7 Proven Ways to Save a Stained Carpet

When something spills on your carpet, don't freak out! One of these methods can likely remove your carpet stain. But always test your cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of carpet before trying it on the stain.

stained carpetshorrocks/iStockWhatever you’ve spilled on your carpet, start by blotting up as much of the liquid as possible with an absorbent white paper towel before dabbing with your solution of choice (see below). Never scrub the carpet—you’ll end up pushing the stain deeper into the fibers.

1. Red wine: Deal with red wine stains as soon as you can after the spill—if left, the stain turns purple and becomes near-impossible to remove. Pour some white wine directly onto the stain; dampen a cloth with cold water and dab the stain to lift out the wine. Alternatively, cover the stain generously in table salt; allow to dry before vacuuming.

2. Ink stains: spray the area with WD-40. Leave for 15 minutes before dabbing the stain with a cloth soaked in warm water and detergent. If this doesn’t work, try dabbing the stain with a cloth dipped in isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.

3. Grease and oil: sprinkle the mark with salt, baking soda, or cornstarch; don’t rub it in—allow it to work for at least a couple of hours before vacuuming the area.

4. Fruit juice: gently work a little shaving cream into the stain, then wipe it away with a damp sponge.

5. Coffee or tea: sponge on a 50:50 mixture of warm water and white vinegar, then blot the stain clean with an absorbent paper towel.

6. Pet urine: you’ll smell this but may not see it! Buy or borrow an ultraviolet light—it makes urine stains glow in the dark. Mark the outline of the stain in chalk, blot thoroughly and treat with a specialist enzyme cleaner from a pet store or a “biological” washing agent.

7. Mud: allow the mud to dry completely and vacuum thoroughly using a machine with a beater brush. If marks remain, saturate the stain with soda water, then blot with a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain has vanished.

Here are some other homemade carpet cleaners guaranteed to banish stains.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest