Not 15 minutes after the new jug of laundry detergent was in my house, I was trying to get the dryer balls (which I absolutely love, by the way, for towels & sheets) from the topmost shelf in the tee tiny laundry supply/paper towel storage/linen closet/medicine cabinet/vacuum cleaner storage area. (Pay close attention to that last one) Like an idiot, I sort of only kind of balanced the new jug of laundry detergent on a seemingly stable stack of towels while I groped on the top shelf for the aforementioned dryer balls (sometimes 5-foot-6 seems like enough, and sometimes it falls woefully short).
As often happens when I act like an idiot, the universe caught on to me and made good use of its time in teaching me a small lesson about gravity. About how gravity always, always wins out over a seemingly stable stack of towels.
The jug of detergent (full, mind you, and just minutes old) toppled off its perch and fell directly onto the vacuum cleaner whose crevice attachment was STICKING POINTY-PART UP, and was immediately punctured. It proceeded to follow the laws that govern such things and glugged thick, viscous laundry detergent all over the carpet.
I picked it up (still glugging) and put it in the bathroom sink (thankfully mere steps away, though of course plenty still managed to find its way to the carpet). After I regained my wits, I placed the jug (no longer full, but still only minutes old) with the puncture hole at the top so no more would glug out into the sink and waste more of my money.
(Practical Household Hint: if this ever happens to you, immediately pour yourself an adult beverage of your choice, and drink it straight away. This will help quell any hysteria and keep you focused on the task at hand. I didn't do this initially, and lost valuable calm-thinking time to abject-flipping-out time. Not pretty.)
By the time I figured out what to do (it took a long time because of the non-drinkng and because my Mom wasn't answering her work phone), the damn gooey stuff had sunk into the carpet and colonized my hallway like it was some gelatinous empire. My first attempt--soaking the detergent up with a sponge & bucket of water--was short-lived and involved a lot of swearing. Inquiries at the neighbors' revealed that the local hardware store rents carpet shampooers for a mere $20.00. Of course, by the time I got to the hardware store, they were renting out their last one just as I walked in the door.
I rented a cleaner on Saturday (no, thank you young hardware store dude, but I don't need the upholstry shampoo for this particular job), cleaned the hell out of my hallway carpet, and proceeded to do laundry all afternoon, spilling nary a drop more (though the cursing was profuse).
(Practical Household Hint: if you happen to drop a whack of laundry detergent on your floor and clean it up with handtowels--or whatever's handy in the linen closet--you can just toss those handtowels or whatever into the wash. No need to add soap! Convenient for those times when all your soap is coagulating in a puddle in your hallway!)