7 Ideas for Removing Stubborn Carpet Stains

If you have carpets in your house, you probably know the pain of dealing with stubborn stains that don’t come out easily. Fortunately, there are a variety of solutions that could help you get much cleaner floors – even if those stains have set in completely.

How to Remove Stubborn Old Carpet Stains

There’s no solution that works perfectly well for all cases; you’ll need to adjust your approach based on the type of stain, how long it’s been there, the type of carpet you’re using, and other factors. As you experiment with these approaches, always test the process on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first; that way, you’ll have a much lower risk of discoloring or damaging your carpet unnecessarily.

1.       Invest in better carpet cleaning products. Today’s carpet cleaners are better than ever. Carpet washing machines and steam cleaners have the power to remove tough stains and make your carpet look as if it’s new. You can also purchase commercial cleaning products specifically designed for treating carpet stains; often, one treatment from a powerful formula is all it takes to eradicate a stain that’s resisted all your other efforts. Best of all, most of these carpet cleaning accessories and solutions are budget-friendly.

2.       Use warm water and dish soap. Dish soap is effective at binding to certain agents and cleaning affected areas; it’s also a mild detergent, so it has a very low risk of damaging your carpet. Mix a bit of dish soap with warm water and allow it to soak into the lingering stain. After some time, blot the mixture away.

3.       Try diluted vinegar. You can try a similar method with diluted vinegar. Vinegar is acidic, resulting in a dissolving effect for many staining agents. As long as you dilute the vinegar with water, it shouldn’t damage your carpet.

4.       Experiment with baking soda. Baking soda is highly absorbent, basic, and abrasive, making it an all-in-one cleaning agent for different stains. Dump it onto the affected area and allow it to sit, or work it into the carpet stain. You can also try treating this affected area with vinegar (resulting in a bubbly reaction), allowing the area to dry, and vacuuming.

5.       Steam clean. If none of these options work, you can try renting a steam cleaner and using high-powered hot water to treat the stain. Professional-grade steam cleaning products can often eliminate stains that DIY methods can’t touch.

6.       Call a professional. There’s a chance that no effort you can muster will be capable of getting rid of the stain. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and the stain won’t go away, your next best bet is to hire a professional to help you.

7.       Don’t forget the rest of the carpet. Treating a stain so aggressively can lighten that particular area of carpet, making the rest seem dirty by comparison. Make a plan to clean the rest of the carpet to even out the appearance.

Treating New Stains Before They Set

In the future, you can prevent this dilemma by treating new stains immediately. The quicker you act, the greater your chances of preventing the stain from setting in.

·         Remove as much excess as possible (and quickly). Whatever spilled on your carpet, work quickly to get rid of it and clean up the excess. For example, if you spilled wine, use paper towels to soak up as much wine as possible. If someone tracked mud onto the carpet, scrape off the excess. This will help reduce the size of the stain and allow you to penetrate the area.

·         Treat and wait. Next, treat the stain with whatever solution you can. If you have a specific stain remover for this type of stain or your type of carpet, use it. Otherwise, find a treatment solution specifically effective for the staining medium; for example, water soluble stains like those from cola, mud, and wine are best treated with a mix of detergent and water (or vinegar and water). Tougher water soluble stains, like those from blood or coffee,   can be treated with diluted bleach (if your carpet can tolerate bleach).

·         Blot, dry, and remove. Allow your treatment to soak thoroughly, then blot the stain, rather than scrubbing; scrubbing may be counterproductive, working the stain into the carpet. Then, allow the area to dry and use a vacuum cleaner to remove the remaining debris (if necessary).

With these strategies, you should be able to get even the toughest stains out of your carpet – and prevent new stains from setting in. That said, even the best-maintained carpets do suffer wear and tear, with some permanent staining over time. 

If your carpets have seen better days and these techniques aren’t helping to breathe new life into your floors, it may be time to consider replacing your carpet altogether.