How to Get Stains Out of Carpet

A good quality carpet could last for many years with proper care and maintenance. Learn how to remove stains from wine, nail polish, coffee and more.

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November 12, 2021
wine stain on carpet

Red spot from leaked fallen wine glass

Photo by: Shutterstock


Getting stains on clean carpet is practically inevitable, no matter how careful you may be. Stains from pet accidents, spilled coffee and wine, overturned nail polish or even from a leaky pen can be upsetting. But don't fret, it's possible to get stains out of carpet with a little patience and the right technique.

The first thing to know about stains is that the longer they sit, the more difficult they are to remove. But there are different methods for different types of stains. Commit the following steps on carpet stain removal to memory and you'll be ready the next time an accident happens.

Note: Always test each method on a scrap of carpet or in a far corner of a closet to make sure it won't harm the carpet.

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How to Remove Carpet Stains
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How to Remove Food and Drink Stains From Carpet

  1. Start by scooping up what you can into a paper towel using a blunt instrument like a spoon. (If the spill includes an excess amount of liquid, a dry/wet vacuum should be employed.)

  2. Then use a clean, white absorbent cloth or paper towel to blot — never rub — with warm water. Press down firmly to remove as much moisture as possible. Repeat until no stain appears on the cloth.

  3. If the stain is stubborn and won't come out, make a solution of one quart of warm water and one teaspoon of mild non-bleach laundry detergent (the liquid kind). Don't use dishwasher detergent. Apply this solution to the stain, let it sit for about five minutes and blot up excess moisture.

  4. Rinse with warm water and again remove the moisture by blotting. Repeat until there's no more detergent in the carpet. This is important because any residual detergent may cause soiling.
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How to Get Red Wine Out of Carpet

Even scary red wine stains can be removed using a simple cleaning solution made with readily available items around the home.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove Wine Stains From Carpet

We've all been there — you've tipped over or splashed a glass of vino on the carpet and are left with a scary-looking stain. With just a few common household items, the stain will be gone in no time.

  1. Blot — never rub — the stain using a towel, rag or paper towel to get as much of the wine up as possible.

  2. Mix a solution of 1 cup hydrogen peroxide and a 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, apply it to the stain and let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes. Then use a towel to absorb the solution and wine.

  3. If needed, repeat the above with a wet/dry vacuum.
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How to Remove Pet Stains From Carpet

Your precious pet is going to have accidents. It's inevitable. Knowing how to get pet stains out of carpet is a skill every dog and cat owner should have.

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How to Remove Pet Stains From Carpet

Urine or vomit on carpet can be a pet owner's worst nightmare. Here's how you can clean some of the most common pet messes without too much stress.

  1. Always scoop and blot. Here again, most stains clean up with warm water.

  2. Next, mix a detergent solution of one quart of warm water and one teaspoon of mild non-bleach laundry detergent (the liquid kind). No dishwasher detergent. Apply this solution to the stain, let it sit for about five minutes and then blot up excess moisture.

  3. After all the detergent is removed, apply a solution of two tablespoons of white vinegar to one quart of water. This will neutralize the odor.

  4. Blot up all excess moisture as mold can easily grow under damp carpet. To be sure all the moisture is removed, place a clean, white, absorbent towel on the spot and place some type of weight on the towel.

  5. Let the towel sit for about 30 minutes. Repeat the process with another dry towel if necessary.

  6. When the carpet is completely dry, vacuum or brush the pile to remove any dents the weight has made in that spot.
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How to Get Nail Polish Out of Carpet

Don't panic if you spill nail polish on carpet. Remember the rule of thumb (pun intended): Blot, never rub. Here are the steps to making the spill go away.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Fingernail Polish Out of Carpet

Before panic sets in, check out these tips that’ll save the day when someone (obviously not you) accidentally spills nail polish on the carpet.

  1. Soak a cotton ball with non-acetone nail polish remover and use it to lightly dab at the nail polish spill while it’s still wet.

  2. Alternate dabbing the stain with the cotton ball and a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb the remover and the loosening stain. Never saturate the fibers completely with the nail polish remover; only apply enough to dampen the spot, repeatedly dabbing with fresh cotton balls and clean cloths until the stain has lifted.

If the stain has already dried, use the nail polish remover as a pre-treating solution to wet the stain and then supplement with hairspray or dry cleaning solvents to provide extra cleaning power.

Never use acetone remover for cleaning nail polish off carpet that contains acetate, triacetate or modacrylic. If you don’t know what your carpet is made from, don’t risk it. Acetone can be harmful and cause more damage, including deterioration.

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How to Get Coffee Stains Out of Carpet

There's no use crying over spilled coffee. Coffee stains can be removed from carpet with a few available household items.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove Coffee Stains From Carpet

With just a few household items and our simple tips and tricks, that daunting coffee stain will be no more.

  1. Blot as much of the coffee up as possible using a towel, rag or paper towel. Don't rub the carpet. Work from the outside to the middle so the liquid doesn't spread.

  2. Mix a solution of 1 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 teaspoon dish soap, then dab the stain with the solution.

  3. Allow the solution to sit on the stain for 5-10 minutes, then use a clean towel or paper towel to absorb both the coffee and cleaning solution.

  4. If the stain isn't removed, repeat the process, allowing the solution to sit longer. Then use your wet/dry vacuum to remove all the liquid.
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How to Get Ink Out of Carpet

We've all had an accident with a leaky ink pen. Ink stains can be tough to remove from carpet because they contain pigments, dyes and lubricants. So, act quickly after an ink pen mishap on your carpet and then follow these steps to get rid of the stain.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove an Ink Stain From Carpet

Removing an ink stain isn't such an easy task because of its chemical properties. But with a little patience and persistence, the stain will be gone before your eyes.

  1. Blot a fresh spill and be careful not to press the ink deeper into the carpet.

  2. Soak the stain with denatured alcohol for at least five minutes. Apply enough alcohol to cover the stain and so it soaks down into the carpet about half an inch but not so deep that it gets into the padding under the carpet.

  3. Use an old toothbrush to massage the alcohol into any tough-to-reach fibers.

  4. For a stain that persists, add additional alcohol and let sit for 5 minutes before vacuuming it up with a wet/dry vacuum.
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How to Get Grease Out of Carpet

Don't let grease stains intimidate you. They can be beaten — by baking soda. Baking soda will also eliminate any odors associated with grease.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove a Grease Stain

Grease stains can be frustrating and intimidating. But with our four simple steps, you can say goodbye to those once ugly stains and hello to fresh, like-new carpet.

  1. Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the grease stain, using a spoon to work the baking soda deep into the carpet fibers.

  2. Allow the baking soda to sit on the carpet for a few minutes. Then, using the dry setting on your wet/dry vacuum, vacuum the baking soda from the carpet.

  3. Repeat as necessary until the liquid grease has been absorbed.

How to Repair and Patch Damaged Carpet

Got a stain in your carpeting that can’t be removed by cleaning? Learn how to cut away the damaged area and install a seamless patch.

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