant, for wall-to-wall carpeting, it is more cost-effective to buy the liquid concentrate.

Scotchgard concentrate, when mixed with water, provides different coverage based on the type of carpet you have. You get the most coverage -- 53 square feet per just over a quarter-gallon of the mixed liquid -- on the following:

  • Loop-pile carpets with a 5/16-inch pile or less.
  • Plush carpets with short naps no greater than 3/8 inch tall.
  • Pile weights from 22 to 36 ounces per square yard of carpet.

For carpets with thick and tall piles, you basically get half the coverage of short-pile carpets.

Sprayer Type

For small area spraying such as on an area rug, all you may need are the spray cans that contain the protectant, but for larger areas or wall-to-wall carpeting, you will need a pressurized lawn and garden tank sprayer. Tank sprayers usually have from 1- to 2-gallon tanks and a spray wand attachment with a manual hand pump to pressurize the tank. To assure safety, you can pick up a new lawn and garden sprayer designed for herbicides and fertilizers at your local hardware or home improvement store and dedicate it for inside carpet protectant use only.

Step 1

Mix 1 part liquid concentrate to 4 parts of warm water in a large container, based on the tank size of the sprayer used. If you have a gallon sprayer, for instance, pour in 25.6 ounces of concentrate and 102.4 ounces of water to make 1 gallon, or 128 ounces, of Scotchgard.

Step 2

Insert the funnel into the sprayer tank after removing its lid. Pour the mixture into the funnel until the tank is full.

Step 3

Measure off a section of the carpeting that matches the volume in the tank. For example, on low-pile or commercial carpets you can expect about 200 square feet of coverage with 1 gallon of diluted Scotchgard and coverage of 100 square feet in a plush or shag carpet with tall pile.

Step 4

Hold the sprayer wand 12 inches above the carpet. Spray the measured area, working in rows the width of the spray pattern, overlapping the previous row by half the width of the spray to ensure even coverage. Apply the liquid in even, overlapping movements working from one side to the other.

Step 5

Rake plush or shag carpets after application to work the protectant into the fibers.

Step 6

Allow the carpet to dry for six to 12 hours before putting furniture back and walking on it. The Scotchgard may take up to four days before the chemicals create a good bond with the carpet to allow maximum protection.

Laurie Brenner

Laurie Brenner

As a native Californian, artist, journalist and published author, Laurie Brenner began writing professionally in 1975. She has written for newspapers, magazines, online publications and sites. Brenner graduated from San Diego's Coleman College.