Carpet Stain Removal

Remove those tough carpet stains yourself

Having carpeted flooring in your home means that dealing with carpet stains will be inevitable, especially if you have pets or children. If paying for professional cleaners or replacing your carpet every few years doesn't sound realistic to you, learning about carpet stain removal is your best bet.

One of the best carpet cleaning tips around is to act fast when a spill or mishap occurs; if you do this, you can prevent the stain from becoming permanent and costly to remove. Here are some quick ways to handle common carpet stains.

Carpet Stain Removal Tips

Always read any care instructions or warnings issued by the carpet manufacturer before attempting to remove any stains. Blotting the affected area with a paper towel is best. Never scrub the stain in a circular motion, as this may damage the texture of the carpet and embed the stain further. Repeat until the stain is removed or no longer transfers from the carpet to the paper towel.

You can use dish detergents to clean stains (just make sure that they don't contain lanolin or bleach) by adding ¼ of a teaspoon to one quart of water. You can also use a cleaning solution of ⅓ cup of white vinegar and ⅔ cup of water. Alternately, a wet/dry vacuum cleaner is a great tool as it allows you to repeatedly rinse and remove the excess water from an area without damaging the carpet.

  • Red wine stain. Blot using a white paper towel to remove as much of the stain as you can, neutralize using the white vinegar solution, apply some detergent solution and blot it into the stain. Use a spray bottle containing tap water to rinse the area and leave a wad of paper towels weighed down with a stone or brick to soak up the remaining moisture.
  • Ink stain. Remove as much of the stain as possible with paper towels and blot at the stain using a clean white cloth containing isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Be careful to not allow the alcohol to penetrate the backing and damage the latex bond. Rinse with water and soak up the remaining moisture with a paper towel or cloth. Repeat as necessary.
  • Blood stain. Using only cold water, blot out as much of the stain as possible using a white paper towel or cloth. Use a few drops of dishwashing detergent mixed with water and blot it into the stain. Absorb the leftover water when you're finished.
  • Coffee stain. Use a hot wet cloth to heat the stain and dab with vinegar, rinse and blot with a towel. Repeat if necessary and dry the carpet thoroughly when you're finished.
  • Pet stain. Remove any solids with a paper towel or a knife, and use a spoon for any dried remnants. Neutralize with a single tablespoon of clear ammonia in a ½ cup of water and spray it on the area. Use the dishwashing detergent solution to blot the stain. Rinse the area and place more paper towels with a heavy weight upon them to soak up the remaining moisture.
  • Rust stain. Any rust carpet stain remover contains strong acids, and should only be used by professionals. Alternatively, you can try soaking the spot with lemon juice for five minutes and dabbing it up with white paper towel. You can also blot the dishwashing detergent solution into the area, rinsing and repeating as necessary. Lastly you can moisten the area with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and let it stand for an hour, dab and repeat until the stain is gone. Lay down some paper towels and weigh them down with a brick to absorb any excess; no further rinsing is necessary.
  • Paint removal. Scrape away any dried paint, or blot up as much of the wet paint as possible with a white paper towel or cloth. Use isopropyl rubbing alcohol on a clean white cloth and dab the spot until it disappears or until no further color transfers to the cloth. Make sure the alcohol doesn't soak into the backing or the latex bond could be weakened, damaging your carpet. Blot the area with the dishwashing detergent solution if the spot remains. If stains still persist, moisten the area with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and let stand for an hour. Dab and repeat until the stain is gone. Place paper towels on the area and weigh them down with a brick. No rinsing is necessary.
  • Urine stain. Blot with paper towels or suck it up with a wet/dry vacuum. Spray the dish detergent solution onto the stain and blot dry repeatedly as needed. Treat the area with two tablespoons of ammonia in a cup of water and 1 cup of white vinegar in two cups of water, rinsing and extracting thoroughly. These treatments will help to remove any lingering smell.
  • Candle wax removal. Scrape as much of the wax out of the carpet as possible using a spoon; then use an ice cube on the remaining wax to harden it and make it easier to remove. Put a brown paper bag on the wax and heat it with a clothes iron on the lowest setting to liquefy the wax. The bag will absorb the wax, but you may need to switch to a new bag periodically. If there is wax remaining, you can try rubbing alcohol on the area, dabbing with a white paper towel. Rinse the area with clean water and absorb it when you're finished.
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