How To Remove 19+ Stains From Carpets

There exist many different stains that can make their way to your carpets. Each stain has its own unique properties that require special attention if you want to get it out of the carpet correctly.

What we want to do is list off as many stains that can affect your carpets and some of the best ways we have found to get those stains out.

Many of the stains that you do come across in your home can be easily fixed with a proper carpet cleaner like this one here. If a Carpet Cleaner is not an option, then we have many solutions below that can help.

Universal Tips

Many of these stains listed below share universal tips that we want to discuss.

  • Time is a factor for any stain. Grab a towel or rag and absorb as much of the spilled materials as you can. The quicker you act, the better your chances of getting the stain out.
  • Never use a scrub brush on carpets, only blot, dab, or gently brush with a rag. A scrub brush can damage the fibers of the rug. Usually, if you get to the point of considering using a scrub brush then the cleaner is not working, and you need to use a different cleaner.
  • Always test cleaners on carpets in small inconspicuous areas. Some cleaners can damage or discolor some carpets so you must be careful.

Types Of Cleaners

There are many different types of cleaners we talk about in this post, and we want to talk about each before we show you how to clean stains below.

Enzyme Cleaner – This cleaner is perfect for any organic messes such as urine, poop, milk, blood, or anything that can come out of a living thing. Here is where you can get an Enzyme Cleaner.

Carpet Cleaner – This is a cleaner made just for carpets. Most often used in Carpet Cleaning machines but they do make spray bottle ones. This is more of your general purpose cleaner for when it comes to carpets; it’s usually your good first step.We will always recommend using a good carpet cleaner, but we realize that many people won’t have one laying around when a stain happens. So in this post, we talk about what other cleaners you can use instead.

Vinegar – Everyone loves to recommend vinegar for everything – But I don’t. While vinegar is great at killing germs and being an all natural cleaner, it should only be used for “light” messes. What I find most often is that someone will use vinegar to clean something like vomit and a day later the spot where the stain is will start to smell like vomit+vinegar. The vinegar will kill the germs but not the odor or the stain and thus the reason why I’m not a fan of it.

Baking Soda – Baking soda is the other item along with vinegar that everyone loves to recommend to clean with. Many recommend cleaning with both vinegar and baking soda because they make a chemical reaction that looks like cleaning, but the fact is that when those two are combined all you really get is salty water. Salty water is not a good cleaning agent. One thing baking soda does well is absorbed odors, but people will recommend vacuuming up the baking soda. Vacuuming baking soda can be bad for vacuum cleaners, and we talk about that here.

Rubbing Alcohol – This can be a great cleaner for oil, crayons, mold, and sticky items that get on your carpet. Also, works better than vinegar if you ask me because it lifts up the dirt, kills germs, and evaporates quickly which takes the stain odors with it. The problem is that some carpets don’t like it and using it too much too often on the same spot can be damaging to fibers as they dry out – much like hair. Also, it’s important to be careful as it is flammable.

Dish Detergent – Works well for many food type messes. Should be used with a majority of water and a little bit of dish soap. We prefer to use Dawn as you don’t need a lot of it to be effective. You should test inconspicuous areas of the carpet before using it to make sure it doesn’t discolor the carpet. Make sure the dish detergent is bleach free too!

Laundry Detergent – Works well for the clothing type of stains like grass stains and mustard/ketchup stains. It’s best to use the white powdered type of detergent that does not have any bleach in it.

Stains And How To Remove Them…

Milk

To remove milk from your carpets, you’ll want first to grab a clean towel and blot the area to absorb as much milk as possible. Avoid scrubbing as this can do more harm than good. Feel free to stand on the towel when you blot the stain to get even more of the milk on to the towel.

Grab two cups of warm water with a few drops of Dawn dish soap (non-bleach). Use a clean towel to blot and lightly scrub the area. This will get most of the milk out of the carpet.

To make sure to get out all the stains from the carpet use an enzyme cleaner and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. After that wipe away the enzyme cleaner. If the enzyme cleaner does not wipe away or dries quickly, then use vinegar to clean up the enzyme cleaner.

Paint

If the paint is still wet then quickly blot the area with a paper towel and get as much as you can up.

For small paint messes, you can use rubbing alcohol, straight from the bottle. Pour a little bit of rubbing alcohol onto the paint stain and rub it in with your hands or a clean rag. After a few wipes, you’ll start to see the paint stain start to go away.

For bigger messes, you should try Goo Gone Painter’s Pal.

Coffee

Blot as much of the coffee up with a towel.

Using 2 cups of warm water with a few drops of dish detergent, dip a clean rag in to fully saturate it. Grab a spray bottle with warm water and get the coffee stain on the carpet wet. Clean the area with the rag that has the warm water and dish detergent in it. The stain should start to lift up, but depending on what you put in your coffee it might need the Iron method, here is a video on that here.

If you have put cream in your coffee, then I would recommend an Enzyme Cleaner as we mention at the top. With the enzyme cleaner spray the stain down and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes wipe the cleaner away, if it does not wipe away then use vinegar to clean it up.

Bleach

Blot as much of the bleach into a WHITE towel. You need to get as much of the bleach up as possible before it dries.

To be honest, a bleach stain is almost impossible to get up. What you want to do is get as much of it up as possible. The good news is that there is a trick that requires the use of a crayon, here is a video on that here…

Water

To get water out of the carpet is not that big of a deal. If it’s a small stain of water then it will dry on its own. But some minerals get added to water, and that can stain the carpets. Of course, you’ll want to absorb as much of the water as you can with a towel.

When you have gotten as much water up as possible, I like to use 2 cups of warm water with a few drops of dish detergent to clean the area. You could also use a rag with rubbing alcohol on it to clean up the area and also stop mold growth from happening. The great thing about the rubbing alcohol when mixed with the water will allow it to dry quicker because rubbing alcohol dries itself quickly.

If it’s a big water mess, then you’ll need to get a shop vacuum to suck up as much water as possible. If it’s a huge mess, then you’ll need to call a professional (Example: flooding).

Beer

With a cool wet towel, you’ll want to blot the area of the beer stain. Try to get up as much of the beer as possible. After a few blots with the wet towel go over and re-saturate the towel with fresh water and ring it out so you can repeat the process a couple more times.

To clean the area, you’ll need 2 cups of water and a few drops of dish detergent mixed together. Spray the area where the beer stain is with the cleaner and it clean with a fresh towel. With a shop vacuum suck up as much of the cleaner as possible to avoid smells from coming back.

I’ve had great luck with enzyme cleaners as we mention at the top of this post for some beer stains. Just spray it on and let it sit for 15 minutes and wipe the cleaner away with a paper towel. This works great if you want to keep the smell of beer from coming back the next day.

Wax or Gum

Most home cleaners will not work for removing wax or gum from carpets. The good news is that you can buy Candle Wax Remover like this here to get the wax or gum out of your carpets or floors.

There is also another method for wax removal that involves an iron, paper bag, and a rag. Here is the video showing you how to do that here…

Wine

Blot as much of the wine stain as you can with a clean towel. The more pressure you can place on it the better.

Next, you want to spray some cool water onto the stain and blot some more. This will loosen up more of the wine stains and allow them to be transferred to the rag when you blot them.

Grab some baking soda and make a paste with it using water. Some people have had good luck with using hydrogen peroxide, but be careful as it could stain some carpets. To make the paste just make a ratio of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Place the paste onto the carpet wine stain and let it sit for a good bit of time. With a rag clean up as much of the paste as you can with a wet towel and then vacuum the spot clean.

Ink & Markers

Since there are so many types of inks and Coit did a great job explaining how to get rid of each, here is a link to their post on how to get rid of ink stains from carpets. 

Blood, Urine, and Poop

The best thing to use for Blood, Urine, and Poop is an Enzyme Cleaner like this one here. Try to get up as much of the stain as possible with paper towels before cleaning with the enzyme cleaner.

Spray the enzyme cleaner on the stain on the carpet and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wipe clean with a paper towel after letting it sit.

Nail Polish

Here is a great video showing the best way to get nail polish out of carpets…

Chocolate

Try to get up as much of the chocolate as possible. If you need to use a butter knife to scrape some of the chocolate off of the carpet then do so.

Take 2 cups of warm water with a few drops of dish detergent for a cleaner. Soak a clean white rag in the cleaning solution and lightly scrub the chocolate stain.

If the chocolate stain has not lifted up then re-soak the rag in the solution and grab a clothes iron. Fold the rag in half and place it over the chocolate stain. Then place the iron on the rag and leave it there for 10 seconds. The chocolate should start to lift off of the carpet and onto the rag. Never place the iron on the rag unless the rag is wet.

Grass

The great thing about grass stains is that many of the laundry detergent manufacturers have figured out how to get it out of fabrics.

I like to make a paste of water with some laundry detergent, the best detergent to use is the white powdered kind. Place the paste or soak a rag in the solution and blot the area. You should only use white rags when cleaning this type of stain as they will be easier to clean afterward.

You should start to see the grass stains being lifted after a few blots with the laundry detergent and water mix. If you want you can place some of the powdered laundry detergents down on the stain and then scrub some more if the grass stain is not coming out.

Avoid any detergents with bleach in them.

You can also use Enzyme Cleaners as we mention at the beginning of this post to clean grass stains.

Mustard Or Ketchup

Just like how we cleaned the grass stains above, many of the laundry detergent makers have figured out how to get these stains out of clothes which should work for carpets too.

Use a butter knife or something to scoop up the mustard or ketchup, never wipe it as it can spread the mess. Use a paper towel to blot the area and to soak up as much of the mess as possible.

Then make a solution of water with laundry detergent, the white powdered kind is the best to use, and soak a white rag in it. Ring out the rag and blot the area. If you need place some of the white powdered detergent on the stain while you blot with the rag. Vacuum up any powder that is left.

Rust

The simplest solution I’ve found for getting rust stains out of carpets is with Whink Rust Stain Remover. Just make sure to follow the directions before using it.

Soda

Try to absorb as much of the soda with a paper towel or rag. Make sure to blot the stain, never wipe the stain. When you have absorbed as much of the soda as you possibly can then you need to make a cleaner.

Using 2 cups of warm water and a couple of drops of liquid dish detergent soak a rag in the mix. Make sure to wring out the rag. Blot the area with the damp rag with the cleaning solution you have made. It’s best to use a white rag with no-color dish soap if you can.

If you have any trouble getting the stain up then grab some white powdered laundry detergent and sprinkle a little bit on the stain. Blot the area with a wet rag. The reason why laundry detergent and dish detergent work so well is that they’ve been made to handle food type messes like soda.

Vinegar

Many people will try to clean a stain with vinegar and will find that it doesn’t work that well for most stains. The biggest problem with vinegar, when used to clean stains, is that now the stain will smell like vinegar plus whatever the stain was. The good news is that we have a solution to get vinegar stains out of your carpet.

The biggest reason why you smell vinegar is that it has not dried yet, and the best way to get rid of an acid is with a base. Just sprinkle some baking soda on the area and let it sit overnight. You should see some bubbles when you sprinkle it on. To be even more efficient make a paste of baking soda with 1 part water to 3 parts baking soda. Blot the baking soda paste into the carpet and let that sit overnight so that it dries out and vacuum it up.

Oil

Cooking oil can be odd to get out of carpets. The best thing to do is suck up as much as possible onto a paper towel.

Place rubbing alcohol onto a white rag and blot some more, never wipe carpet stains as this can make it worse.

If the oil stain has not come up yet then get 2 cups of water and add a couple of drops of dish detergent (non-bleach kind). Soak a rag in the detergent water mix and blot the stain with that. The dish detergent will get out most, if not all, oil type stains as its a degreaser.

Butter

Scoop up the butter onto a rag. You want to blot the area with a wet clean rag to get up as much of the butter as possible.

With 2 cups of water and a few drops of dish detergent saturate your clean rag with this cleaner and blot the butter stained area. Never wipe only blot the area as wiping can make the mess worse.

Dish Soap

If you have spilled dish soap on your carpets, then the best thing to do is try to absorb as much of it as possible onto a paper towel. Blot the area with a paper towel, never scrub as this can make it worse.

Grab some white distilled vinegar and spray it onto a white rag. Blot the area with a white rag, and the detergent will start to get lifted. The vinegar will help to neutralize the detergent, but the good news is that the spilled area should be really clean now.

You could also try to dilute the area with a rag with only water on it. Keep repeating with fresh new water every few blots or until the dish soap is gone. I would still recommend blotting with vinegar to neutralize the detergent even more.