How to Remove Black Stains From Carpet

Carpet stains can be the bane of any house cleaner, but black stains are far and away the worst offenders. They're starkly visible on almost every carpet, and some never even fade. Fortunately, if you act immediately, there are steps you can take to remove them (or at least lighten them substantially). Methods of removal will vary slightly depending on what made the stain, but the first few steps to remove the majority of spilled substances are universal.

An example of an ink stain
  1. Blot the stain with your towels. Do not rub yet, as you could spread the stain. Continue blotting until your towels come away clean.

  2. Spray warm water from the squirt bottle onto the stain. This is a good method to keep from over-moistening the area. You want to avoid getting the carpet padding underneath wet, as that could lead to mildew.

  3. Rub the stain gently in one direction with a sponge or washcloth. Do not rub too hard or scrub back and forth, as this could damage the carpet fibers or work the stain deeper into the carpet. Continue rubbing gently until the stain has been lifted from the carpet. If this does not work, go to step 4. If the stain is removed, move on to step 5.

  4. Mix one of the listed optional cleaning agents (vinegar, rubbing alcohol, detergent, or ammonia) with the water in your squirt bottle. The additive will depend on the type of stain. Use the vinegar (equal parts water and vinegar) or ammonia (1 tsp. to 1/2 c. water) solutions on water-based stains such as graphite, felt-tip pen marks or latex paint. The detergent solution (1/4 tsp. to 1 qt. water) is excellent for greasy stains, such as ink, makeup, dye or nail polish. Spray on the stain and rub gently as you did in step 3. Rubbing alcohol can be helpful on greasy stains if the detergent solution does not quite do the trick. It can be applied on its own, but apply the alcohol with the washrag rather than directly to the carpet as you will not need much. Rinse off any cleaner you use and blot with water.

  5. Dry the carpet by blotting with paper towels, and continue blotting until all the moisture is removed.