The 5 worst stains on a carpet, and how to clean them

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Carpet and rug owners know that not all stains are created equal.

Nothing scares an owner more than a glass of red wine falling on the floor or a new puppy squatting on an immaculate patch of carpet.

Knowing how to remove stains from carpets is a valuable skill.

Not all rugs are machine washable, so you must get creative when tackling carpet stains.

Some types of stains come off easily, while others require a lot of elbow grease and unique cleaning solutions.

And then there are nightmare stains, those old stains that won’t go away no matter what you do.

Here are five of the most common types of carpet stains and how to clean them.

1. Red

carpet red wine stain
red wine is spilled on a carpet. reverse glass and all related

wine Red wine is delicious in a glass, but less so when spilled on your carpet.

Materials needed:

  • Microfiber
  • cloths White vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Sponges
  • Hydrogen peroxide

If red wine spills, clean it up immediately. Use a clean cloth to blot the area. You can use plain water or a solution of one tablespoon of white vinegar, one tablespoon of dish soap, and two cups of hot water.

If you use the solution, be sure to mop the carpet with water afterwards – no one likes a floor that smells of vinegar.

If that doesn’t work, try a very strong solution of one part dishwashing liquid and two parts hydrogen peroxide. Test it first to make sure it doesn’t bleach your carpet. Wipe it with a damp cloth after use.

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2. Pet Stains

stain dog rug
Cute puppy sitting on carpet near wet spot

Fortunately, fresh pet stains are usually easy to remove.

Supplies Needed:

  • Pet Odor Neutralizer and
  • Bissell Little Green Pro

We love our cats and dogs, but we don’t really love their…messes. Fortunately, fresh pet stains are usually easy to remove.

Absorb as much of the liquid as possible with newspaper or towels, then wash the area with cold water. We recommend that you follow up with a store-bought cleaner or odor neutralizer.

Avoid cleaning tools that heat the carpet, as they will only set the stain. Try moistening the area, then put an enzymatic cleanser in a spray bottle and spray it on the area. Let sit overnight, then absorb the liquid with paper towels.

For tough stains, try a carpet shampooer like the Bissell Little Green Pro that picks up deep-rooted stains.

3. Blood

Hands in rubber gloves cleaning carpet with sponge and detergent

Enzyme cleaners are great for helping clean stubborn blood stains.

Supplies Needed:

  • Dishwashing soap
  • Microfiber
  • cloths Hydrogen peroxide
  • Multi-purpose enzymatic cleaner

A wound, no matter how small, is bad enough without the added stress of staining your carpet.

To remove the blood stain from the carpet, dab the stain with a solution of one tablespoon of dish soap and two cups of cold water. (Hot water can set protein stains like blood.) When you’re done, soak up the liquid with a dry cloth. Repeat the process until the stain is gone.

If you still don’t see results, you can moisten the remaining stain with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide. Do a spot check to make sure it doesn’t lighten your carpet. You can leave the hydrogen peroxide on the stain for up to an hour, then dab with a cloth.

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We’ve also had success with enzymatic cleaners – they work wonders for cleaning anything from a living body.

4. Old stains

old carpet stains
Close-up Of Vacuum Cleaner With Foam Over Wet Carpet

Old carpet stains are some of the hardest to deal with, you may need some help.

Supplies needed:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Professional-grade carpet
  • cleaner Carpet cleaner

Any stain can be impossible to remove if you leave it alone long enough. Old carpet stains are some of the hardest to deal with.

In the end, it all comes down to the nature of the task, how long it lasts, and how much effort you’re willing to put in.

Hydrogen peroxide and store-bought cleaners can be very effective. Wet vacuums can also suck up a significant amount of compacted dirt molecules. The Bissell ProHeat 2X Revolution Pet looks like an upright vacuum, but it first uses a cycle of cleaning products on the task and then sucks up all the dirt.

5. Bleach

bleach stain on carpet
people, housework and housekeeping concept – close up of woman in rubber gloves with cloth and detergent spray cleaning carpet at home

Bleach is a nightmare for carpet fibers.

Supplies needed:

  • Vinyl gloves
  • Dish soap

Bleach comes in handy when cleaning our towels or the toilet bowl. However, it is a nightmare for carpet fibers.

The sooner you take action, the better the outcome. Protect your hands with gloves and soak up the stain with a cloth (a cloth you’re comfortable with bleaching, like a white towel). Use a combination of dish soap and water to dab the stain from the outside in to avoid spreading it.

Unlike most other stains, bleach will lighten the stain on your carpet. If it has already started to take effect, the best you can hope for is to hide the mark on the mat with a strategically placed couch.

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