How to Treat Common Carpet Stains

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Since we have moved in to our new house I have been a woman obsessed with cleaning….the thought of moving into a place where everything is brand new makes me feel a lot of pressure to keep everything sparkling.  Now with three little boys, a cat, and a dog this obviously is not going to happen! Knowing that ife has a way of getting messy, I have been doing some preemptive research on how to treat common carpet stains and thought I’d share what I have learned with you.

Basic Cleaning Solutions

Most stains can be cleaned with one of the following cleaning solutions:

Detergent Solution-Mix 2 ccups of cold water with 1/8 teaspoon of mild liquid detergetn (no lanolin, non-bleach)
Vinegar Solution-One part white vinegar to one part water
Ammonia Solution-One tablespoon household ammonia to one cup water.
Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover
Dry Cleaning Spot Removal Liquid (à la Dryel)

For each of these solutions apply a small amount of the cleaner to the stain and work in gently-do not scrub. Work from the edges of the spot in towards the center.  Blot thoroughly and repeat until the spot is gone. If the first solution does not fully remove the stain blot dry as much as possible before trying the next recommended solution. After the stain is removed repeat with clean water to remove cleaner residue, then absorb remaining moisture with white paper towels weighted with a non-staining glass or ceramic object.  When the carpet is completely dry vacuum the area.

Common Stains

    1. Vomit  I’m keeping it real here people.  Kids, dogs, cats…they all tend to throw up a lot more than one would think {me being the “one”}, and they always seem to pick the worst place-of course it usually ends up on the carpet, not the toilet or even the tile where cleanup would be a breeze.  (Although now I have a very funny image of my cat hacking hairballs into the toilet in my head!) To clean vomit out of carpet try first the Detergent Solution, if that doesn’t work try the Ammonia Solution and if its really bad (and if it is my heart is going out to you!) try the Vinegar Solution.
    2. Urine Another one on the “keeping it real” spectrum.  Urine stains should also be first treated with the Detergent Solution listed above and the Vinegar Solution as a second line of defense.
    3. Blood Are you seeing a pattern of my life with three boys? Again, try the Detergent Solution first followed by the Ammonia Solution if the detergent does not fully lift the stain
    4. Ink Use a non-acetone nail polish remover and if that does not work try Dry Cleaning Spot Removal Liquid.  If one of those two does not do the trick go back to the old faithful detergent solution or ammonia solution.
    5. Chewing Gum Dry Cleaning Spot Liquid should do the trick here again!
    6. Crayon Dry Cleaning Spot Treatment is your first line of defense.  If that does not fully remove the stain try the Detergent Solution.
    7. Rust When removing rust from the carpet first try the Vinegar Solution followed by the Detergent Solution if the stain can’t be fully removed.
    8. Furniture Stain Non-Acetone Nail Polish Remover should remove furniture stain from carpet.  If the stain is not fully removed try the Dry Cleaning Spot Treatment.

Here are some other stains that should be treated with the Detergent Solution:
Alcoholic beverages
Plant Food
Furniture Polish (water based)
Any Food

Try Nail Polish Remover for the following:
Furniture Polish (solvent based)
Shoe Polish

As always, you should spot test your carpet for color-fastness in an inconspicuous space before using any cleaning solution. If non of these solutions completely remove your stain you may need to contact a professional carpet cleaner.

I hope this helps! Do you have any stain removing tips? If so leave them in a comment, I’d love to hear them!

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  1. Carol-Anne (Use the Good Dishes!) says

    What a lot of fabulous ideas here! As someone with cleaning OCD, this is just the perfect post! Bookmarking it!

    PS. I find that the only thing to remove pen stains from fabric is hairspray!

  2. says


    These are great tips! I have four little ones, so I’m certainly cleaning more than ever these days.

    I’ve also learned that WD40 takes crayon scribbles off of walls like magic.

    I’m visiting from the Tip Junkie party (right behind you). I would love it if you stopped by my blog.

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. water damage carpet cleaning perth says

    This will work with simple stains but if you can’t remove the stains then I suggest that you hire a professional.

  4. Carpet Cleaner Anchorage says

    Instead of pouring a half cup of water on the stain. just use a spray bottle. this way your not soaking the padding. plus carpets have a latex back which will break down. fan drying or the hairdryer will also help prevent the stain from winking back to the top.

  5. James Reynolds says

    Also, if something is thrown on the carpet, clean it right away so that it won’t be absorbed by the carpet.

  6. danial karag says

    Instead of pouring a half cup of water on the stain. just use a spray bottle. this way your not soaking the padding. plus carpets have a latex back which will break down. fan drying or the hairdryer will also help prevent the stain from winking back to the top.

  7. says

    My trusted natural cleaning solution would be the vinegar with water. Not only is it natural but it’s also effective on stains.

  8. says

    Thanks for sharing this! I just had new carpet installed, and I want to make sure it stays clean no matter what. I’ll definitely be sure to remember all of these tips. The fact that nail polish remover removes ink stains is so cool!

  9. Julieane Hernandez says

    Ever since I’m using vinegar and water for carpet cleaning, cheap, effective and easy to find in the kitchen. Interesting piece of information for carpet stain removal. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Isabel says

    Lovely ideas! I use mainly green cleaning solutions and my favorite recipe for carpet stains is 1 cup baking soda and ops of lavender essential oil! It smalls amazing and it works great ! :)

  11. says

    The detergent solution recipe you posted above will certainly come in handy this summer. My sons both do soccer, and getting out the grass stains is incredibly difficult. Hopefully this will help keep my carpets looking as fresh as I can keep them. Thanks for the solution for stains.


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