When you buy a carpet, it's an investment, so you don't want to take it home only to see it ruined by an accidental spill. While no carpet is completely impervious to stains, you can minimize staining by looking for particular qualities when shopping for a carpet.
- Density: The closer together the fibers of your carpet are, the more difficult it is for particles to sink in. This keeps the mess on the surface of the carpet, making it easier to clean [source: Home Depot].
- Fiber type: Some fibers, like nylon, polyester and olefin are inherently more stain-resistant than others, like wool and acrylic.
- Stain-resistance treatments:
- Teflon and Scotchguard cause liquid to bead up on the fabric's surface so it won't sink into the fibers before you can soak it up.
- StainMaster carpets neutralize the electric charge of the fabric, which would otherwise attract the dyes contained in many commercially made food and drink products [source: Hilton].
All of the above information should be listed on the carpet's tags, which you should seek out and peruse as you're browsing in the store. The label may also tell you how to care for your carpet to keep it in good condition and how to clean it if something does spill on it. It may also offer manufacturer recommendations for specific brands or types of stain-removing products.
Stain-resistant chemical treatments on your carpet should last for several years, but they will wear out eventually. You can have the treatments reapplied whenever you feel it's necessary. Remember that even if you buy a carpet that is touted as "stain resistant," this is not the same as "stain proof." You still need to attend to spills promptly in order to ensure that they don't lead to permanent stains.