Carpet Stain Removal

Written by Amy Gordon (last updated May 3, 2021)

Removing carpet stains can be a tricky challenge, because, unlike clothes and linens, you cannot just pick the carpet up and toss it into the washing machine or take it to a dry cleaner. Nor is it always possible to cover up carpet stains with pieces of furniture.

Carpets go through a lot of wear and tear, and they are subject to all kinds of marks and stains. Foods and drinks are dropped, kids' projects spill, or nail polish drips onto the carpet. If you have a special type of carpet, like wool, you should check the manufacturer's care and handling instructions before cleaning the carpet.

If you've dropped a liquid—juice, for example—start by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible. Be careful not to rub the spot, since rubbing can spread the stain. Once as much of the liquid as possible has been absorbed, apply a solution of one part dish detergent to three parts water. Rinse the spot with water—spray the water on with a spray bottle, or pour it in slowly. Use a towel to blot up as much of the liquid as possible.

Add a little more water to the mark by spraying lightly or dripping on a bit more water, then place a folded towel (or several paper towels) over the stain and press down firmly. Use some form of flat weight (like a heavy hardcover book) to press the towel down, and leave the towel or paper towels there until the carpet is completely dry.

If the liquid is ink, first put some rubbing alcohol onto a clean cloth and blot the ink out as much as possible, being careful not to let the alcohol get onto the carpet backing. The ink should transfer to the cloth, so use one that you don't mind inking up. Follow the alcohol treatment by blotting the stain with the dish detergent solution mentioned above and then pressing a towel into the mark to absorb the liquid.

If you've dropped or spilled something solid, such as chocolate, do not wet the stain. First blot away as much of the material as possible, then try spraying on a cleaning solution like diluted ammonia, and then follow the same drying method you would use for liquid stains. Another possible solution is to slightly wet the stain and then rub it with a bar of Fels Naptha soap.

If you've dropped a sticky solid, such as chewing gum or putty, freeze whatever you cannot blot or pick away. You can use ice cubes or, if available, dry ice. Once the offending item is frozen, use a kitchen knife to break the gum or putty into smaller pieces. A good hard hit should shatter the it. Once the putty or gum has been broken down, vacuum up the flakes.

For many carpet stains, variations on the above will work. If nothing seems to work, try calling your local carpet cleaning company in.

Warning: Avoid using bleach on carpet stains—many carpets are not colorfast, and bleach will leave a permanent mark where the carpet dye has come out.

Author Bio

Amy Gordon

Amy Gordon loves keeping things simple, natural, and safe so she can spend more time having fun. Every day she learns new things about making life at home easier and she loves to share it with you! ...

MORE FROM AMY

Remove Heavy-Duty Stains on Stainless Steel

Here are two methods for removing stains from so-called stainless steel. You can remove most stains with a mixture of ...

Discover More

Growing Prize-Winning Flowers

The most important thing about growing prize-winning flowers is making sure that your flowers get the right nutrients. ...

Discover More

Use Tea Bags to Give Azaleas the Acid They Love

While most plants like basic soil, azaleas grow better in acidic soil. Most plants are damaged by acid, so you'll need to ...

Discover More

Remove Stubborn Stains Quickly Get everything looking clean again: Walls, floors, baseboards, counters, blinds, appliances, and more. Micro-scrubbers easily reach into surface grooves, lifting dirt away. This low-cost 8-pack is great for stubborn stains and touble areas. Check out Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 8-Pack today!

More Cleaning Tips

Removing Bamboo Stains from Carpet

Bamboo furniture can look beautiful when stained, but if the stain ends up on your carpet it might be hard to remove. Try ...

Discover More

Remove Gum from Carpet with Peanut Butter

Chewing gum can be nearly impossible to remove once it has gotten stuck to your carpet. It may seem counterintuitive to ...

Discover More

Cleaning Rust Stained Carpet

Carpeting can be one of the most wonderful things in the world, but it can also be one of the most annoying things in the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.