How to get stains out of carpet—six common stains and how to clean them

Mastering how to get stains out of carpet can be a tricky task to get right, but acting fast is important

Blue spotty carpet with blue spotty shoes
(Image credit: Getty)

Our guide to how to get stains out of carpet will help you maintain its condition with ease. It's pretty much inevitable—if you've got carpet in your home, eventually, you will end up with an unsightly stain. You or a guest spills a glass of wine, kids tramp through the house with muddy boots on, and pets do their thing. No matter what, the end result is an ugly spot on your formerly pristine carpet. 

With most stains—whether it's coffee, red wine, or mud that's made a mess on your carpet—it's important to act quickly. Vacuuming alone won't be enough to remove stubborn marks, but trying one of the below methods will help lift even the toughest of stains. 

If you have a bloodstain, you will find five useful methods to remove it in our guide to how to clean blood out of carpet. While you're at it, you may find it good to know how to clean walls to remove stains and marks on those, too.

Six common carpet stains—and how to deal with them

Depending on the type of stain, you'll need a different strategy to avoid permanent marks. You'll find that everything listed in our guide on how to get stains out of carpet is already in your cleaning cupboard or available at your local grocery store, making these DIY methods both easy and quick to execute.

Removing coffee stains from carpet

Spilling a hot mug of coffee on a white or cream carpet can feel like a complete disaster, but if you act quickly it's not as difficult to remove the stain as you might think. Try this home remedy to remove coffee stains, fast. 

  1. Blot the stain with a clean dish towel to lift out the stain, working from the outside in.
  2. Apply a cleaning solution of one part white vinegar, one part liquid dish soap, and two parts warm water. Use a clean cloth to blot on the solution, working from the outside in. 
  3. Rinse with cold water, blotting out the moisture with the kitchen roll or cloth. 
  4. Let the carpet air dry. 

Removing red wine stains from carpet

Red wine is probably one of the worst types of stains unless you happen to have a red carpet. Nevertheless, we can offer you a couple of different techniques to try if you've had an unfortunate incident with your glass of vino.

  1. Gently blot up any excess wine with a paper towel. Don't press too hard. You want to avoid pushing the wine further into the carpet's fibers. 
  2. After you have blotted it as much as possible, cover the entire stain with salt. Leave the salt to soak up the stain, and let the area dry completely.
  3. Once dried, you can vacuum the entire area, hopefully leaving things looking fresh and clean. 
  4. Another alternative is club soda. The minerals in the club soda have the added benefit of absorbing and breaking up red wine molecules. You can even add some white wine vinegar to make your solution more potent. 

Cleaning urine from carpet

Pet owners and parents of young children can, unfortunately, relate to this one as well. If you're dealing with a urine stain, you're likely going to need to pull out the big guns by purchasing an enzymatic cleaner specifically designed for this type of stain. Many such cleaners are available at pet supply stores. 

First, try blotting the stain with a clean and dry dish towel. Then it's best to follow the individual instructions on the packet for this type of cleaner.

Removing grease stains from carpet

Food spills can be especially tricky when there is grease involved. Luckily, the solution is probably sitting in your kitchen right now. A little baking soda, and vacuum, and a dash of patience are all you need to get that grease stain out of your favorite carpet. Baking soda is also a great ingredient to use when learning how to clean an oven, how to clean a stainless steel sink, and how to clean copper.

  1. Sprinkle the stain liberally with baking soda, making sure that you cover the entire stain.
  2. Use a spray bottle filled with cold water to dampen the baking soda. Just get it moist, not soaking wet. 
  3. Let the baking soda rest overnight to dry completely. It won't work if you rush the process, so patience is key. 
  4. Once dry, vacuum up the baking soda and check on the stain. If it hasn't completely lifted, try the above steps again. 

Removing vomit stains from carpet

We apologize for putting this unpleasant image in your head, but let's face it, vomit happens. This is a particularly common problem if you have babies or pets in the home. Never fear, we've got a solution that should work and get your carpet looking like new.

  1. Remove as much of the vomit off the carpet as you can.
  2. Grab some baking soda or cornstarch and spread it liberally over the area. It should start soaking up the vomit. Let it do its work for 10-15 minutes or so, and then vacuum it up once dry.
  3. Next, mix one tablespoon of mild detergent, one tablespoon of white wine vinegar, and two cups of warm water. Use this solution to gently dab with a clean towel, and continue working away at whatever's left of the stain. 

How to remove chocolate from carpet

Chocolate may be tasty, but it can also be messy. If you've got a chocolate stain on your carpet, tackle it with the following steps. 

  1. First, scrape away as much chocolate as possible. You can re-harden any melted chocolate before scraping by placing a bag filled with ice on top of the spill.
  2. Vacuum the area to remove any extra bits of chocolate.
  3. Mix dishwashing liquid with some water and spray on the area. Then, gently dab up the liquid to lift the chocolate. Repeat as necessary until the stain disappears.

Spills and accidents don't have to ruin your favorite carpet or rug. Just remember to use the cleaning technique needed for each stain, and you'll be able to enjoy your carpet for years to come. 

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on