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Remove Stubborn Stains From Carpets And Rugs

March 3, 2024
Remove Stubborn Stains From Carpets And Rugs


Carpets and rugs can easily get stained from spills, pets, kids, and everyday wear and tear. Some stains seem impossible to remove. However, with the right techniques and products, you can get your carpets and rugs looking like new again. Here is an in-depth guide on how to remove even the most stubborn stains from carpets and rugs.

Act Quickly When Stains Occur

The faster you can treat a stain, the easier it will be to remove. When a spill first happens:

  • Blot the stain with a clean, white cloth or paper towels. Don’t rub, as this can spread the stain and drive it deeper into the fibers.
  • Scoop up any solid debris. For sticky spills, use a spoon or dull knife.
  • Sprinkle on a little baking soda or cornstarch. Let sit for a few minutes to absorb moisture and grease.
  • Vacuum up the powder once it has absorbed the spill.

Acting quickly prevents stains from setting and makes removal much simpler.

Know What Kind of Stain It Is

To remove stains effectively, you need to identify what caused it. Common stain culprits include:

  • Food and drinks – Coffee, wine, juice, grease, oil, chocolate, etc.
  • Pets – Urine, feces, vomit
  • Outdoor dirt and grime – Mud, grass, grease
  • Kids and personal care – Crayons, makeup, ink, blood

Knowing the origin of the stain will help you choose the best removal method.

Use a Carpet Cleaner Solution

For most stains, a good first line of defense is a commercial carpet cleaner solution. Check the bottle to make sure it works on your type of stain and carpet material.

To use:

  1. Apply a small amount directly to the stain.
  2. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Blot with clean cloths until the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Rinse with water and blot dry.
  5. Repeat as needed.

Look for cleaners that contain enzymes and detergents to break down stains and lift them from the carpet.

Try Homemade Cleaning Solutions

For tough stains, you can try DIY cleaning solutions before resorting to harsher chemical treatments. Some options include:

  • Vinegar – Equal parts white vinegar and water helps cuts grease and freshens.
  • Ammonia – A diluted ammonia solution tackles old or set-in stains. Never mix with bleach!
  • Hydrogen peroxide – The bubbling loosens stains. Use a 3% solution.
  • Dish soap – A mild detergent like Dawn mixed with water can lift some dirt.

Test homemade cleaners on a small, hidden area first to ensure they don’t discolor the carpet.

Use a Steam Cleaner

A steam cleaner uses hot, pressurized steam to lift stains and disinfect carpets. The heat and moisture breaks down stubborn substances.

Benefits of steam cleaning:

  • Sanitizes carpets by killing bacteria, dust mites, etc.
  • Lifts stains rather than rubbing them in like shampooing may do.
  • Uses only water, so no chemical residues.
  • Safe for kids and pets once carpet dries.

Renting a steam cleaner from a grocery or hardware store is an affordable way to deep clean carpets.

Call in a Professional Carpet Cleaner

For old, set-in stains or stains covering a large area, call a professional carpet cleaning service. They have industrial-strength cleaners and truck-mounted steam cleaners to sanitize carpets and lift stubborn stains.

Professional carpet cleaners can treat:

  • Pet urine and feces stains
  • Red wine or coffee stains
  • Mold or mildew
  • Heavy grease stains
  • Years of built-up dirt

Look for a company that offers stain treatment guarantees in case the stain returns. This ensures they stand behind their service.

Replace Heavily Stained Sections

In extreme cases of staining or water damage, it may be impossible to salvage the carpet. Replacing just the affected sections can make the carpet look new again.

Options for replacing stained sections include:

  • Use leftover carpet from the original install if available.
  • Purchase carpet remnants that closely match the existing carpet at home improvement stores.
  • Hire a pro to remove the stained section and seamlessly install a replacement piece.

Spot replacement is often cheaper than replacing an entire carpet.

Prevent Future Stains

While it’s impossible to keep carpets pristine forever, you can take steps to minimize stains:

  • Clean up spills immediately as they occur.
  • Keep high-traffic areas clean.
  • Vacuum frequently using a vacuum with strong suction.
  • Professionally clean carpets once a year.
  • Use carpet protector/treatment liquids to repel stains.
  • Keep kids and pets off carpets until house trained.

With proper daily care and cleaning, you can keep your carpets looking fresher longer.


Even the worst stains don’t have to be permanent disasters. Using the right techniques and products, you can erase stains and restore dingy carpets. Act quickly when stains occur, identify the stain, and use an appropriate removal method. With some elbow grease and patience, you can make stains disappear from your carpets and rugs.

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