Three Ways to Remove Carpet Stains

The right tools and techniques for removing stains from your home.

Cut puppy chewing on a bone
You can generally remove most stains immediately after a spill with the right chemicals, rags, and tools.Unsplash/Josh Sorenson

What the stain consists of determines how you’ll treat it. First, figure out what the offending substance, and then follow one of the plans of action listed below. One of the keys is selecting the correct stain removal treatment to be applied. The surface and type of stain dictate what will work best, so make sure you choose one designed with the exact type of stain in mind. Follow this guide to keep accidents from ruining your surfaces.

Rocco & Roxie Professional Strength Stain & Odor Eliminator


Instead of rubbing a stain to clean it, blot it with a clean cloth first before applying a stain remover.Rocco & Roxie Supply Co

If the stain is a simple liquid like wine or coffee, you’ll want to begin by blotting the stain with a clean white cloth. Take care to use gentle pressure with a strictly downward motion, don’t move side to side and spread it further. Work from the outside in, keeping it contained. Apply the appropriate cleaner, following directions on the bottle. If the stain is from a pet that had an accident, use an enzyme cleaner that will neutralize the odor.

Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover

Oil and Grease

Soak up oil and grease before trying to clean the stain to prevent it from spreading to other areas.Folex

If you’re dealing with an oily or greasy substance, you’ll need to soak it up before you can get it off. Use baking soda to sop up oily substances on fabrics, upholstery, or carpeting. For industrial-sized spills, like an oil pan that couldn’t contain all the transmission fluid from your 4x4 during routine maintenance, use saw dust or kitty litter. Let it sit for a few minutes, until it’s all soaked up. Use a shop vac to suck as much up as you can, then remove the rest using a stiff-bristled brush and suck that up too. Treat the remaining spot with a powerful cleaner designed to cut through tough grime.

Bissell Deep Clean Pro 4X Deep Cleaning Concentrated Carpet Shampoo, 48 ounces

Dried-On Gunk

A toothbrush makes for a handy stain-cleaning tool.Bissell

Dried-on gunk can be the toughest to remove, so it helps to start with some manual agitation. For something along the lines of dried on mud, an old toothbrush is great. Start by gently scrubbing the fabric, and turn up the elbow grease a little if the dirt proves to be stubborn—just be sure not push too hard and drive the stain further into the fabric. For the toughest stuck-on stains, try scraping them off with a dull butter knife. Flush the stain with running water and treat with a spot remover.