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How to Remove Really Bad Carpet Stains

There’s nothing worse than a large, dark and penetrating stain to spoil a plush, new carpet. But for a lived-in and lively home, carpet stains are practically inevitable.

Things You Will Need

  • White cloth
  • Detergent solution
  • Vinegar solution
  • Lukewarm water

There’s nothing worse than a large, dark and penetrating stain to spoil a plush, new carpet.  But for a lived-in and lively home, carpet stains are practically inevitable. Whether it’s a house full of kids, an errant guest, a clumsy husband or a night with the girls painting toenails, at some point, your carpet will suffer a bad stain.  So if your carpet is currently a blotchy mess, don’t despair. There are several homemade, simple remedies that can restore your carpet to its best. 

  1. Wet a clean, white cloth thoroughly in a solution of detergent and water. For synthetic fiber carpets, mix 1/4 tsp. clear liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 cup lukewarm water. For natural fiber carpets, mix 1 tsp. clear liquid dishwashing detergent and 1 cup lukewarm water.
  2. Dab the stain repeatedly with the cloth. Then press the cloth into the stain and hold for several seconds.
  3. Allow the detergent solution to penetrate the stain for about 15 minutes.
  4. Rinse off the white cloth (or retrieve a new, clean cloth) and wet thoroughly in a solution of vinegar and water. For synthetic fiber carpets, mix 1 cup white vinegar and 2 cups water. For natural fiber carpets, mix 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup water.
  5. Dab the stain repeatedly with the cloth. Then press the cloth into the stain and hold for several seconds.
  6. Allow the vinegar solution to penetrate the stain for about 15 minutes.
  7. Place a stack of clean, white paper towels (with no ink) over the stain, and cover with a glass Pyrex dish. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. This will help draw the stain out of the carpet.
  8. Rinse off the white cloth (or retrieve a new, clean cloth) and dampen in lukewarm water.
  9. Blot the stain with the cloth to rinse the area.
  10. Allow the carpet to dry completely. Repeat steps if necessary.
  11. Tip

    This remedy is ideal for ketchup, chocolate, coffee, tea, wine, milk, juice and soda stains. If the stain does not come up in the first attempt, an ammonia solution (one tablespoon clear household ammonia and 1/2 cup lukewarm water) can be substituted for the vinegar, which may achieve the desired results. Dirt and mud stains can also be cleaned with detergent, vinegar and lukewarm water as described above. But be sure to vacuum the area first to remove loose soil. For oil and grease stains, such as butter, cooking oil, crayons, face creams, body lotion, makeup and nail polish, repeat the steps above with detergent and lukewarm water. Vinegar should not be used on oil and grease. Another effective cleaning solution is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Simply pour the alcohol (90 percent concentration is ideal) on a white cloth and blot the stain, without rubbing. This can be a simple, effective solution for bad carpet stains.

Things You Will Need

  • White cloth
  • Detergent solution
  • Vinegar solution
  • Lukewarm water

Tips

  • This remedy is ideal for ketchup, chocolate, coffee, tea, wine, milk, juice and soda stains. If the stain does not come up in the first attempt, an ammonia solution (one tablespoon clear household ammonia and 1/2 cup lukewarm water) can be substituted for the vinegar, which may achieve the desired results. Dirt and mud stains can also be cleaned with detergent, vinegar and lukewarm water as described above. But be sure to vacuum the area first to remove loose soil.
  • For oil and grease stains, such as butter, cooking oil, crayons, face creams, body lotion, makeup and nail polish, repeat the steps above with detergent and lukewarm water. Vinegar should not be used on oil and grease.
  • Another effective cleaning solution is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Simply pour the alcohol (90 percent concentration is ideal) on a white cloth and blot the stain, without rubbing. This can be a simple, effective solution for bad carpet stains.

About the Author

Robyn Murray is a journalist based in Omaha, Neb. She has reported for national and international media including National Public Radio, Public Radio International and Business Day in Johannesburg. Murray holds a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.