How to clean carpet stains? Are you the kind of person who tackles carpet stains, or are you more likely to be found placing an object or item of furniture over the top of a stain to hide it from view?

From red wine to nail polish, mud and food, the types of carpet stains that can be found across the home vary hugely.

What this means for the cleaning process is that there is no ‘one size fits all’ cleaning product that can be used to cover all bases.

As is the case with so many other DIY cleaning jobs, there are a variety of different DIY carpet stain removers designed to suit different stains – and this article intends to introduce you to some of the best.

How to get started with your carpet stain removal process

Removing tough stains from carpets is all about moving quickly – soaking up as much of the liquid or substance as possible before it dries into your carpet.

As such, the very first step in a thorough stain removal process is blotting at the stain to draw out as much of the moisture as possible and dry the area.


Blot and dry from the outside of the stain inwards. If you start at the centre of the stain and move outwards as you blot, you will find that you actually push moisture outwards as you move and actually make the outer edges of the stain much worse.

Think of it as a barrier that you create, first around the outside and gradually moving in as you stop the moisture from escaping and expanding outwards.

Once you have blotted the area, you need to rinse the area, leave it for a few minutes, then blot again.

It really is as simple as that – so where do all the different stain removal products and cleaning stories come in?

Specific spot removers

It all comes down to that blotting process – do you use a clean towel, or do you add a little something to the blotting process to cut through the stain and draw it away from the carpet fibres?

This depends on the kind of stain that you are attacking:

  • Water-soluble stains
  • Oil-based stain
  • Grease stains
  • Tough water-soluble stains
  • Common stains

Water-soluble stains are the liquids that we use regularly. Examples include some alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, food dyes, jelly, milk, latex paint, washable ink, mud, and excrement.

All these types of stains are perfectly plausible on carpet but removing them is not impossible – no matter how bad the damage may look.

All you need is ¼ teaspoon of non-bleach detergent (like dish soap) or white vinegar, and 32 ounces of water. Dip your fabric or damp cloth into the detergent solution before blotting and watch it cut through and soak up the spillage gradually as you work through the stain.

The tougher stains are those such as coffee and blood, wine and even vomit. This is where you need to bring out a little more power in fighting your stains, either selecting ammonia mixed with cold water or else a diluted chlorine bleach – depending on the type of carpet you have.

If you’re not sure about the type of carpet you have or need support in deciding on the right level of cleaning solution, your best bet is to call in a professional cleaning service to remove the stain efficiently and effectively.

The common stains mentioned in our list are basically everything else which is not liquid-based – including cigarette burns, dripped fat and oil, glue, nail polish, gum, urine, and dirt.

These are perfectly common stains on carpet and can be removed in all manner of different ways depending on the origin of the stain.

Here are our top tips for each of the examples given:

  • Cigarette burns – Rub at the carpet fibres with a blunt knife to remove the burn.
  • Fat and oil – Put a dry paper towel over the stain and iron over it. The warmth from the iron should heat the stain and force it to stick to the paper towel.
  • Glue – Press a clean white cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol on the stain. Then wipe it away.
  • Nail Polish – Blot the area with a cloth wrapped in nail polish remover.
  • Gum – Press an ice cube to the stain and let the gum freeze, then shatter or peel it away.
  • Urine – Mix one-part vinegar with one-part water and spray the stain solution onto the blotted area. Then blot again with a solution of detergent and water.
  • Dirt – Use a vacuum several times over the area to remove loose dirt, then attack the leftover stain with a solution using dish soap and water.

The power of maintenance and regular carpet cleaning

As you can tell, there are a wide variety of ways to attack various stains depending on their location and origin.

However, there is a lot to be said for carpet maintenance and the decisions to invest in a thorough carpet clean once or twice a year regardless of stains.

Carpet cleaners can be purchased or hired, or else you can call in a professional cleaning company to perform a deep clean on all your carpets and surfaces as required.

Get in touch with your local company for a free quote today.