5 most common stains on carpet

by Happy Clean

Carpets are a great addition to any home or work environment. They are aesthetically pleasing ...


Carpets are a great addition to any home or work environment. They are aesthetically pleasing and deliver a level of comfort and warmth that hard flooring simply can’t beat. The multitude of colours and designs available on the market along with prices that match any budget, make carpet the most common choice of flooring.

Either you prefer a full carpeted house or just some nice rugs that enhance the appearance of your rooms, you most probably had to deal with dirt or stains. One of the most obvious disadvantage of this type of flooring, is that carpets get dirty, and occasionally, stained. Thankfully, most messes can be cleaned up from a carpet successfully. As long as you have a good hoover and a few basic cleaning agents, you should be able to remove the stains and save your precious floor coverings from the scrapheap.

Stains are annoying to scrub out, however with the right technique and some ingredients you probably already have on hand, you can accomplish anything. This holds true for any common carpet stains no matter if it’s pet urine or ink. The difference between a spill and a stain is time. Therefore, the faster you act, the greater the chance to prevent a spillage from becoming a permanent stain. After you determine whether your carpet is made of synthetic or natural fibres, you can follow our guide below, to find out which combination of ingredients is right for your type of carpet and stain.

Coffee stains

Coffee stains

We all love coffee, especially in the morning! What we don’t like, are coffee stains on the carpet. Unless immediate action is taken, the spillage will turn into a yellow-brown permanent stain.  So what can you do?

The moment the accident happens, blot the excess up with paper towels or a microfiber cloth. It is very important to avoid the urge to scrub, as this will only make things worse. Once the excess is removed dip a white cloth into a homemade detergent/vinegar solution and dab repeatedly, then press the cloth on the spot for a few seconds. It takes some time to break down the stain, so you might want to wait around 15 min before soaking up the excess liquid with a clean towel. You can rinse the area by blotting a clean cloth soaked in lukewarm water. After that, sprinkle the carpet with baking soda. It’s best to leave the stain for few hours or overnight. After you vacuum the powder, assess the stain. As long as you see the stain lightening, repeat these steps until it is gone. If the carpet is particularly light, you might need to use a non-bleach detergent as well. However, consult the cleaning instructions that came with your carpet first. If you proceed, treat a small test area first.


  • If the carpet manufacturer allows it, you can use a little ammonia or rubbing alcohol.
  • If you have a polypropylene carpet, you might be able to use a weak bleach solution. Alternatively, swift action with a steam mop might deliver results.
  • For bad spills, place a half-inch-thick stack of white paper towels over the stain after you apply the detergent/ vinegar mix, then lay a glass baking dish on top for 15 minutes.
  • For a nicer smell after cleaning, you can add several drops of your favourite essential oil.

DIY solutions for synthetic carpets:

Detergent solution: Mix ¼ teaspoon of a translucent liquid dishwashing detergent, into one cup of lukewarm water.

Vinegar solution: Mix one cup of white vinegar with two cups of water.

Solvent solution: Use an oil solvent, or substitute nail polish remover.

DIY solutions for natural fibres carpets:

Detergent solution: Mix one teaspoon of translucent liquid dishwashing detergent, into 1 cup of lukewarm water.

Vinegar solution: Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of water.

Ammonia solution: Mix one tablespoon of clear household ammonia with ½ cup of lukewarm water.

Solvent solution: Same as for synthetic carpets (see above).

Wine stains

Wine stains

I am sure you are familiar with those pictures on the internet showing a glass of red wine spilled over a white carpet. They are very distressing, aren’t they? Imagine that happening in your living room. Not funny at all, huh? Luckily, there are some things you could do to remove the nasty stain and save your carpet.  Again, swift action is the key to successful removal of the wine stain.

Start by blotting any excess up with a paper towel or a clean cloth. Then, get a bottle of tonic water and cover the stain with it! The bubbles should break up the emerging stain before it really takes hold. Blot away the tonic water and spray the stain with some vinegar mixture. Repeat the blotting process, and then cover the area with baking soda. Let it sit for a while and after that vacuum the carpet thoroughly. 

Blood stains

Blood Stains

Believe it or not, blood stains are quite common. Either your little one has a boo’ boo, or an accident happened in the kitchen, we all had to deal at some point with a blood stain.

The same as with other type of stains, you need to deal with it as fast as possible. Otherwise, even the smallest amount of blood can cause a permanent brown stain. The first thing you should do is spray the stain with cold water. Blood coagulates with heat, so don’t use hot water as this could help set up the stain. Once you’ve wet the area, create a mix of cold water and dish detergent. Thoroughly coat the stain and dab it dry. Rinse it with clean cold water, and blot again. Keep repeating these steps, and you should start to see the blood stain gradually disappear.

Ink stains

Ink stains

Ink is very difficult to remove from carpets, especially from natural fibres such as wool. Difficult, but not impossible!

For ballpoint ink stain, apply a small amount of solvent to a white cloth, then blot. The best choice of solvent is rubbing alcohol, but if you don’t have any, use a little nail polish remover or hairspray. Just make sure you consult the carpet manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines before proceeding. Give the alcohol-based solution you use around an hour of contact time, and gently blot it with a slightly damp microfiber cloth.

For permanent felt- tip marker, use same type of solvent! Apply it with a clean cloth and let it dry. After that, dab the affected area repeatedly, with a towel dipped in detergent solution. Let it sit for a while, then soak up the excess liquid and rinse it.

Pet stains

pet stains

All pet owners know that accidents happen. Either their stomach is upset or they forgot to use the litter, usually the disaster strikes on the softest, deepest and most expensive carpet in the house. J

The first step is to remove the mess as best as you can. This involves either carefully scooping up poo or blotting urine. In either case, it’s vital that you don’t scrub. Doing so will simply spread the mess around and deepen the stain. After that, spray the area with detergent solution. Allow a few minutes of contact time, then blot it dry again with clean towels. Create another mix of water and vinegar, and apply it on the affected area. After a few minute, blot the carpet dry and sprinkle lots of baking soda. This will absorb both the odour and any remaining moisture. You can also sprinkle a few drops of your favourite essential oil on the stain. This will provide temporary masking until the smell dissipates. The final job is to vacuum the entire area thoroughly.

These are 5 most common stains on carpet. They are followed closely by oil and grease stain, as well as chewing gum. In case of oil stains, use a solvent solution to dab the area repeatedly and rinse it with lukewarm water. For chewing gum one of the most popular removal methods is with ice. Put some ice cubes in a sandwich bag, and place them on top of the chewing gum. After 30 minutes, lift them off, and start gently peeling the hardened gum from the carpet at the edges. The hairspray has the same effect.

No matter what type of stain the most important and efficient thing you could do, is to act fast. However, don’t panic and start spraying the area with all the cleaning products you have in the house. This will only transform a spillage into a permanent stain. A homemade detergent/ vinegar solution is most of the time enough. Also remember not to scrub the area, but to blot it with clean paper towels or cloths. Another great option is to avail of professional services. Carpet cleaning companies are fast and highly efficient as their agents are trained and they are using professional cleaning products and machines. Don’t forget to check their rating and reviews to make sure you won’t be disappointed. Happy Clean is the best rated carpet cleaner in Dublin!

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