The Worst Carpet Stains and How to Clean Them

There isn’t much that comes close to the soft warmth of a carpet felt underfoot on chilly mornings, not to mention the visual appeal it adds to a room. But there’s nothing like a nasty spill like red wine to make you long for hardwood floors, forgetting all of those lovely benefits.

Let’s face it, life is messy…but your carpet doesn’t have to reflect your family’s mistakes. Read on for some of the toughest carpet stains, and the best ways to eradicate them once and for all.

Wine or grape juice stain

Red and purple are pretty colors, but not when they’re embedded in white carpet fibers. Anyone who’s ever dropped a glass of merlot on a white carpet—or had a grape juice-loving toddler with a leaky sippy cup—knows how tough it is to remove dark fruit-based liquids from carpet. If you have this type of spill, it’s critical that you act fast. Apply hydrogen peroxide to the fresh stain, and then follow up by spraying it with a mixture of hot water and mild detergent.

Lipstick stain

If your favorite bright-red lip color gets crushed into the carpet, all hope is not lost. Floor cleaning specialists recommend first removing any excess solids with a spoon, and then blotting the stain with a mild detergent until the color is gone. Follow up by spraying with hot water and dab dry.

Gum stuck in carpet

Before you reach for the scissors, try this tip: run an ice cube over the gum to freeze it, then hit it with a hard object to shatter it. Vacuum up the pieces and blot dry.

Pet accident stains

If you’ve ever shared your home with a four-legged friend, you know all that cuteness and companionship comes with a price: the occasional inevitable stain. To effectively treat pet accidents, apply mild detergent to a dry cloth and blot the stain. After a few minutes, soak up any excess liquid. For urine removal, Angie’s List recommends dabbing the area with a vinegar solution to remove the smell. After it’s completely dry, repeat the process as needed.

Dirt and mud in carpet

If the kiddos track in more of the great outdoors than expected, don’t panic. Start by vacuuming up any loose soil. Next, apply some mild detergent to a dry cloth and blot the dirt stain repeatedly. After a few moments, blot dry with a clean cloth. Next, saturate the area with warm water, blot repeatedly and allow to air dry.

Glue in carpet

Did that last arts-and-crafts project leave behind an unsightly reminder? Try this tip from This Old House: apply rubbing alcohol with a dry cloth or cotton ball, then wipe the area clean and repeat as needed.

Ink stain in carpet

An exploding pen is every carpet owner’s worst nightmare. To prevent an ink stain from becoming a permanent reminder, start by pre-treating it with ammonia and then follow up with a thorough steam cleaning.


Flickering candles are great for adding romantic ambiance, but not so great when melting wax gets stuck to your carpet. Before you reach for the scissors, try this time-tested trick: Run a hot iron over the wax to liquefy it, and then try transferring it to a cloth or piece of paper.

Coffee stain in carpet

If drinking it doesn’t do the trick, spilling coffee on carpet is sure to wake you up. To prevent a coffee stain from settling in, treat it right away with a mixture of vinegar and dishwasher detergent.

Gravy and mayonnaise stain

When these grease-based condiments find their way off your plate and onto the carpet, apply some mild detergent to a cloth and blot the stain. After the area has dried, repeat as necessary. Next, rinse with warm water and absorb any remaining moisture with a dry cloth.

If those difficult stains just won’t budge, it may be time to replace your carpet. That’s where we can help. To request a free consultation or speak with one of our carpet specialists, call 770-575-8534 or send us an email.