The Most Common Carpet Stains and How to Remove Them at Home!

Last update: 2 years ago

How to clean common carpet stains by yourself.
Syda Productions /

Soft and clean carpets are very nice – they are cosy, inviting, and they make us enjoy our time at home a little more.

But with our hectic lives, filled with responsibilities and work, we often neglect the importance of keeping our carpets clean, which makes them lose their appeal over time. Rugs and carpets which are covered with coffee, grease or urine stains can be off-putting at best. They turn your carpet from a blissful place to step on into a smelly mess you want to get rid of.

Before you make the costly decision to buy a new carpet, take a look at these clever carpet stain removal techniques that may reverse the damage.

This guide will lay out all the most common types of dirt and will provide information on tools, supplies and techniques you can use to remove unsightly carpet stains and unpleasant smells. You will also learn how to care for your carpet immediately after the staining occurs to minimize the damage.

Carpet stains caused by foods and beverages

Food is essential to life, and it’s a lot of fun to eat it. This is why it’s so tragic when food or our favourite beverage spills on our carpet and destroys it.

Food stains are the most common carpet stains, and it’s crucial to act fast if you want to remove them completely and avoid permanent staining because the longer the oily and sugary substances stay on your carpet, the more they soak into the fabric and the carpet padding.

Grease stains

What you will need:

  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Soft bristled brush
  • Clean cloth

Cooking grease and butter stains are tough on the fabric. Once they spill, they instantly seep into the carpet and make our lives hard while we try to remove them.

Fortunately, oily stains respond well to several substances, which won’t damage the carpet.

Step 1: First, you need to gently scrape the excess, using a knife or blot it with a paper towel without pressing.

Step 2: Then you have to absorb the moisture, spreading some baking soda or cornstarch over the stain will do that. Leave it for about 15 minutes, then vacuum the spot thoroughly.

Step 3: If the stain is still visible, then you’ll have to break up the grease with some warm water and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Pour the mixture over the carpet stain, leave for a while, then gently brush it using back and forth motion, and blot the spot with a clean cloth.

Tip: In case of very stubborn grease stains, you can also try rubbing them with an alcohol solution, just make sure your carpet can handle it by testing it on an inconspicuous part of the fabric.

Chocolate stains

What you will need:

  • Paper towels
  • ½ tbsp household ammonia
  • 1 tbsp dishwashing liquid
  • 1 cup cold water
  • A lint-free cloth
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide solution

To keep the chocolate from saturating the fabric, it’s best to turn the carpet upside down and work from the back. This way, you will be pushing the chocolate away from the padding instead of smearing it all over it

Important: Never wash chocolate and candy stains using hot water, because just like tomato stains, the heat can set the sticky stains into the fabric permanently.

Step 1: Place some paper towels on the floor and put the carpet (stain side down) on them.

Step 2: Then mix the dishwashing liquid with the ammonia and the water and stir well.

Step 3: Get the cloth, dab it into the solution and start gently blotting the stain from the back. The goal is to transfer the chocolate into the paper towel using the solution.

Step 4: If the ammonia solution doesn’t work, you can try pouring some hydrogen peroxide on the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse the area thoroughly. Have in mind, that hydrogen peroxide can dissolve dye from dark fabrics, so be careful.

Vegetable and grass stains

What you will need:

  • What you will need:
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Clean cloth
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar

Step 1: Vacuum the carpet as much as possible to remove the leftover grass or soil. In case of stains caused by vegetables, blot the excess moisture with a clean towel.

Step 2: Apply a small amount of laundry detergent directly onto the stain. Put some pressure on it, so you can remove as much of the colouring as possible. Rinse everything with some water and continue blotting.

Step 3: Then apply a solution of ammonia and some water on the stain, and blot again.

Step 4: If the stain persists, you can try pouring some white vinegar onto it, leave it for a couple of minutes, then rinse with some water and blot dry the area.

Dairy stains

What you will need:

  • White cotton towel
  • Soft-scrub brush
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tbsp dishwashing detergent
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

Step 1: Blot up the excess milk or yoghurt from the carpet using a white cotton towel.

Step 2: Mix the water, dishwashing detergent and baking soda, and use the brush to apply the solution onto the spot.

Step 3: Use the brush to rub the stain, then rinse with some cold water.

Step 4: Repeat the process if needed.

Juice and jam stains

What you will need:

  • Paper towels
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Warm water
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide

Step 1: Blot up as much of the stain as possible using a paper towel or a clean cloth.

Step 2: Take a gentle dishwashing detergent and mix it with 1 cup of warm water. Apply it to the carpet stain and blot for a while.

Step 3: Mix ½ cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water into a spray bottle and spray the stain thoroughly.

Step 4: Apply some more of the dishwashing detergent mixture.

Step 5: Clean the affected area with some water and a damp towel. You can also apply some paper towels and press them with something, so they can absorb the moisture.

Step 6: If the fruit juice stain is still visible after a few hours, you can apply a little 3% hydrogen peroxide and leave it for about an hour. Then rinse with water and apply some paper towels again.

Wine stains

What you will need:

  • Salt or baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Soft brush
  • Liquid laundry detergent

Step 1: First you need to absorb the moisture from the carpet as quickly as possible. Both salt and baking soda are perfect for this task.

Step 2: Mix a solution of 50% white vinegar and 50% water and apply it to the stain, leave it to work for about an hour.

Step 3: Add a few drops of laundry detergent to a glass of water, stir so you can get some foam, and apply the foam to the carpet stain.

Step 4: Use the soft brush and back and forth motion to remove the stain completely.

Step 5: Rinse with water and blot dry.

Important: Salt is perfect for absorbing wine, but it’s not recommended to use it on carpets with natural fibres.

Coffee and tea

What you will need:

  • 1 tbsp liquid soap
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Sponge
  • Clean towels

Step 1: Blot the stain to remove the excess, using either a paper towel or a lint-free cloth.

Step 2: Mix a spoon of liquid soap, 1 spoon of white vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

Step 3: Apply the solution onto the stain and leave it for 15 minutes. If the stain is old, you can also sprinkle some baking soda on top of it, it will start foaming, which will make the dried stain come off more easily.

Step 4: Get a bowl of cold water and a sponge and start gently sponging to remove the solution and the stain.

Step 5: Repeat the process if necessary.

Beer and alcohol

What you will need:

  • Clean towel
  • Lots of baking soda
  • Vacuum cleaner

Step 1: Soak up the excess liquid using a clean towel.

Step 2: Sprinkle lots of baking soda onto the stain.

Step 3: Leave for 24 hours.

Step 4: Vacuum up the baking soda.

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Other common carpet stains

Food may be the most common carpet contaminant, but there are plenty of other things around the house, which can cause severe damage if they land on the carpet. Some of these substances are so stubborn that many homeowners consider it pointless to clean them.

But with the right tools and knowledge, you can get rid of basically every carpet stain. Here are a few good examples:

Candle wax stains

What you will need:

  • Printer paper
  • Iron
  • Clean cloths
  • Liquid laundry detergent

Step 1: Once the wax is dry, put the piece of paper on top of it and go over it with a hot iron. The wax will melt and automatically stick to the paper.

Step 2: Dab the spot with a clean, slightly damp towel to remove any leftover small particles.

Step 3: If you can still see some staining, you should mix a few drops of laundry detergent with some water and shampoo the affected area.

Step 4: Rinse with some water and dry with a second dry cloth.

Important: Never try to wipe the candle wax while it’s still warm. It will only smear it all over the carpet and make it even more challenging to remove the stain. Instead, wait until it dries and try the method we offer.

Chewing gum

What you will need:

  • Ice
  • Plastic bag
  • Butter knife or something else to scrape with
  • White vinegar
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Clean cloth

Step 1: Place a few ice cubes into a plastic bag and apply them to the gum. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes so that the gum can harden.

Step 2: Once it’s hardened, scrape off as much of the gum as possible. You can do that using a butter knife or anything else you can find that works like a scraper.

Step 3: When you manage to remove most of the gum, pour small amounts of white vinegar on the spot and rub it gently with your finger to liquefy the remaining residue. Then gently blot with a cloth.

Step 4: After the gum is gone, you can shampoo the carpet a little, using a cup of warm water and a few drops of laundry detergent. It will refresh it and remove the vinegar smell.

Makeup stains

What you will need:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Warm water
  • Liquid soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloth
  • Soft brush

Step 1: For foundation stains, mix ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of warm water, pour onto the stain, leave for about half an hour, then blot with a paper towel.

Step 2: Eye-liner and mascara are best removed from the carpet using a solution of 1 cup warm water and ¼ teaspoon of liquid soap. Mix them together, place on the stain, scrub with a soft brush, then rinse and dry.

Step 3: Lipstick stains on the carpet are difficult to remove, and the most efficient way to do it is by using rubbing alcohol. Put some on a clean white cloth and rub the stain with it until it disappears. Remember to switch the place on the cloth once it gets coloured. Otherwise, you’ll be just smearing the stain.

Ink stains

What you will need:

  • Rubbing alcohol or non-oily hairspray
  • Spray bottle
  • Lukewarm water
  • 2 clean white cloths

Step 1: Spray the stain with some rubbing alcohol or a non-oily hairspray if you have one around.

Step 2: Get the first white cloth and blot the stain until it’s gone.

Step 3: Dab the area with the second towel dipped in lukewarm water.

Mud stains

What you will need:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Wet cloth

Step 1: Allow the mud to dry and then go over the stain with a vacuum cleaner.

Step 2: Use a wet cloth to dab up whatever the vacuum couldn’t collect.

Step 3: If the stain is hard to remove, you can add some liquid soap to the water and shampoo the carpet.

Important: Avoid cleaning fresh mud stains from your carpet because the texture of the mud makes it impossible to remove it in a liquid state. It will only work it up further into the fabric.

Nail polish

What you will need:

  • Paper towels
  • Cold water
  • Hair spray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scrub brush

Step 1: As soon as you discover the nail polish stain, get a paper towel and try to absorb as much of it as possible, but without wiping, because it will only smear it and make it harder to remove.

Step 2: Spray around 15-20 pumps of hairspray, then sprinkle a little rubbing alcohol on top of it.

Step 3: Using a scrub brush, scrub the stain directly for at least a minute. During the scrubbing, keep pouring small amounts of cold water to dissolve the mixture and the stain.

Step 4: Repeat the process until the nail polish stain is no longer visible.

Tip: For gentle and natural carpet fabrics, it’s recommended to replace the rubbing alcohol with some non-acetone nail polish remover.

Rust stains

What you will need:

  • Big amount of lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Hot water
  • Clean towel

Step 1: Spray a generous amount of lemon juice directly onto the stain, then sprinkle some salt on top of it.

Step 2: Let it sit and work its magic for a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Pour some hot water onto the affected area. The rust stain should begin to disappear instantly.

Step 4: Dry the spot with a clean towel.

Step 5: Repeat the process if needed.


What you will need:

  • Cold water
  • Clean towel
  • Baking soda
  • Soft brush
  • Household ammonia or 3% hydrogen peroxide

Step 1: Apply cold water and dab the stain with a clean cloth. Some fresh bloodstains will start fading after that.

Step 2: Make a paste from baking soda and some cold water, apply it to the stain and use the soft brush to scrub it gently.

Step 3: Rinse with water and dry.

Step 4: For old and dried blood stains, use ammonia or hydrogen peroxide.


What you will need:

  • Paper towel
  • Sharp knife
  • Clean white cloth
  • Iron

Step 1: If the stain is still wet, the solution is simple – get a paper towel and gently blot until you get all the glue out.

Step 2: If the glue is already hardened, first, you’ll need to get a sharp knife and gently scrub off as much of it as possible.

Step 3: For the leftovers, get a clean cloth, place it on top of the stain, then place a hot iron on top of it. The glue should liquefy and stick to the cloth instead of to the carpet.

Vomit and urine stains

What you will need:

  • Paper towel
  • Scraping tool
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Clean cloth
  • Dry cleaning solvent or enzyme-based cleaner
  • White vinegar
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Warm water
  • Sponge

Step 1: As soon as you notice the stain, scrape off the excess hard particles using a scraping tool of choice.

Step 2: Blot the moisture with a paper towel.

Step 3: Sprinkle some baking soda or cornstarch on the stain, and let it stay on the carpet for at least 15 minutes. It will absorb the leftover moisture from inside the carpet.

Step 4: Use a clean cloth to apply a dry cleaning solvent or an enzyme-based cleaner.

Step 5: Blot the stain until the solvent gets absorbed by the carpet. The stain should disappear by now.

Step 6: Rinse with cold water and dry.

Step 7: If you can still see the stain, you can try a natural solution of 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and 2 cups of warm water. Sponge the stain until it disappears. Then rinse with water and dry again.

Related article: How to Clean a Shag Rug

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