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How to Remove Tough Carpet Stains

Monday, April 7, 2014

Now, I know you're thinking "how in the world does a family with two young boys AND a dog not own a carpet steamer?" Well, the short answer to that is that we did, and about a month ago, while we were using it a part broke off of it. Since it had a few years on it (and the last time we took it to be repaired they said it would probably be simpler/easier/cheaper to replace it), we got rid of it.

Fast forward about a month after that incident and I came home early from work due to inclement weather. Ryan was already home with the boys because he works about 30 minutes closer to home than I do - and it turns out that he had no problem letting the boys drink sugary colored drinks over carpeted surfaces. :-)

So, my research began:

If you look here, you will see that the stain we were dealing with was red (egads!) AND it had already soaked in and dried by the time I started my research. It was on fairly light colored carpet. Score!

These are the items you'll need to combat the stain:

  • Baking Soda (enough to cover the stained area)
  • 1 Tbsp Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 c hot water
  • White rags (one pictured here; you will need a lot of them)
  • Vacuum (not pictured)
  • Heavy object (not pictured)
First, cover the stained area liberally with baking soda and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, vacuum it up.

Mix together 1 Tbsp Dawn dishwashing detergent, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, and 2 cups hot water. Pour this mixture over the stained area. (Note: If you have a very small stained area, you may not need to use the entire mixture.) Use the white rags to blot up the mixture, changing rags as they become wet. Your carpet will look like this once you've blotted up as much of the mixture as you can:

Hooray! The stain is gone! Well, most every piece of information that I read stopped here, but I didn't trust that the stain was truly gone. After all, my carpet steamer would have pulled the moisture from the carpet pad beneath the carpet, and I didn't think that my blotting (as thorough as it was) could compare with that. 

So, please move on to the next step if you want to REMOVE remove the stain:

Cover the previously stained area with one or two layers of white rags and then a heavy object that you are OK with getting wet or at least a little damp on the bottom. Leave overnight.

Remove the heavy object and look at all of the "red" that was pulled up through the "clean" carpet and onto the white rags:

And here's the after shot just so you don't think my carpet is pink now. :-) 

Let the carpet air dry, and you're all set.

If you like this tip and are looking for other handy uses for Dawn dishwashing detergent, give these posts a look:

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Debbie Purcell said...

That’s it? A mixture and a vacuum? Nice! That’s the easiest trick I’ve ever read about carpet stain removal. I could only hope it works on all kinds stains like wax, coffee or chocolate stains– that would save homeowners a lot of money in buying other removers or hiring professional help.

Donna Walkush said...

Hi Debbie - I don't know about wax. That seems like a different consistency and might require different care. But since this worked on a red Kool-Aid stain that was set and dried for a week or so (and a fairly large one at that!), I would definitely give it a try on coffee or hot chocolate stains. As I poured the mixture over the area, I could literally see the red disappear. And after a ton of blotting and the recommended heavy object over the white rags, sure enough, the stain was gone!

Nathan Riley said...

Wow! That is just amazing! It's as if the red Kool-Aid wasn't really there to begin with. I love the cleanser and it's pretty easy to do too. Thanks so much for sharing that DIY feat! Happy homemaking!

Nathan Riley @ Steemer

Monique Fletcher said...

Good job, Donna! Kudos to you! That's one good way to remove a tough carpet stain, all right. It's nice of you to share it with us as well. I know a lot of people who will appreciate that post, so I hope you don't mind me sharing it. Hahaha! All the best to you! :)

Monique Fletcher @ Safeclean

Donna Walkush said...

Don't mind at all, Monique. Share away!

Peter said...

About 2 years ago my wife had an accident with a bottle of nail polish over our cream carpet. She was mortified! Your photo of the drink stain brought back rather traumatic memories for me. We spent all day trying to remove the varnish. We could have done with the advice in your blog to use the simple products.

Peter @ Colourlock

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