How to Remove Carpet Stains

DIY Guide to Effective Removal

How To Remove Carpet Stains

Are you tired of looking at those unsightly carpet stains that seem impossible to remove? Whether it’s red wine, coffee, or pet accidents, spots can be a real eyesore. They’re a source of frustration too. But don’t despair. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through simple and proven methods on how to remove carpet stains effectively. We also threw in expert tips to help your floors stay fresh and clean.

Old Carpet Stains? Rehydrate

Have you ever stumbled upon an old smudge that you thought was a lost cause? Don’t give up hope just yet! There’s a simple trick that can help you remove even the most stubborn, set-in stains: rehydration. By rehydrating, you can effectively loosen the dirt and debris, making it easier to clean.

  1. Dampen the stained area with warm water using a clean cloth or sponge. Be careful not to soak the carpeting, as excess moisture can lead to mould and mildew growth.
  2. Allow the water to sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes. This will give the fibres time to absorb the moisture and begin loosening the marks.
  3. Blot the area with a clean, white cloth to absorb the water and any loosened dirt.
  4. Apply a remover or a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water to the area.
  5. Gently work the cleaning solution into the fibres using a soft-bristled brush.
  6. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and blot dry with a fresh cloth.
  7. Repeat the process if necessary until the mark is fully removed.

The Dos and Don’ts of Carpet Stain Removal

To ensure the best results and prevent any damage, keep these important dos and don’ts in mind:


  • Act quickly when a stain occurs
  • Blot, never rub
  • Test cleansing solutions on an inconspicuous area first
  • Use a clean, white cloth to avoid transferring colours
  • Work from the outside of the spill towards the centre
  • Rinse thoroughly and blot dry


  • Use hot water, as it can set some stains
  • Apply too much water or product
  • Use harsh chemicals or bleach on your carpet
  • Scrub the carpet aggressively, as this can damage the fibres
  • Allow the carpeted floor to remain damp, as this can lead to mould growth
  • Give up on old stains without trying the rehydration method

General Carpet Stain Removal Tips

1. Identifying the Type of Stain

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s essential to know what you’re dealing with. Different stains require different treatments.

  • Water-based: These include things like coffee, tea, juice, and mud.
  • Oil-based: Think makeup, grease, and cooking oil.
  • Protein-based: This category includes blood, urine, and other bodily fluids.

Once you’ve identified the type, you can choose the appropriate removal method.

2. Gather Your Supplies

Before you start scrubbing and cleaning your own carpeted floors, make sure you have the right tools for the job. Here’s what you’ll need:

Stain TypeCleaning SolutionsTools
FoodDish soap, vinegar, baking sodaSponge, scrub brush, clean cloths
DrinkClub soda, hydrogen peroxide, saltSpray bottle, clean cloths
Mud and dirtCarpet cleaner, vinegar, baking sodaVacuum, scrub brush, clean cloths
Pet messesEnzymatic cleaner, vinegar, baking sodaSpray bottle, scrub brush, clean cloths


Having the right supplies on hand will make the removal process much easier and more effective.

3. Act Quickly

Time is of the essence when it comes to stains. The longer they sit, the harder they will be to remove. So, as soon as you notice a spill or stain, spring into action!

For Fresh Stains:

  1. Blot the area with a clean, absorbent cloth to soak up as much of the spill as possible.
  2. Apply your chosen cleaning solution directly to the spot, being careful not to over-saturate the carpeting.
  3. Gently scrub the area with a soft-bristled brush or sponge, working from the outside towards the centre to prevent it from spreading.
  4. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry with a clean towel.

For Set-in Stains:

  1. Vacuum the area thoroughly to remove any loose dirt or debris.
  2. Mix a solution of warm water and your chosen cleaning product (dish soap, vinegar, or carpet cleaner).
  3. Apply the solution to the stain and let it sit for 10-15 minutes to allow it to penetrate the fibres.
  4. Scrub the area with a stiff-bristled brush, applying firm pressure to work the solution into the smudge.
  5. Rinse the area with clean water and blot dry.

Remember, patience and persistence are key when tackling tough messes. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few attempts to get the desired results.

4. Dry and Deodorise

Once removal is a success, it’s important to ensure the area dries completely to prevent mould or mildew growth. You can speed up the drying process by placing a fan near the area or using a wet/dry vacuum to suck up any remaining moisture.

If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn odour, you can sprinkle some baking soda over the area and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming it up. The baking soda will help absorb any lingering smells, leaving your floors fresh and clean.

Removal Tips Based on Type

How to Prevent Future Stains

Removing Water-Based Stains

You’ll need:

  • Clean white fabric or paper towels
  • Cold water
  • Mild dish soap
  • White vinegar

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Blot the stain with a cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the excess liquid as possible.
  2. Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon of mild dish soap and 1 cup of cold water.
  3. Dip a clean towel into the solution and gently blot, working from the outside in.
  4. Rinse the area with cold water and blot dry.
  5. If the stain persists, mix equal parts white vinegar and water, apply directly, and blot until the stain is gone.

Removing Oil-Based Stains

You’ll need:

  • Clean white towels
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Dry cleaning solvent

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Blot the stain to remove as much of the excess oil as possible.
  2. Sprinkle baking soda or cornstarch and let it sit for 15 minutes to absorb the oil.
  3. Vacuum up the powder.
  4. Apply a small amount of dry cleaning solvent to a clean cloth and gently blot, working from the outside in.
  5. Blot the area with a clean fabric dampened with water to rinse.

Removing Protein-Based Stains

You’ll need:

  • Clean white fabric or kitchen towel
  • Cold water
  • Enzymatic cleaner (available at pet stores)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Blot the stain with a kitchen towel to remove as much of the excess liquid as possible.
  2. Rinse the area with cold water and blot dry.
  3. Apply the enzymatic cleaner according to the product instructions.
  4. Let the cleaner sit for the recommended time, then blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to rinse.

When to Hire Professional Carpet Cleaners

Sometimes, the best solution is to call in the professionals. Carpet care experts have access to powerful equipment and solutions that can tackle even the toughest stains and odours. While hiring a pro may seem expensive, it can save you money in the long run. They can prevent further damage and extend the life of your carpeted floors.

Most manufacturers even recommend professional cleanings every 12-18 months to maintain warranty coverage. So, if you’re facing a smudge that won’t budge or it’s been a while since you last cleaned, don’t hesitate to hire the pros.


Dealing with stained carpeting may seem daunting, but with the right techniques and a bit of patience, you can keep your floor covers looking their best. Remember to act quickly, identify the stain type, and use the appropriate cleaning method. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to tackle any spots and spills life throws your way!