How to Remove Tough Carpet Stains

How to Remove Tough Carpet Stains


Try as you might, there are going to be stains in your carpet that are tough to get out over time. You might have some coffee spills, a wine spill, or a tragic incident with a permanent marker and your toddler.

The good news is this: just about every carpet stain can be removed if you follow the right process. That includes stains which have a terrible odor with them, like cat urine.

Here are the steps to follow.

Step #1: Get to the stain quickly.

The faster you get to the carpet stain, then the easier it will be to remove it. Eliminate any physical debris from the stain first with a spoon. Do not put pressure on the carpet, as this will cause the stain to spread. Then dab the stain gently with paper or a damp cloth, removing as much of the liquid as possible. Add a common stain-removal solution, follow its instructions, then rinse and dab dry. Repeat as necessary.

Step #2: Dark carpet stains require formulas

If you have a dark stain on light-colored carpet, then remove as much of the stain as possible first. Then use a formula-based carpet stain remover to attack the rest of what remains. Most stain removers that are marked as a pet stain formula will remove most immediate tough stains, including red wine. Just remember to test the stain remover first on a hidden spot of carpet to make sure it won’t discolor it.

Step #3: Avoid steam cleaning whenever possible.

When you are dealing with a stain with a powerful odor, then avoid using a steam cleaner to remove it. Urine spots tend to set when heat is applied, which means you’ll have the odor and the stain stick with your carpet for, well – forever. Treat stains with odors as you would with any other stain. Blot, don’t scrub, when using a detergent. Then keep at it until the stain is removed. If you have a wet vacuum at home, use it to suck up the liquid in the carpet first before attacking the stain.

Step #4: Nail polish remover can take out permanent inks.

If you have permanent marker, nail polish, paint, glue, or wax on your carpet, then you can use nail polish remover or another acetone-based product to remove the stain. Do not apply acetone directly to the stain, as this can damage backing of the carpet. Saturate a towel with the acetone instead, then blot at the stain, going from the outside in. Then clean with another towel, blot the area dry, and repeat as necessary.

Step #5: Dish detergent removes oil and grease stains.

If you have a grease stain in your carpet, then you must use a product that can cut through it to be able to remove it. Dish detergent will generally work, though some may require a solvent, such as denatured alcohol, to lift the stain.

For tough stains, you can also use a color-safe bleach product to remove tough stains, like blood, tea, chocolate, and wine. If the stain has been there for some time, then spray it liberally with the color-safe product, cover it with a clean towel, then iron the carpet through the towel several times to get rid of the stain. 

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