How To Get Old Stains Out Of Carpet?

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It is not uncommon to find an old stain on the carpet. In fact, how many of us use furniture to hide a stain? We do – guilty!

Whilst a fresh stain is easy to remove, it is still wet after all, an old discoloration of the carpet has usually made itself at home on the fibers of the material and does not want to leave. This can be tricky, but that does not mean it is impossible to get rid of.

Whether it is coffee, juice, mud, food, or something you have no idea what it is, you will be able to move it – or at least try.

Fortunately for you, you have come to the right place. This professional commercial cleaner’s helpful guide will show you a few different ways to remove that stain so the furniture can be rearranged again. Good luck!

Before You Start – Tips And Tricks

When we spill something on the floor, or when we find an old stain, it is always tempting to scrub at it. This is probably one of the worst things you can do as it lets the stains push further below into the surface and fibers of the carpet. The trick is to blot at a stain instead.

Whilst blotting, work from the outside and make your way to the center of the stain. If you go from the center to the outside, it can actually make the stain larger. 

If you usually use a colored rag or cloth – stop! For any of the methods below use a white cloth. Some of the treatments used may transfer color from the cloth onto the carpet, and that defeats the whole point of what you are trying to do. So, always opt for plain colors.

Lastly, if you are working with a stronger treatment, give it a test on an area of the carpet that is hidden away just in case it reacts weirdly to the fibers. If it does, at least you can hide it again with some furniture. 

Begin With At-Home Remedies

The usual go-to when it comes to cleaning the home is to try at-home remedies. This is because a lot of them do work, they are inexpensive and more often than not, you will have the items ready in your kitchen cupboard to use. 

Whilst you want to rehydrate the stain generally, it does depend if it is a water-soluble stain such as mud, beverages or jelly, or a soluble stain like chocolate.

This can determine the type of treatment you will choose and what will work, but it is always worth trying everything you can if it does not budge. 

From using vinegar to dish soap, these items are worth a try first before you invest in something stronger. 

Dish Soap And Warm Water

If you are unsure about putting too much liquid onto the carpet because you are worried about how the fibres will react, then this is the safest first option to try. It is also a good method to use if you are a little unsure what the stain is.

Put warm, not boiling, water into a cup and apply a couple of drops of dish soap, then mix. It might go quite bubbly, so keep that in mind.

Dip a cloth into the cup and then work the mixture into the stain without it becoming soaked. You should want to hydrate it slightly.

Let the mixture sit upon the stain for a few minutes, and then use a fresh, dry cloth to blot the area to remove the water and dish soap. 

Add Some Vinegar

If the stain is a little tougher, you can add vinegar to the mixture. To do this you will need to add a tablespoon of dish soap and vinegar to two cups of warm water, and then follow the same method above.

White Vinegar And Baking Soda

If you have an even tougher stain – perhaps it is greasy – then baking soda will be a good option. This is a method that is best tested out somewhere first just in case it reacts with the fibres of the carpet.

Create a mixture within a spray bottle by adding a cup of white vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap into warm water. Remember to gently shake it to mix.

Begin by creating a layer of baking soda over the stain. Spray the mixture over the baking soda and watch it all foam and bubble up. Leave it to sit until it has hardened. Once it has done so, break it up and vacuum what is left.

White Wine On Red Wine

Red wine is easily spilled onto the floor and then forgotten about, especially when we have had one too many. Whilst it is disheartening to find a lovely dry red stain on a pale-coloured carpet, it can be fixed.

Apply a small amount of white wine onto the stain and blot it with a clean cloth. Keep repeating this until the stain has been removed from the carpet. 

Once this has been done, use water to rinse away the white wine and allow it to dry. 

Club Soda

Even though we are more likely to drink club soda, just like white wine, it has its other uses too. It can be used to clean up the odd stain and is always worth a try.

Add some sparkling club soda into a bottle and spray it onto the stain. Once this has been achieved, leave it for several minutes to do its job.

Whilst it is not normally recommended to use a brush, with club soda you can. Be gentle and do not overdo it, but work the stain with a brush to help dislodge it.

Follow this up by blotting the stain with a clean cloth, and then sprinkle some salt on the area to help remove the club soda and any colour. 

Once 30 minutes have passed, vacuum it all up. The stain should be gone. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is best used on light-coloured carpets, so avoid this if you have anything that is multicoloured or dark – you will end up with a random patch of discolouration.

Due to the nature of this product, even if you have a light-coloured carpet, always test it out on a bit of carpet that is hidden away. 

Firstly, try and remove any of the particles from the stain by vacuuming over it. Once this has been done, add the hydrogen peroxide to a bottle and spray it over the area.

Leave it for around 15 minutes to work, and again, breaking the rules, use a brush to work through the stain to loosen the particles some more.

After that step is done, there are two ways to go: either use a steam vacuum to clean it all up, or blot the mixture with a clean cloth to absorb everything. 


Ammonia is a good one to try if dish soap is not doing anything for the stain, but just like with the white wine, it is all about repeating the step until the stain has been removed.

Add two tablespoons of ammonia to a cup of water and put the mixture into a bottle. Spray it onto the stain and blot it with a clean cloth. Repeat this method until the stain has vanished.

Final Words

Carpet stains can be difficult to clean, especially when they are old and you have no idea where they came from. Whilst this can make it more difficult, it actually is not impossible.

How To Clean And Mop Floor Tiles?

So, instead of using furniture to hide the stain, there are a number of methods to try before calling in the professionals – and that does include the tried and tested white wine on red wine method. Something is bound to work, just remember to be patient!

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