17 Homemade Carpet Stain Removers

Before calling an expensive cleaning service, DIY it with these trusted common household solutions to help wipe out all kinds of tough carpet stains, from red wine to pet urine.

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Beer

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Getting that coffee or tea stain out of your rug may seem impossible, but you can literally lift it out by pouring a bit of beer right on top. Rub the beer lightly into the material, and the stain should disappear. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times to remove all traces of the stain. Here are some other surprising uses for beer (that aren't drinking it).

Ammonia

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Lift out stains from carpeting and upholstery by sponging them with a solution of 1 cup clear ammonia in 1/2 gallon (2 liters) warm water. Let dry thoroughly, and repeat if needed. Here are some other things you had no idea could remove stains.

Vinegar

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Vinegar is the superhero of stain removal (and cleaning in general!). Try these different formulas for homemade carpet cleaners to remove a variety of common stains:

  • Rub light carpet stains with a mixture of 2 tablespoons salt dissolved in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Let the solution dry, then vacuum.
  • For larger or darker stains, add 2 tablespoons borax to the mixture and use in the same way.
  • For tough, ground-in dirt and other stains, make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and rub it into the stain using a dry cloth. Let it set for two days, then vacuum.
  • For spilled paint, use a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons laundry detergent, and two cups water; sponge away the paint before it sets in and rinse with cold water.
  • For fruit and fruit juice stains, mix 1 tablespoon laundry detergent with 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar and combine with two cups of water. Work the solution into the stain and blot.
  • For coffee and tea stains, combine equal parts white vinegar and water and blot the stain.

Shaving Cream

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Your little one is very sorry for spilling a little juice on the carpet, so make it “all better” with some shaving cream on the spot. Blot the stain, pat it with a wet sponge, squirt some shaving cream on it, and then wipe clean with a damp sponge. Shaving cream also works great on grease and oil stains; simply work the cream into the stain, let dry, and rub off with a damp soft cloth. Here are some other things that can remove grease stains.

Cornstarch

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Oh no, ink on the carpet! In this case a little spilt milk might save you from crying. Mix the milk with cornstarch to make a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain. Allow the homemade concoction to dry on the carpet for a few hours, then brush off the dried residue and vacuum it up. Cornstarch is also great for soaking up grease and oil stains. Sprinkle the spots liberally, let sit for several hours, and vacuum up. These other household items can remove ink stains as well.

Salt

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Use a sprinkle of salt to boost the power of other homemade carpet cleaners:

  • Don't panic if you spill red wine on your white carpet. While the red wine is still wet, pour some white wine on it to dilute the color. Then clean the spot with a sponge and cold water. Sprinkle the area with salt and wait about 10 minutes. Now vacuum up the whole mess.
  • For greasy food stains on carpet, mix up 1 part salt to 4 parts rubbing alcohol and rub it hard on the grease stain, being careful to rub in the direction of the rug’s natural nap.
  • Ketchup spill on your carpet? Act fast because once this one dries, it will be nearly impossible to get out. Sprinkle salt over the spill, let sit for a few minutes, and vacuum. Sponge up any residue and continue salting and vacuuming until the stain is completely gone.

Borax

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Thoroughly dampen the stained area, then rub in some borax. Let the area dry, then vacuum or blot it with a solution of equal parts vinegar and soapy water and let dry. Repeat if necessary. Don’t forget to first test this DIY remover on an inconspicuous corner of the rug or on a carpet scrap before applying it to the stain.

WD-40

Don’t let ink or other stains ruin your fine carpet. Spray the stain with WD-40, wait a minute or two, and then use your regular carpet cleaner or gently cleanse with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Continue until the stain is completely gone.

Did you know you're probably washing your carpet (and these 9 other things) way too much?

Hydrogen Peroxide

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Can’t tell what that stain is? Still want to remove it? Don't worry, homemade carpet cleaners can remove mystery stains too. Try this sure-fire homemade remover: Mix a teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide with a little cream of tartar or a dab of non-gel toothpaste. Rub the paste on the stain with a soft cloth. Rinse. The stain, whatever it was, should be gone. Here are some other ways to clean using hydrogen peroxide.

Baking Soda

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Out of all homemade carpet cleaners, baking soda is your best choice to quickly clean vomit or urine stains from your carpet. Wipe up what you can, then pour baking soda over the affected area and pat with a paper towel. Let the homemade mixture dry completely before vacuuming up the residue. Baking soda will clean, sanitize, and deodorize the messy spot. Baking soda can also be used to lift grease stains when combined with equal parts salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the grease spot, and use a stiff brush to work the powdery concoction into the spot. Let sit for 4 or 5 hours and then vacuum up to completely remove the stain.

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