If you are looking for safe and effective methods and products to remove some of the most difficult stains on carpet, I got you covered! Today I’m sharing my favorite products and methods to remove stains, speaking from years of experience growing up cleaning carpets for our family business, and as a homeowner.
This post is a companion post to My Favorite Upholstery Cleaning Tips. Similar methods are used revolving around using carbonation in cleaning, but in this post I will cover a couple more products to get rid of difficult carpet stains.
As I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in a family that owned a professional carpet cleaning franchise for 20 years. I would go with my dad or brothers and clean upholstery and carpets in hundreds of people’s homes. I know, from experience, what store-bought products and home remedies that don’t work, as we were called to clean up after them, or try to improve damaged carpets.
The main method that we used and I still use and believe in, utilizes carbonation. When you combine hot water (which relaxes carpet fibers) and carbonation (which brings particles to the surface), and the right cleaning ingredients, you are able to extract stains and dirt in a very safe, healthy, and effective way.
Watch the full video tutorial below on how I clean stains out of carpet and what products I use.
I created a picture collage below of the same basic steps outlined in the video, but when cleaning a dirt stain from carpet. This stain likely came from something liquid and sticky that dripped on the carpet, and attracted dirt to it.
Step 1: Dilute Stain with Water
Illustrated in these pictures, I chose to start with sparkling water to dilute and clean up as much as I could. Normally I use very warm tap water to dilute a stain that is already dried. The heat from the water relaxes the carpet fibers and allows the stain to release easier.
However, with a basic dirt spot, I knew wanted to show how much dirt comes up with just sparkling water. Once you pour it on (or spray it), press it into the spot with your fingers. Then use a clean cotton rag to light scrub the spot(s), moving to a new area of the rag as soon as one area gets dirty.
Step 2: Spray with Diluted Stain Remover
In a spray bottle, dilute laundry stain remover (not detergent) with water, using a ratio of 4:1 (4 parts water and 1 part laundry stain remover). Spray this mixture on the spot. Scrub the area with a clean cotton rag, moving to new areas on the rag as you go.
After scrubbing until you don’t see any more dirt on the rag, you are ready for step 3. FYI, sometimes I have to spray a stubborn stain a couple times before it looks clean enough to move onto the next step.
Step 3: Spray with Sparkling Water & Vinegar
To remove the laundry stain remover residue and to get deeper dirt out, get another spray bottle and mix 2:1 ratio of sparkling water (club soda) and white vinegar. The vinegar breaks down the suds in the laundry stain remover and the carbonation in the sparkling water will bring deep dirt to the surface as well as the stain remover residue. Spray the sparkling water and vinegar mix onto the spot. Scrub until you don’t see anymore suds and the rag is completely clean from dirt or stains.
The result is a very clean, residue-free carpet. One way to ensure you got everything out is to rub your fingers over the carpeted area and listen for any “soapy” sounds and notice if anything feels slimy. If it does, you know you still have the laundry stain remover residue still there and need to spray more of the sparkling water/vinegar mixture on. Scrub until the cotton rag is not pulling anymore dirt out, and is clean.
Let dry completely before you walk on it, as anything wet will attract dirt a little.
The other alternative method I used in the video is using professional grade products, but still utilizing carbonation. I have not heard of any other carpet cleaning product on the market that uses carbonation besides this one and it is available on Amazon or directly from a local Chem Dry Franchise.
For the professional grade products the steps are much easier:
Step 1: Dilute stain with water
Diluting the stain with warm water (if it’s fresh) or hot water (if it’s dried) and blotting/scrubbing with a clean cotton rag removes loose particles and prevent them from being ground further into the carpet. What is left is what you need to actually clean with the professional grade product.
Step 2: Spray Chem Dry Carpet Stain Extinguisher on the Spot
This is best used for general stains, as it is an all-purpose stain remover. It is all natural, non-toxic, leaves no dirt-attracting residue, no chemicals or harsh solvents, and it is Green Certified. It has carbonation already in it, which is why it is in an aerosol can.
Step 3: Let the Product Sit on the Spot for 30 Seconds- 1 Min.
This allows the carbonation to work deeper in the carpet fibers.
Step 3: Scrub the Spot Using a Clean Cotton Rag
Make sure to use clean parts of the rag as soon as one area gets dirty. This is imperative so that you aren’t rubbing the dirt or stain back into the carpet.
Step 5: Repeat Until Stain is Gone
Your rag should come out clean (but wet) when it is done. Note, that this product is highly carbonated, so it is normal for there to be a white-looking foam when you spray it and scrub initially. This dies down over time as the carbonation dissipates, and the feel of the rug should be clean, not sudsy or slimy to the touch.
For oil-based stains or grease stains like makeup, lipstick, grease, crayons, I highly recommend using:
It also is Green Certified, and works best with fresh oil or grease stains but works wonderful on older, dried ones as well.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions about cleaning stains about carpet, please leave them below and I will do my best to answer them!