The Best Stain Removers for Carpet

The most important aspect of carpet stain removal is to catch it when it's fresh.

Acidic Stains

Many set-in stains cannot be completely removed but do lighten with the use of noncaustic products found around your home. Chemical cleaners should be a last resort; they are dangerous to use around people and pets and often damage carpets beyond repair. .

Neutralize acidic spills and stains with a tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a quart of warm water. Apply the mixture with a sponge and blot area with a cloth. Do not rub the area; this may damage carpet fibers. Rinse the area with water and use a shop vac to extract excess liquid. Set a fan to blow on the area so it dries quickly; this is a trick that prevents deeper stains from coming to the surface of the carpet.


Remove dried blood stains with cold water or club soda and a cloth to blot up as much of the stain as possible. Hot water sets blood in, making it permanent. Immediately extract excess moisture to avoid spreading the stain. Add a few drops of dish detergent to a cup of cold water. With a cloth, work the mixture into the carpet gently. Rinse the area with water and repeat the process until the stain is no longer visible.

Ink and Dye

Ink or dye stains disappear with 90 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Apply alcohol to a clean cloth and dab the stain carefully. When no more color is transferred to the cloth, rinse the area with cold water and extract excess. If you do not have a shop vac, place a stack of paper towels on top of the area and set a heavy object on top.

Food Coloring

Food coloring is difficult to remove from carpet; especially red, found in beverages, candy and other foods. Usual stain-removal methods will not work. Instead, mix five drops of plain dish-washing soap with 2 cups of warm water. Place a clean, white cotton cloth in the liquid and wring out excess moisture. Lay the cloth over the stain and place an iron, set to low, on top for 15 minutes. Repeat the process with a clean part of the cloth or a new cloth each time. Do not press on the iron or move it around.


For set-in urine stains, mix ΒΌ tsp. with 1 cup of warm water, spray it onto the area and blot with a clean cloth. Extract or soak up excess liquid and repeat until the stain is removed. To remove odor, combine 2 tbsp. ammonia with a cup of water and pour it on the area, extract the excess liquid with a shop vac. Next, mix 1 cup white vinegar with 2 cups water, extract excess, rinse the area with plain water, extract excess once again and dry the area with a fan.

Other Stains

Remove coffee stains with a hot, wet cloth and white vinegar.

Use white wine to remove red wine stains.

Remove candle wax from carpets by placing a brown paper bag over the wax and an iron, set on low, on top. The wax liquefies and adheres to the paper bag. Use rubbing alcohol to remove color left behind from the wax.