Getting Stains out of Your Carpets

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Dogs and cats, muddy shoes, a rogue glass of red wine from Christmas 2011: all of these have the potential to add up to stains on the carpet. That’s the bad news. The good news is that stains are rarely permanent. Even the toughest liquids and most stubborn markings can usually be removed with a little elbow grease and a few household supplies. To remove stains from your carpet, consider the following tricks.

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Use Household Items

According to Reader’s Digest, there is no need to run out and purchase a vat of industrial strength carpet cleaner. Several household items can often do the trick!

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream doesn’t just remove unwanted body hair; it also removes newly spilled stains. If juice, soda or other liquids fall to your carpet, try blotting the stain, patting it with a wet sponge, laying down some shaving cream and then wiping up the mess with sponge. This same technique should also work on clothes for anyone who happens to be a sloppy eater.


Known in many circles as an alternative to chemically infused cleansers, vinegar can be used to clean several areas of your home, including the carpet. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of salt with ½ cup of white vinegar, and rub this mixture lightly on the stain. Once the solution dries, vacuum it up. If the stain is particularly tough, the mixture may need to include corn starch and sit for a few days before being vacuumed away.


For times when parties get out of hand, introducing red wine to carpet fibers, salt can be used to lift stains. While the stain is wet, pour white wine on it to help dilute the color, and clean the spot with a rag or sponge and cold water. Then, pour a little bit of salt on the area, wait ten minutes, and vacuum it up.


Ammonia is usually a quick and effective solution for stains on carpet or upholstery. Add a cup of clear ammonia to half a gallon of warm water and sponge the area thoroughly.

Other Stain Removal Ideas

If the above tactics don’t remove the stains or only partially remove them, there are a few other tactics worth trying.

Detergent actually makes a great carpet cleaner (and often leaves the carpet smelling laundry-fresh). To use it in this manner, dip a cloth or a paper towel (one with no printing) into a detergent solution (approximately 1 cup of warm water mixed with ¼ teaspoon of detergent), and dab the carpet repeatedly, pressing the cloth to the carpet for a few seconds at a time. After waiting 15 minutes, soak up the remaining liquid with a dry rag or sponge.

Another stain removal idea involves the use of an iron. For this technique, mix a solution of vinegar with water; wet the stain with the solution, and lay a damp terry towel or cloth over the stain. Using the steam setting on your iron, iron the damp towel as it lies on the stain. This usually works to restore the carpet to its previous, non-stained appearance.

It is unavoidable that carpets will get dirty: after all, they spend their days being met by feet. However, the above tricks should help remove most of the stains that will inevitably come your way.

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