Removing Roofing Tar from Carpet

by Lecia DeBrine
(last updated October 20, 2014)

The carpets in our homes pick up and hold on to almost everything they come in contact with, dirt, hair, dust, and other particles are everyday things that are in every carpet. Stains from these and similar substances are fairly easy to deal with because we all have had to at some point, roofing tar on the other hand is not really a stain most people get in their carpets yet it is more common than you may think. Roofing tar is an oil based product that will not come out of carpet fibers by only using soap and water, a degreaser of some sort is needed to breakdown the stain. Before you treat the stain make sure you have removed any excess tar that may be sitting on or in the carpet, get as much out as you can. Here are a few ways to get rid of a tar stain in you carpet.

  1. A dry cleaning solvent may work on a small fresh stain. Spray the solvent directly on the spot soaking the fibers and let it sit. After a while, using a clean white rag gently dab the stain out using short flicking movements. This is the mildest of the stain lifters for tar and should be attempted first, if the stain is still present, then move on to the next step.
  2. Go-Jo, Goop, or similar hand cleaners are considered degreasers and can be used to remove the tar stain. Apply a good amount of the cleaner to the affected area, carefully covering the whole stain, then gently work it into the fibers of the carpet and allow time for the tar to begin to breakdown. Then with a rag dab out the cleaner and the stain until no tar is coming out, rinse the area with a damp cloth, if the stain is still not gone, be careful not to smear it around while doing this.
  3. WD-40 sprayed directly onto the stain and left to sit for a while will penetrate the tar and pull it out of the fibers. In the same manner as before, gentle flicking motions with a clean cloth will pull out the stain, next you want to wash out the WD-40with a mild detergent like dish soap and some water, rinse the area thoroughly.
  4. If nothing else has worked you can try gasoline. On a clean cloth pour enough gas to wet the spot but not enough for it to drip. Use this to blot the area wetting the entire stain. Letting the gas soak into the fibers and dissolve the tar, grab another clean rag and with the same movements as motioned earlier dab the stain until it is gone. The gasoline should completely remove the stain and evaporate pretty quickly, the smell will only last for about a day if the area is well ventilated.

These methods will work to get at least some of the stain out, if not all of it, however if the stain will not come out you should think about removing the area of the carpet and replacing the patch. If you have a scrap piece of carpet you are in business otherwise you will need to try and find some carpet that will match or get really close to matching yours. Remember when applying any cleaner to your carpet, especially the gasoline, to test a hidden area of the carpet or a scrap to make sure it will not be harmed in the stain removal process, and do not give up too easily, it is possible for you to get that stain out.

Author Bio

Lecia DeBrine


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