How To Fix Carpet Burn Damage
The following steps are to fix very small burns in cut pile carpet, such as those from cigarettes or cigars. If the burn is large, or you own a berber carpet, it's probably best to call in a carpet repair professional. With some types of berber carpet, it's easy to tear out a length of fiber that will stretch right across the room, significantly spreading the damage. If the burn is too large, any repair attempts will result in a large bare spot right in the middle of the carpet. If the burn is small, then it can be more economical to attempt the repair yourself.
If the burn area is small (the size of a cigarette tip or smaller) and the damage is ONLY on the tips of the fibers, you can use a small pair of scissors to gently cut away the burned fibers. Be careful not to cut too much, and don't attempt this if the burns extend down to the backing.
Gently cut away the burned tips of the fibers then create a detergent solution. Mix one teaspoon of clear dish washing liquid with one cup of warm water. The water should not be hot. Use a sponge to gently apply the detergent solution to the stain dabbing lightly. Don't rub the stain, just blot at it gently. Remove with paper towels and re-apply until you are happy with the results. Rinse with plain water and dry with paper towels.
If the burned area is large, the carpet will need to be patched. I'm not very fond of carpet patches. Sometimes the results are acceptable if done by a professional, but often times amateur attempts will result in making the damage more obvious. The patches also tend to come up after time, especially if placed in high traffic areas. You might be better off simply placing an area rug over the burn. For instance, you can use a hallway runner if the burn in in the hallway. Depending upon the location, an area rug may actually liven up the room a bit in addition to covering the burn.
If you do decide to have it patched, we strongly recommend hiring a professional. Patching involves cutting the burned area away, all the way down through the backing. It can be somewhat tricky and it's easy to make the area look worse than it did before. If you decide to attempt it yourself, here are the steps.
Cut out the damaged carpet down through the backing. Be careful not to cut through the padding. Leave the padding alone. Take your time and be precise. Obviously, the goal is to cut out the least amount possible.
Lift the damaged piece out and replace with an identical piece cut from left over carpet, or as close a match as you can find. There is always carpet left over after an installation, so you should have some in your garage somewhere. This is one reason I recommend that you always keep the remnants after buying new carpet. They may come in handy some day.
Use a double faced carpet tape to attach the new piece. Alternatively, you can find carpet adhesive that can be applied directly to the padding. You can find both at any home improvement center like Home Depot or Lowes. I recommend going to the store and asking one of the carpet guys which adhesive or tape they prefer. These guys usually know their own products pretty well.
Once repaired, place a chair or other such item over the spot so you'll remember not to accidentally step on it. Let it set for several hours before walking upon it. The directions on the adhesive will give you an idea of how long to wait.
If this sounds like more than you wish to attempt, call around and talk to some carpet cleaners. You can often find one that will repair carpet burns for a reasonable price.