How Can I Remove Old Stains from Carpet

Have you ever rearranged your furniture purely to cover a carpet stain?

There’s lots of advice readily available for removing stains from carpet – and most of it highlights the importance of getting onto the problem FAST!

But what about when you have an older stain – or the dreaded ancient stain? Can I Remove Old Stains from Carpet– or are you stuck with them?

All carpet stains are frustrating. After all, carpet costs a lot of money, and it is not simple or feasible (or affordable) to replace when it becomes stained – especially when there is just a problem spot here and there.

Remove old stains from carpetFurthermore, different types of stains have different recommendations for eliminating them – so what happens when you have literally no idea what the cause of the old stain was?

Can Old Stains Be Removed from Carpet?

Yes! With the right approach, most carpet stains can be removed – even old ones.

The trick itself is quite simple: you must re-hydrate the stain and bring it back to life in order to remove it.

Soda water (carbonated) is great for this purpose.

No matter what the original cause, stains will be either water-soluble or non-water-soluble.

Water-soluble stains tend to be easier to clean – including mud, jam, food dye, soft drinks, berries, milk.

Non-water-soluble stains include pet and toddler messes (i.e., urine, feces, vomit), blood, coffee, wine, mustard, and chocolate. If you don’t know what caused the stain, it may be a trial and error process to effectively remove it.

For Carpet Cleaning You need to keep:

  • Baking Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
  • Gentle Dish Soap
  • 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Distilled White Vinegar
  • Soda Water
  • Old white towels or microfiber cloths
  • Spray bottle

4 Basic Rules to

Remove Old Stains from Carpet:

  1. Never scrub a carpet stain: This will only spread it and push it deeper into the carpet fibers – and even into the carpet padding.
  2. Work the stain from the outside in: This will help keep the stained area contained.
  3. Always test your cleaning medium on an inconspicuous area: This ensures that if it bleaches or otherwise damages the carpet, it won’t be as obvious and you’ll know before you tackle the stain with it.
  4. Use a white towel/cloth: Never try to clean a carpet with a colored cloth or towel, as this may transfer dye onto the carpet and make the problem even worse.

4 Tips How To Remove Old Stains from Carpet

Patience is key when it comes to removing an old stain.

  1. Water + Dish Soap – this is safe for wool-blend carpets and will not stain them. Mix 1 cup of water (room temperature) with a small drizzle of gentle dish soap. Using a white microfiber cloth or towel, work it into the stain but don’t soak the carpet as you don’t want the pad underneath to get wet. After a few minutes, use fresh water and a clean cloth to blot the stain and remove the soap from the carpet.


  1. Water + Dish Soap + White Vinegar – mix 2 cups of room temperature water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 tablespoon of dish soap to remove food dye, juice, and similar stains. Follow the steps in Step 1. This is great for coffee/tea/cola stains.


  1. Vinegar + Baking Soda*test on a hidden area first* – sprinkle dry baking soda over the stain and mix 1 cup of white vinegar with 1 cup of water and a drizzle of dish soap in a spray bottle. Shake and spray the stain. It will foam on contact with the baking soda. Leave to set for a few hours and vacuum when dry. This works well for grease-based stains.


  1. Ammonia + Water – to break down stains caused by blood, vomit, coffee, chocolate, mustard, and wine, use a solution of 1 tablespoon of ammonia per 1 cup of water. Do not use ammonia on wool or wool blend carpets.


Cleaning carpet stainTips for Specific Stain Types in Carpet

  • Urine – must be removed using vinegar first to neutralize the odor and clean the stain. Never use heat on these stains in particular.


  • Red wine stains may be broken down with white wine. Then use water + dish soap to blot the stain. You may also cover the stain with baking soda or salt, allow it to dry, and vacuum. Then spot clean as per step 1.


  • Hydrogen peroxide very effectively breaks down blood – just be sure to spot check first to ensure it does not bleach your carpet. This will also help to remove nail polish or ink.


  • Mud/Dirt – let them dry first, then vacuum the stain. Use dish soap/water as described above – add a little hydrogen peroxide to the mix if required.


  • Grease – sprinkle with baking soda, allow to sit for 5 hours, then use mentholated spirits to blot the stain.


If all else fails, call a professional carpet cleaner to use commercial strength solutions to remove serious stains.

Natural cleaners are the safest for your kids, pets, and carpet – so try to avoid using chemical cleaners wherever possible. If you do call professionals, try to find one who takes a green approach to carpet cleaning