15 Ways to Remove Difficult Stains From Your Carpet

Roses are red, violets are blue but your carpet seems to be the only place in this world where someone can find a complete collection of vivid colours… It may have started off as a soft, beige carpet but only a year later touches of red (wine), mustard yellow and chocolate brown have probably already been added to your living room’s carpet pallet.

It’s true that we don’t always treat our carpets with the care and respect that we should – we step and sit on them every day, but when it comes to cleaning them most of us believe that a vacuum every once in a while is enough. And when a difficult stain appears, then we think it’s time to replace them (or cover the stain with a mat). So here are fifteen easy ways to remove difficult stains from your carpets on your own, instead of searching for that magic one that never gets dirty!

To begin with…

Blot up the stain

Don’t panic. The first thing to do when a glass of red wine or a cup of hot chocolate is spilled over your carpet is to get a clean, soft cloth and gently blot up as much of the stain as you can (blot carefully and don’t scrub, as you don’t want to spread the stain even more or push it further down into the carpet’s fibres).


You can try blotting the stain using just cold water and a sponge, but you can also add ¼ of vinegar to 1 part of water. Put the mixture into a sprayer and spray over the area. Cover with an absorbent white cloth or kitchen paper and apply some weight on top (you can use heavy books or a table). Leave for 6-8 hours and repeat if necessary. This is not the most effective solution for all cases, but sometimes it’s the simplest things that can get the best results.

Use a carpet shampoo

If you have a carpet shampoo or stain remover available try to remove the stain using them. If you don’t – or if this first attempt hasn’t been successful – you can use some of our grandmas’ old tricks below.

Pour some salt on your carpet’s wound

This is a trick that never gets old; if the stain is still wet pour some salt on it to cover it completely. Leave until the stain dries and then vacuum. The salt will have absorbed a big part of the stain, making it easier for you to finish off using a carpet cleaner or one of the following methods.

White wine on red wine

Although it might seem as the most unorthodox solution, pouring some white wine over a red wine stain and blotting with a clean cloth might actually help, when the stain is still wet!

Club soda

Pour some club soda on the stain and leave it for 5-6 minutes. Use a cloth, a sponge or even an old toothbrush to absorb both the club soda and the stain!

…And a few more drastic solutions

Baking soda and water

Use some cold water to soak the stained area. Use a clean cloth to remove as much of the stain as you can and when no more of it comes out mix 1 part of baking soda with 3 parts of water and apply on the stain. Leave until it dries and then use your vacuum to remove what’s left of the stain.

Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda

Spray over the stained area with hydrogen peroxide and then pour a small quantity of baking soda -enough to cover the area. Leave for 4 to 5 minutes and then remove with a wet cloth.

Hydrogen Peroxide and soap

Mix 1 part of hydrogen peroxide with 1 part of liquid soap (make sure it is suitable for use on fabrics). Put the mixture in a sprinkler and spray over the stained area. Wait for 1-2 minutes and then using a dry, clean cloth or a sponge mop rub gently until the stain is removed.

Beer over coffee

I know that this sounds like the right decision for an evening, but it’s also the right move if you accidentally spilled coffee or tea on your carpet! Just pour a small quantity of beer on the stain, leave for 2-3 minutes and then rub it off lightly with a soft cloth or an old toothbrush.


Dilute ½ cup of ammonia in 1 litre of warm water, apply on the stain and let it dry. If the stain is not removed completely, repeat once more.

The vinegar and liquid detergent solution

Use a mixture of ¼ warm water, ½ teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Make sure that you use a non-bleach and non-alkali detergent. Dip a clean, absorbent cloth or a sponge into the mixture and blot up the stain. At the end, use a wet cloth to rinse off with water and a dry one to absorb as much of the humidity as possible. Leave until completely dry. Another variation of this solution suggests mixing 2 cups of warm water with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. You can try both and see which one has the best results on your carpet!

Another liquid detergent solution

Dissolve ¼ teaspoon of liquid detergent to 1 cup of warm water. Use a clean cloth or a sponge mop to gently scrub the area that is stained. If the results are not as you expected, alter the proportion slightly (try ½ teaspoon of detergent to 1 cup of water). When it’s dry, use your vacuum to remove any residue.

Yet another vinegar solution

Mix vinegar and baking soda in equal proportions to form a thick mixture and then add as much warm water as it is needed to turn into a thin liquid. Dip a sponge or a clean cloth and scrub gently on the stain to blot it up.

Hire a carpet cleaner

Whether you have to deal with a persistent stain on your carpet or you just realised that you have neglected it for too long, hiring a carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets is always the best move to get them to look as good as new! Start by removing as many furniture as possible and then vacuum to remove any loose dirt or pile. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on which cleaning solution to use as well as on how to use the carpet cleaner. Below you can watch our instructional video on how to use a carpet cleaner to deep clean your carpets but also your sofas or any other soft furniture!

A few last tips
  • It’s always more effective to deal with a stain immediately, before it dries.
  • Always test any mixture or product in an inconspicuous corner of your carpet to make sure that it won’t leave a stain or lead to discolouration.
  • Don’t over scrub your carpet when trying to clean a spot; this way the carpet’s fibres are destroyed.
  • Avoid circular moves as you may end up spreading the stain in a wider area.
  • Work from the outside of a stain inwards, and not the opposite, to avoid spreading.
  • Don’t use more water than is actually needed to rinse, since this way you risk ending up with mouldy carpet and a weird smell in your living room.
  • Do not alter the recommended proportions for each mixture.
  • Always follow the safety instructions on cleaning fluids, detergents and cleaning machines.
  • You can speed up the drying process by using a hairdryer!
  • If you are trying to deal with an old, solid stain, you can use a blunt knife to scrape up the excess. Be careful to keep your moves soft so as not to destroy your carpet’s fibres.

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About the Author

Lauren King

Lauren works in our Ecommerce Team, with over 6 years of experience at HSS. She brings product knowledge and is able to give her advice on the right tool for the job no matter how big or small.

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