The 8 Hardest Stains to Remove From a Carpet (2023)

Of course in an ideal world, you’d never drop anything on your carpet in the first place, but we’re dealing with real life here. Some substances are relatively easy to remove, others are more challenging. Also included are some tips on the immediate actions you should take if you’re unfortunate enough to spill any of the following on your floor coverings.

According to carpet cleaning professionals, these are the 8 hardest stains to remove from a carpet:

1) Blood

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Obviously, your first priority will be to deal with the person who’s bleeding. Once this is done turn your first aid attention to your carpet. Blot up the blood using paper kitchen towels or soft light coloured cloths. Work from the outside of the stain towards the centre. The use COLD water with a little dishwashing liquid added. Never use hot water on blood stains, you’ll just cause them to set.

2) Red wine

As with blood, start by blotting up surface liquid. Then use a mixture of water and white wine vinegar to work from the edge of the stain towards the centre. It’s better to be patient and apply small amounts of your cleaning solution repeatedly than to soak the carpet in one go. Doing the latter could spread the stain and damage the carpet backing.

3) Other coloured drinks

Iron bru has a particularly bad reputation among professional carpet cleaners, but any drink with added dyes in it will present a challenge. Your first step should be to treat the liquid as if it was red wine, but you may require the help of an expert who can test and apply a specialist dye remover.

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4) Coffee

Blot excess liquid then use a water and white vinegar mix to work from the outside of the stain to the centre. Remember to change your cloth frequently so you don’t spread the stain or reintroduce the coffee back into the carpet.

5) Ink

The recommended stain remover for ink is isopropyl alcohol (most nail polish removers are made of this). You should apply this to a cloth first then use the cloth to gently blot the stain. Since the alcohol might damage the carpet or remove dye in it, it’s best to test on an inconspicuous area first. If in doubt call on a professional carpet cleaning company to assess the situation and use specialist products to try and save your rug.

6) Animal urine

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In fact, any urine… but the most common culprit for this problem is generally your not yet trained puppy. One thing to remember about urine is that it’s acidic and if not attended to promptly will bleach colour from your carpet or turn it yellow. Baking soda will absorb the liquid, neutralise the acid and mask any unpleasant odour as well. Blot up excess liquid, apply baking soda leave for 15 minutes then vacuum up.

7) Other bodily fluids

Remove solids like dog mess or vomit using gloves and paper towels or light coloured cleaning cloths, then treat the area as if it was a urine stain. Again, baking soda will absorb and neutralise unpleasant odours. You may need to follow up your immediate cleaning with a professionalcleansing of the whole carpet, to remove any lingering offending substances,

8) Cooking oil

Few of us are brave enough to have carpets in the kitchen but oil from a cruet set can get spilled on a carpet and is very difficult to remove. You’ll need an enzyme-based cleaner to remove oil and possibly a steam or hot water extraction process too.

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Golden Rules of Carpet Stain Removal
• Act fast – The longer the substance is on the carpet the more it will soak into the fibres and the harder it is to remove
• Test cleaning products – In an inconspicuous area before applying them to a carpet stain in the centre of your room
• Blot don’t scrub – Scrubbing just forces the stain deeper into the carpet
• If in doubt – Call a professional carpet cleaning company, they’ll advise you on anyimmediate action you should take.

And Finally…
Your chances of totally removing a stain depend as much on what kind of carpet you have as on what was spilled on it. Not every stain can be totally removed from every carpet, but with the prompt correct action, it’s always possible to greatly reduce the damage and often it is possible to prevent permanent discolouration.

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What are the worst carpet stains? ›

The 4 Worst Things to Spill on Your Carpet
  1. Moisture and Water. Water exposure can cause a rug to rot, so swift action is essential. ...
  2. Pet Stains. Pet stains leave a foul odor behind and even bleach carpet and rugs. ...
  3. Ultraviolet Light. ...
  4. Paint Spills and Chemical Treatments.
May 8, 2019

What are the 8 methods of stain removal? ›

In this chapter, we discuss eight physical stain-removal techniques: brushing, flushing, freezing, presoaking, pretreating, scraping, sponging, and tamping. Which technique to use in treating a particular spot or stain depends upon both the nature of the stain and the type of surface stained.

What stains are permanent on carpet? ›

Certain types of fibers, such as wool, cotton, silk, and some nylons are particularly susceptible to permanent staining from coffee, tea, wine, etc. Be aware of hot liquids, especially. Of course, bleach and household chemicals (see below) can cause permanent staining as well.

How do you get 20 year old stains out of carpet? ›

Try Baking Soda + Vinegar

Sprinkle a layer of dry baking soda on the stain. Then, mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. The vinegar will foam when it hits the baking soda which will clean the stain.

What stains are permanent? ›

Below are common stains that can highly cause “permanent” stain and suggestions how to remove / lighten the mark.
  • Watermark. Watermarks are often seen on soft furnishings like carpet, sofa and mattress after flooding or caused by leaking air conditioner. ...
  • Red Wine Stain. ...
  • Curry Stain.

Can some stains never be removed? ›

The short answer is unfortunately no, not all stains can be removed, and here are three reasons why. The longer a stain is left untreated, the less likely it is to be removed.

Can some stains be permanent? ›

Unfortunately for everyone, some stains are permanent. They simply become part of the fabric. Continued attempts to remove them will cause dye loss or fabric damage, known as chafing or fraying.

How do you remove unknown set in stains? ›

Mix 1 tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with enzymes with 1 cup of water. Add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar and stir. Use a Dobie All Purpose Cleaning Pad to apply the detergent-vinegar mixture to your unidentified stain. Blot with the pad until the stain is gone.

Which stains are easier to remove? ›

While large stains may require professional help, smaller ink stains on clothes are easier to remove than most people think. Here's what you need to do: Place paper towels under the fabric (enough to absorb a good amount of moisture).

What are the 5 common stains? ›

Now that you're ready, here's how to break down the 8 most common laundry stains:
  • Blood Stains. ...
  • Coffee Stains. ...
  • Grass Stains. ...
  • Grease Stains. ...
  • Ink Stains. ...
  • Ketchup/Sauce Stains. ...
  • Sweat Stains. ...
  • Wine Stains.

What are the three types of carpet stains? ›

Most stains fall into one of three categories: water-based, oil-based, or protein-based stains, depending on the makeup of the liquid or item that caused the stain. For example, most beverages like milk, soda, wine, and juice are water-based. Most inks are water-based, as well as latex paints.

What does hydrogen peroxide do to carpet stains? ›

Hydrogen peroxide has many uses, but it is most commonly known as a disinfectant or bleaching agent. When used on carpets and rugs, it can help to remove stains and dirt. Its chemical formula is H₂O₂.

Why do carpet stains keep coming back? ›

There are two primary causes of carpet re-spotting: Wicking and Residue. One originates below the carpet fibers, in the backing or pad of the carpet. The other originates in the carpet fibers themselves. Stains that resurface as a result of wicking originate below the carpet fibers.

What material is the most stain resistant? ›

Of all the natural fibers, says Brookstein, the most stain resistant is wool because it contains lanolin, a natural oil that repels liquids.

What color is most stain resistant? ›

Dark brown carpet, in particular, is the best color to have if you need to conceal any number of stains, from red wine to dirt.

What is the powerful stain removing ingredient? ›

Hydrogen Peroxide is a powerful DIY stain remover that can safely be used on your laundry. It works for tough grass stains and blood stains!

Are oil stains impossible to get out? ›

Are oil stains permanent? They can be. The trick is to blot them quickly and treat them quickly. The longer you wait, the more likely they are to be permanent.


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