cleaning carpet stains

10 Helpful Tips for Cleaning Carpet Stains

Messes and stains are an inevitable part of life between pets, children, and general accidents. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with those carpet stains.

There are easy steps you can take when cleaning carpet stains to get your carpet looking fresh and clean. You can forget the whole “dropping a bowl of marinara on the ground” debacle never happened.

Keep reading to learn 10 carpet cleaning hacks and tips that will keep your carpets looking spotless, even after a stain happens.

1. Try to Clean a Spill or Accident Immediately

While it’s not always possible to follow this tip (you can’t necessarily always be right there when you’re dog decides to pee on the carpet or your child decides to draw on the carpet with markets), it’s good to follow as often as you can.

Immediately cleaning a stain or a spill will prevent the spill or stain from setting into the carpet. The longer the stain is left to react and interact with the carpet fibers, the more “set” it’s going to be and the harder it is to remove.

2. Don’t Doubt the Power of Water

Before you break out any harsh chemicals or cleaning solutions, try using plain old water to remove the stain. Everyone’s first reaction when spilling something on their shirt or clothes is to rinse it with water, right? So why not apply that to carpets as well?

Wet a washcloth with water and repeatedly dab the cloth to the stain. This will help to release the stain from the carpet and soak it up into the cloth. You may have to switch clothes a few times as the stain is absorbed, but be patient.

Water is most effective with new or fresh stains that haven’t had the chance to set in yet. This won’t always work, but it’s worth it to try before using other methods.

3. Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solutions

You don’t always have to go for harsh chemical cleaners; there are many homemade carpet cleaner solutions that you can try first before delving into unnatural chemical solutions.

Baking Soda

The first most common is using baking soda. Baking soda can help remove both the stain and the odor that comes with it (looking at you, pet urine stains). Simply sprinkle baking soda over the stain and leave it for around ten minutes before vacuuming it up.

You can also create a baking soda paste by mixing it with water and then putting that onto the stain for about 10 minutes before dabbing it away with a wet cloth. This can help with deeper set stains.

Baking Soda + Vinegar

Other homemade cleaners mix vinegar and baking soda to break up stains and remove odors. You’ll be left with a bit of a vinegar smell for a while, but that’s better than some other odors you might have stuck in your carpet.


Lastly, try using dishwashing detergent to clean up set stains. You only need a couple drops added to some warm water. This soapy solution will break up stains in your carpet. But be careful not to use too much soap as that itself could cause a stain.

4. Bio-Enzymatic Cleaners

Look for carpet cleaners with enzymes. These enzymes will more effectively break up biological stains like pet accidents, food, urine, bacteria, and more. Breaking up the stain is crucial for getting it completely out of your carpet, and enzymatic cleaning products will help to do that.

5. Test Out Commercial Cleaning Products Before Using

You can also use other commercial cleaning products like spot cleaners or carpet sprays. But be cautious with these: sometimes they can react badly with certain carpet colors, textures, and types.

Test out the product on a hidden or covered area before tackling something that will be seen always. That way if there is a bad reaction or even a new stain, it won’t be a big deal.

6. Importance of the Dab

We’ve mentioned dabbing the stain with a cloth throughout this article for a reason: dabbing and blotting are how you should clean carpet stains. Rubbing or overworking a stain will force the stain deeper into the carpet.

It’s important that you gently dab or blot stains to avoid this.

7. Rent a Steam Cleaner

Many carpets require steam cleaning in order to stay looking new and clean. If you feel confident operating the machinery required to steam clean, you can rent steam cleaners to wash your carpets yourself.

These machines are effective, but they can be hard to operate properly. Make sure you’re confident using these machines before trying it out on your carpet’s stains.

8. Liquid Extractor Machine

Let’s think back to the first tip for a minute: you want to clean stains as fast as possible. If you spill a liquid, it’s a good idea to have a liquid extractor on hand to suction it up as fast as possible before it soaks into the carpet.

9. Don’t Forget to Vacuum!

Dirt, mud, and other particles can build up in your carpets over time which can cause widespread stains and an overall “duller” look in your carpets. Vacuuming consistently, especially in high traffic areas, can help avoid these stains from building up as well as help dissipate any already set-in dirt stains.

10. Hire a Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

If you think you’ve tried it all to no avail, it might be time to hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Professional carpet cleaning services will be experienced and know exactly what your carpet needs, how to deal with different types of stains, and more.

Tips for Cleaning Carpet Stains: Wrapping Up

If you have carpets in your home, chances are you have at least a few stains. The good news is following these 10 tips for cleaning carpet stains can help you get rid of them and prevent them from occurring in the first place.

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