How to Remove Common (and Tough) Carpet Stains

Carpet provides softness underfoot and warmth, but it can also cause stains. Even homes without pets or children are susceptible to spills or smudges that can quickly seep into the fibers, and cause a stain. Carpet stains can seem daunting but it is possible to remove them with the right techniques and cleaning products. The process of removing carpet stains is the same regardless of the type of spillage. The basic steps for rug stain removal are simple. Follow these three steps. You can also find specific ways to remove common stains such as chocolate, coffee and dirt. These expert tips will make your carpet look like new again without professional carpet cleaning.

How to get stains out of carpet

You tried so hard to remind everyone to take off their shoes and to avoid bringing food into your carpeted areas. Then it happened: the Thanksgiving coffee spillage or the flying gravy boat. Be aware that water is the best solution for carpet cleaning. Use a slightly damp, clean white cloth to blot the stain.

If water alone is not enough, you can try a carpet stain removal product or DIY solution. The most effective carpet stain remover depends on the cause of the stain. These three steps will help you to remove carpet stains.

Step 1: Get rid of excess as soon as possible.

To ensure that your spillage doesn’t become a permanent stain, scrape any solids off the surface with a butter knife or spoon. To prevent the stain from spreading, gently blot off excess liquid using a white absorbent cloth. Start at the outer edge and work your way toward the center.  Continue this process until the cloth stops picking up any color.

Step 2: Use a carpet stain removal product.

Use a carpet stain remover to clean any remaining stains. Follow the manufacturer’s directions. A vinegar solution can be used to clean your carpet. Make a homemade carpet stain-remover by mixing 1 tablespoon of mild dishwashing detergent in 1 quart warm water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar to the mixture and then apply to the carpet stain. You should not over-wet your carpet stain. This can cause damage to the backing. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Editor’s tip: Before applying carpet stain remover, always test for color fastness in an inconspicuous area.

Step 3: Blot the stain.

Use a white absorbent, clean cloth to blot the stain from the outside. Continue this process until the stain is gone. Use cold water to blot dry the stain. To dry the area thoroughly, cover it with a layer of paper towels or cloth about 1/2 inch thick. You can weigh them with a heavy object, and then you can change the paper towels until they dry completely.

How to Get Stains Out of Carpet

These are some common carpet stains.


Warm water is not recommended for carpet stain removal. Use club soda or cold water to clean the stain. Then, use a clean cloth to wipe it off. Continue this process until the stain disappears.

Candle wax

Rub an ice pack onto the candle wax to remove it from carpet. Then, gently break up the wax and vacuum it up. Use a carpet cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions or a dampened white cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol. Blot the area.


To remove chocolate stains from carpets, you can use a dull knife. To harden any chocolate stains that have melted, place a plastic bag with ice cubes in a sealable container over them. To remove any flakes or small pieces, vacuum the area. Use 1/4 teaspoon of liquid soap to mix 1 cup of warm, water. Apply the solution to the stain using a clean, dry cloth, starting from the edges. Allow the solution to sit for five minutes before blotting the area until it is completely dry.

Tea or coffee

Melissa Maker, a carpet cleaning expert, recommends using 2 tablespoons hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon dish soap to remove coffee or tea stains from carpet. First, clean up the spillage. Then apply the solution. Allow the solution to sit for a while before you begin working with your fingers. Repeat the process until the stain disappears.


Before treating carpets with dirt or mud, let them air dry completely. Then, vacuum as much of the residue as you can. Use a mild dishwashing detergent, warm water, or white vinegar solution to clean the stain. Allow the solution to sit for 10 minutes on the stain before wiping it off with a white cloth or paper towel.

Fat-based stains (butter and margarine, gravy etc.)

Baking soda can be used to clean fatty stains from carpets. Let the stain sit for six hours before you sprinkle it with baking soda. Vacuum the area and then use a moistened cloth with rubbing alcohol to blot it. You can also use a dry-solvent spot cleaner ($17, Lowe’s), following the label instructions.


As much gum as possible should be removed. Place the gum in a plastic bag with ice cubes and seal it. Use a knife or spoon to chip the gum. Follow the label instructions to vacuum and clean any lingering stains with a dry-solvent cleaner.


You can remove urine stains from carpet by wiping it clean. Follow the manufacturer’s directions and apply an enzyme cleaner ($9 Target). This carpet cleaning product uses enzymes that remove both stain and odor.

Wine or juice

You can clean up any spillage of red wine, white wine or grape juice by spraying club soda. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the stain off. Continue to do this until you are satisfied.