How to Get Stains Out of Carpet, Rugs and Upholstered Furniture

Coffee cup spilling coffee on rug

Life is messy. Take a moment and remember the day you had that fresh carpet installed or bought that brand new piece of furniture and you swore you’d do everything in your power to keep it clean. Now, years, months, weeks, maybe even days later, inevitably something has gotten in the way.

Perhaps you have kids, pets or a fun group of friends whom you have over for happy hour — whoever or whatever it is, they end up spilling juice or wine or coffee, dragging grass and dirt across the family room, or accidentally including your precious carpet or fabric in their latest crafting project.

You promise yourself you’ll do some research and give the stain a deep cleaning, but you have a career, kids, fitness classes, etc. Before you know it, time has passed, and the quick treatment you attempted has failed, and you find yourself scrubbing, trying desperately to undo the damage.

Life happens, and there’s no way to avoid it. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for unsightly stains or purchase new carpet, rugs or upholstery every time life happens. You can treat stains.

Finding the Right Answer for Your Stains

Stains on carpet, rugs and upholstery are complicated because different stains require different treatment. On top of that, sometimes, regardless of how much you scrub with the do-it-yourself cleaner you found online, the reality is a more powerful piece of cleaning equipment and/or specialized cleanser is necessary to dull or remove the stain.

As a professional cleaning company, we remove stains from carpet, rugs and upholstery every day. We’ve gathered a list of some of the most common stains and how to treat them on carpets and rugs, as well as furniture and upholstery. With immediate attention and the right cleaning techniques, you may be able to remove much of the stain yourself. If you can’t, don’t lose hope — we may be able to help.

Red wine spilled on a beige carpet

How to Get Stains Out of Carpet or a Rug

Carpet and rug stains can be tough to treat, but if you have a plan for each type of stain, you can minimize the amount of work and maximize your results. One of the first things to look into is your carpet or rug warranty. If it’s covered under warranty, there may be precise instructions about what you can and cannot do so you don’t void your warranty. Make sure you know those instructions.

Regardless of what type of stain you’re dealing with, it’s always best to deal with it as quickly as possible and test the solution we’ve recommended on a small section of the carpet or rug that isn’t as visible first, just to make sure it doesn’t cause discoloration.

There are several different types of carpets and rugs, so while our recommendations should be safe for most, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Now that we’ve covered a couple of the basics, let’s get into the specifics for removing some of the most common carpet and rug stains.

Removing Juice and Soft Drink Stains From Carpet

Juice and soft drinks are beverages common among both kids and adults, so it’s no surprise they are one of the most common carpet stains. Removing stains due to these types of spills is pretty straightforward:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water. Add a little bit of liquid dish detergent.
  • Spray the solution on the spot and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Blot dry with a clean, dry towel or cloth.

Getting Rid of Stains From Red Wine and Other Alcoholic Beverages

Now for the adult juice stains — red wine and other alcoholic beverages. You can use the same treatment we reference above, but we also recommend trying these other steps when you’re wondering how to get red wine stains out of carpet:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Pour a little bit of soda water on the stain and blot it up using a clean, damp towel or cloth.
  • Rinse using a clean, wet towel or cloth. Blot dry. Repeat as needed.

If you don’t have soda water on hand, you can also use white wine to blot the stain. Are you someone who suffers from both red wine and pet stains? You can sprinkle kitty litter on the stain and carefully vacuum the litter in place of the initial blotting.

Ridding Carpet of Coffee Stains

As you make your way from the kitchen to the living room with a full cup of coffee, drips and spills are inevitable. Here are a few suggestions to remove coffee stains from carpet:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Mix a solution of equal parts water, vinegar and Dawn detergent. Spray over the area. Rinse, repeat.
  • Get a cleaning solution specifically for treating carpet coffee stains. Make sure to test on a less-visible section of carpet first, to ensure it won’t strip your carpet or rug color.

There are some types of carpets, like Polypropylene, that can handle a mixture of ¼ cup bleach and one and ¾ cups water. Before you try this treatment option, make sure you try it on a small, less-visible piece of carpet, so you don’t end up causing another carpet stain. If you are not sure about your carpet type or if it has darker colors, don’t try the diluted bleach method.

Getting Grass, Mud and Dirt Off Your Carpet or Rug

If you have grass stains on your carpet, you have a few different options. It’s important to note that to treat the grass stains in your carpet, you should use cold water. Here are a few things you can try:

  • Carefully vacuum the area using the handheld extension — the regular motion of the vacuum could spread the stain. Be sure to vacuum up the remaining grass and dirt particles.
  • Mix a solution of ¼ teaspoon of clear mild laundry detergent with one cup of cold water.
  • Soak a clean towel or cloth in the solution, and then begin blotting around the outside of the stain, working your way to the center. Do not rub. Get a clean towel and repeat as needed.
  • Another option is to mix OxiClean diluted with cold water and pour the solution on the stain. Let sit for about five minutes. Rinse and blot dry.

To treat grass stains in your carpet you should use cold water.

Neutralizing Carpet Stains From Ink

Removing ink from carpet and rugs can be challenging. If you move quickly and begin treating the stain immediately, you’ll significantly increase your chances of being successful. When you’re dealing with an ink stain, try the following treatments:

  • Dampen a clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol — they key here is high alcohol content.
  • Dab — do not scrub — it onto the ink stain.
  • Rinse with water. Then blot or vacuum dry.

In addition to isopropyl alcohol, some hairsprays and nail polish removers that are clear work for removing ink. However, they come with a higher risk of discoloring or damaging your carpet — so try a test spot in a hidden corner if you want to take the risk.

Scrubbing Away Blood Stains in Carpet

Blood always seems to be one of the most dreaded stains, and it can be tough to remove. The key when it comes to removing a blood stain is to move fast — usually, the sooner you treat this type of carpet stain, the greater success you’ll have in removing it. Here are some steps you can take to get blood stains out of carpet:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up any remaining blood. Do not scrub.
  • Fill a spray bottle with cold water. Add two teaspoons of clear liquid, grease-fighting dish detergent.
  • Spray the solution so the blood stain is thoroughly soaked. Blot dry, remembering to get a fresh cloth or towel if it becomes saturated with blood. Repeat as needed.
  • OxiClean, mixed with cold water, is another great bleach-free option for removing blood stains. Apply liberally and blot dry. Repeat as needed.

You’ll notice these tips specifically mention the use of cold water — that has a significant purpose. Blood moves through your body with the help of heat, so to prevent blood from moving deeper into your carpet, cold water is used to treat it. Blood stains can be stubborn, but often by repeating one or a combination of these steps, you can remove it.

Person applying a band-aid to a small cut on their finger.

Removing Chocolate Stains From Rugs

Cold water is also used to clean up chocolate carpet or rug stains. Chocolate stain treatments require a couple of extra household items — here’s our list of recommendations:

  • Use a butter knife to scrape off as much chocolate as you can.
  • Then put paper towels over the remaining chocolate.
  • Slowly iron over them, using the lowest non-steam setting. Be sure to keep the paper towels and temperature of the iron steady. The chocolate should begin to attach to the paper towels.
  • For any remaining chocolate, use a carpet stain remover or pour a mixture of ¼ teaspoon white detergent and a cup of room-temperature water. Blot dry.

Cleaning Pet Stains From Carpet

Twenty-two percent of carpet cleaning customers had their carpets cleaned due to stubborn pet stains. Whether you’re potty training a new pet, caring for an older pet, or dealing with accidents somewhere in between, pet stains are some of the worst stains because of their odor. Not only are you worried about getting the visible stain removed, but you also want to make sure the smell is gone. Here are a few steps you can take if you’ve been wondering how to get pet stains out of carpet:

Yellow lab dog sitting on grass with a small blue ball. 22% of carpet cleaning customers had their carpets cleaned due to pet stains.

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Once the spot is dry, moisten it with a carpet stain cleaning product specifically for pet stains and blot dry again.
  • Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water, and spray it liberally on the area. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
  • Blot the area until it is dry.
  • Sprinkle baking soda over the area.
  • Mix a solution of ½ cup 3% hydrogen peroxide and a teaspoon of white mild liquid detergent or dish soap, and pour the solution over the baking soda. Then scrub.
  • Let the area completely dry. Vacuum the spot meticulously.

For those of you wondering how to get dog urine stains out of carpet, there’s an important tip to remember — never use an ammonia-based cleaning product. Why? Because ammonia is in dog urine, so cleaning with an ammonia-based cleaning product could cause another mess in the same area.

Never us an ammonia-based cleaning product to get dog urine stains out of carpet.

Getting Wet/Latex Paint Out of Carpet

For days when the paint canvas extends to your carpet, the key is to catch the paint as soon as possible — while it’s still wet. You can use the following tips to minimize paint damage to your carpet or rug:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Mix a solution of 32 ounces of water and a ¼ teaspoon or nonbleach clear detergent or white vinegar.
  • Soak a clean towel or cloth in the solution.
  • Dab the paint, being very careful not to scrub.

How to Get Common Stains Out of Upholstered Furniture

Treating stains on upholstered furniture is a little bit different than treating carpet or rug stains, but the preliminary rules are similar. If you’re wondering how to get stains out of upholstery or upholstered furniture, treatment options will vary based on the type of stain. However, if you’re treating a stain for the first time on your furniture, make sure you test the solution first on part of the furniture that isn’t highly visible so you can be confident you won’t cause any discoloration.

Fortunately, there is one aspect that makes getting stains out of upholstery a bit easier — upholstery cleaning codes. These codes are usually found on tags located on the side of the furniture, underneath the furniture or underneath the seat cushion.

Here’s a quick recap of the upholstery cleaning codes, just in case they are new to you:

  • W: Use a water-based detergent.
  • S: Use a water-free cleaning product.
  • WS: Use either a water-based detergent or a water-free cleaning product.
  • X: Must be professionally cleaned. You may only vacuum and/or brush.

If you have a piece of furniture with a WS code, you’ve got the best of all four codes because, theoretically, you don’t need to worry about using wet vs. dry cleaners — they should both be safe for you to use. Any of the other codes can get a little bit tricky.

There is not a one-size-fits-all cleaning solution for many of these types of stains, because you must first and foremost consult your upholstery cleaning code. The recommendations we’ve provided below are for upholstered furniture with W and WS cleaning codes. If you have an S code on your furniture tag, you’ll need to treat all stains with a dry cleaning solvent. If you have an X code on your furniture tag, you’ll need to have all of your stains professionally cleaned.

Common upholstery cleaning codes: W- use a water-based detergent; S- Use a water-free cleaning product; WS- Use either a water-based detergent or a water-free cleaning product; X- Must be professionally cleaned. You may only vacuum or brush.

Cleaning Juice & Soft Drink Stains on Furniture

Inevitably you, a family member or a friend will spill a drink while you’re catching up on shows or watching a movie. Here’s what you can do to fight the stain:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Mix a solution of two cups cool water and one tablespoon of liquid dishwashing detergent.

How to Get Red Wine Stains Out of Your Furniture

Ever had an evening when the wine glass just slipped from your fingers? If you’re wondering how to get red wine stains out of a couch, there are a couple of things you can try:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up the remaining liquid. Do not scrub.
  • Pour a small amount of carbonated water directly on the stain. Blot dry. Repeat as needed.
  • Mix ¼ cup of baking soda and ⅛ cup of water to form a paste. Apply the paste to the stain and leave it to sit for several hours until completely dry. Vacuum it off.

Taking Blood Off Your Furniture and Upholstery

You might have a cut, bug bite or brush burn you didn’t realize was bleeding — until you got up from your chair and realized there’s a stain. Act quickly to maximize your results when it comes to cleaning up blood stains:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel or cloth to pick up any excess blood. Do not scrub.
  • Pour a small amount of carbonated water directly on the stain. Blot dry. Repeat as needed.

If that doesn’t do the trick, there’s another homemade trick you can try:

  • Mix a solution of two cups of cold water and one tablespoon of clear liquid dishwashing detergent.
  • Using a sponge, apply the solution to the stain.
  • Blot dry. Repeat as needed.

Person wearing yellow glove using a lime green towel to clean a counter.

Removing Butter or Oil From Furniture

Grease can be tricky to remove from your furniture. The treatment for this stain can be used for S, W and WS upholstery codes due to it being a water-free treatment:

  • Sprinkle the area with cornstarch or baking soda and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
  • Vacuum the area using the upholstery attachment.

Getting Ink Off Your Upholstery or Furniture

While many ink stains may be as simple as a fine line left from an open pen that dragged across your upholstery, that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. Fortunately, this solution can help:

  • Mix a solution of one tablespoon of white vinegar and ⅔ cup of rubbing alcohol.
  • Dip a clean towel or cloth into the solution and blot the stain.

Cleaning Mud/Dirt From Your Furniture

Mud and dirt may be more common on the floor, but all it takes is one person sitting on your furniture with dirty clothes or shoes, and you’ll have a mess on your hands. Here’s what you can do:

  • Let the dirt dry. Scrape off the excess and vacuum any loose pieces.
  • Mix a solution of two cups of water and one tablespoon of clear dishwashing liquid.
  • Using a sponge, apply the solution to the stain.
  • Blot dry. Repeat as needed.

Young child playing in the dirt with a red cup and holding dirt in their hands.

Blot Away Chocolate Stains on Furniture

When you think about the consistency of dry chocolate compared to dry mud, it’s easy to see why the methods for cleaning these stains are so similar:

  • Let the dirt dry. Scrape off the excess and vacuum any loose pieces.
  • Mix a solution of two cups of water and one tablespoon of clear dishwashing liquid.
  • Using a sponge, apply the solution to the stain.
  • Blot dry. Repeat as needed.
  • Rinse the dry area with cold water to remove the cleaning solution and blot dry.

Use White Vinegar on Furniture Pet Stains

White vinegar and water are the best solutions for pet stains because they treat both the visible stain and the odor:

  • Mix a solution of one cup of white vinegar and one cup of cool water.
  • Spray solution onto the stain — being careful not to soak.
  • Use a clean towel or cloth to blot the stain — working from the outside edges of the stain to the center.

Call in Professional Help When You Need It

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, stains can be stubborn. Rather than giving up and replacing your carpet or upholstery, hire a professional cleaner. If you live in Dallas, TX, or one of the surrounding areas and are struggling to remove a deep stain, Cyclone Professional Cleaners can help.

The reality is, home and business owners don’t usually have immediate access to the equipment and cleansers to remove tough stains. Even if you can get a professional piece of cleaning equipment, it’s hard to know what cleaning process and cleansers will work best. We have made a career out of helping people remove their stains. We listen to your needs, and if we’re unable to help, we do our best to use our network to refer you to someone who can.

Our family-owned and operated business takes care of cleaning up deep-set stains and cleaning your carpets, rugs and furniture — and not just in your home or office. We also clean car, boat and aircraft upholstery, too.

Cyclone Professional Cleaners using a vacuum to clean a beige carpet.

Cyclone Professional Cleaners Has the Tools to Remove Your Stains

Our business has the powerful equipment and cleansers to get rid of tough stains. We know that these stains are often located in your home or business, places you don’t want to pollute with toxic solutions. That’s why we primarily use green, non-toxic cleansers for carpet cleaning. Our process involves applying a non-toxic cleanser to pre-treat the surface, followed by a powerful hot water extraction clean.

The cleaning services we offer aren’t just for removing stains — an overall steam cleaning can bring new life to your carpets, rugs and upholstery. Our powerful truck mount systems and upholstery cleaning units will remove trapped dirt and sanitize fabrics, so you’re left with fewer germs, brighter colors and an extended life for your carpet or furniture.

If you have a pesky stain or think your carpets or upholstery could use a deep clean, contact Cyclone Professional Cleaners. You can request an estimate on our website or by calling 972-390-8700.

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