Various carpet stains and how to remove them

Carpets can come in for a lot of punishing treatment and no matter how careful you are, sooner or later something is bound to end up on the floor. Coffee, tea, red wine, accidents, pets and small children….they can all leave a lasting legacy on your carpet.

Removing carpet stains yourself, can be a risky business. If you rub too hard or use the wrong cleaning material, you may inadvertently damage the colour of the carpet or make the stain worse.  So let’s look at some various carpet stains and how to remove them, without making the problem worse.

Red wine

Red wine spillage on your carpet is very noticeable. If you can act fast you can remove most of the damage before it dries but you do need to be careful. First of all blot up the excess wine with clean paper towels.  Then apply plenty of water in order to dilute the wine and carrying on blotting until no more wine is being picked up on the paper towel. Do not scrub. This will only drive the wine deeper into the fabric of the carpet.

Once you have done this, you can make an emergency cleaning kit out of household materials. Make a paste with baking powder (Bicarb) and water –in a 3 to 1 ratio and spread this over the stain.  Once this paste has dried on the carpet you can vacuum it and hopefully the stain may be gone. If it isn’t, mix 470ml (just under a pint) of water with a tablespoon of white vinegar plus a teaspoon of washing up liquid and apply to the area with a sponge, blotting until the stain has disappeared.

Dried red wine stains.

If the stain has dried, you need to loosen it by adding plenty of water, and then blot it until the carpet is damp rather than wet. Then try adding lemon juice to the stain or alternatively use white wine or white vinegar. The acidity will help remove the stain and then you can lightly scrub the area with salt, working it into the carpet with your fingers.

Rinse with cold water and leave to dry.  Vacuum any excess salt once dried.

Tea and coffee stains

If you notice the spillage when it occurs, immediately blot up the excess liquid and then add water to the stain in order to dilute it. You can then try adding some white vinegar to water and apply this with a sponge or a paper towel. Leave it in place on the carpet for around 5 minutes and then rinse with clean water and leave to dry.

If the stain has already dried, add water to the area first and then you have a choice of materials that may help to clean it. You can make a paste with bicarb and water, and apply it to the area. Leave it to dry and then rinse with clean water.

Alternatively you can clean old tea and coffee stains with white vinegar. Make a 2 -1 solution of water and vinegar (the greater part being the water), add to a spray bottle and spray the area, scrubbing as you go with a clean cloth.

You can also use salt, pouring it directly onto the stain and rinsing off.


Whether the urine comes from your dog or your cat or from a human, a urine stain can be difficult to remove. All urine contains uric acid so it does require some special handling and although the stain may not be too bad, the smell with persist if left untreated.

First apply plenty of cold water to the area and blot it until the area is nearly dry.  You can try a solution of ¼ teaspoon of washing up liquid in around half a pint of water and spray the area. Leave it for five minutes and then rinse with clean water.

If this does not remove the stain, try making up a white vinegar solution by mixing 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a litre of water and add to the area.  Do not rub the carpet, just sponge the area until the stain has disappeared.  

If this is a common problem in your household, a specialised carpet cleaning product which contains enzymes is suitable for pet urine. Never use ammonia based cleaner on your carpets when clearing up after cats. Your cat will smell the ammonia which is also present in pee and it will just encourage him to use the same spot again.

Removing blood stains from your carpet.

We are not suggesting you use this information to hide the evidence! However accidents do happen sometimes and a blood stain on your carpet is not a good look. You may be unlikely to be able to deal with the stain properly at the time of the accident, but liberally spraying the area with cold water will help minimise the damage. Never use hot water as this will only make the staining worse.

You can try a solution of washing up liquid (or dish washing detergent) with water, blotting the area with paper towels as you go and then rinsing with cold water.  Repeat this process until the stain is removed.


A chocolate stain always looks much worse than it actually is, and as stains go it is fairly easy to remove.  Hard chocolate is easier to remove than melted chocolate so try adding ice to the area, either as cubes or via an icepack or a pack of frozen peas to chill the stain and you may be able to scrape it off. If the stain persists, you can try a washing up liquid and water solution as used in other stain removal.

Using stain remover products

If you don’t want to go down the home remedy route, there are numerous carpet cleaning products on the market to make the job easier. Always test these out in an inconspicuous area before applying to the carpet as they may damage the carpet or affect the colour.

Professional Carpet cleaning

Alternatively calling in the services of a professional carpet cleaner may be the most effective option. That way your entire carpet can quickly look and smell like new, and there is no risk of causing any long term damage. Carpets are expensive and there is always a chance that when you try to remove stains, you could actually make the staining look much worse.

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