Get on that spot fast
Most carpet comes with a stain-resistant coating (like StainMaster or ScotchGuard), so if you work to clean up the spot quickly, you can avoid having your spot turn into a permanent stain. Also, remember to refresh the protection whenever you get a cleaning as the coating gets worn down over time.
Soak up liquids carefully
Use a blotting technique to get as much liquid as you can without spreading the spot further, using a dry cloth or plain white paper towel. Continue blotting until you can't remove any more liquid.
Wipe, don't scrub
If you are too agressive, you may end up distorting the carpet pile and end up with a "fuzzy" area where the spot once was. Gently wipe the spot from the outside edge in, again being careful not to spread the spot further.
Test cleaning solutions and don't use soaps or detergents
Some cleaners may seem to work wonderfully, but they end up changing the color of the carpet or cause the spot to return quickly because of the sticky residue they leave behind. Test cleaners in an inconspicuous area (like a closet) first to make sure they are safe for your particular carpet. Avoid using any soaps or detergents as they are very difficult to rinse out of the carpet and will cause rapid re-soiling.
Use a cleaning solution
Try a cleaning solution (like our World Famous Spot Remover) on the spot. Apply a small amount and rub into the spot (without scrubbing!), then wipe with a clean towel and look to see if any more of the spot is transferring onto the towel. If it is, continue the process until you don't see any more transfer or until the spot is gone. This might take awhile, so be patient.
When you're done, you can put a towel with a heavy object on top to soak up any excess moisture.
Know your limits
Even after your best effort, you can be in a situation where you're over your head. Especially if you have ink, marker, nail polish, rust, red stains, urine, or other tough spots and spills, it's better to call a professional so as not to make the situation worse. Some stains are permanent, but you might be surprised what we can remove.