Knowing how to remove old stains from carpeting can be important for those who want to get their carpets in tiptop shape. While it is always better to clean the carpet when something spills before it leaves a stain, sometimes this is not still possible.Although the word “stain” suggests that the mark is permanent, it is possible to remove solid stains in some cases by learning how to remove old stains from carpets. In other cases, even when it is not possible to restore your carpet to its full glory, you can still improve the carpet’s appearance by taking some steps to remove set-in dirt and stains.

How to Remove Old Stains From Carpeting

Pure solvents and solutions can do a great cleaning job and can provide a simple answer to the question of how to remove old stains from carpets. For example, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide which costs under $1 may be the solution to your problem.

You may also want to sprinkle some salt over the stain after applying either club soda or hydrogen peroxide since salt draws the moisture out of anything and can help bring in the club soda or hydrogen peroxide along with the stain itself. Results will vary depending on the type of carpet and its fibres. Carpets with natural fibres are much harder to clean.


Things Needed to Clean Old Stains

There are plenty of solutions that you can use around the home. Many from your kitchen cabinets or pantry such as:

Microfiber towel
Spray bottle
Steam cleaner
White vinegar

How to Remove Old Carpet Stains DIY

  1. Cover the stains with a layer of baking soda.
  2. Put together ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar with one qt. of water. Shake very well to mix. Pour the mixture right into a spray bottle and then thoroughly saturate the stained area. Spray With Vinegar-Water. This method works best on water-soluble stains, such as fruit juices, soda or dirt. Let the mixture soak for a few moments so that it can fully penetrate the fibres. By using a microfiber towel, gently blot the area to absorb the liquid as well as the stain. Allow the area to air dry. In case a stain remains.
  3. Add a tablespoon of ammonia to the mixture then shake to combine—blot using a cloth to remove. In the event the carpet is white, you can use chlorine bleach instead of ammonia, but never mix the bleach with ammonia. If you use bleach, apply a drop of bleach to an inconspicuous area to determine how it will affect the carpet.
  4. Wait a Few Hours, then dab with a towel.
  5. Apply heat to remove oily stains that are not water-soluble. For instance, apply the heat of a hairdryer onto the stain and blot using a paper towel. An alternative is to lay the cloth over the stain and iron away to absorb the stain.
  6. Rent a steam cleaner. A steam cleaner can be a highly effective solution for the set in stains when all else fails. These cleaners use heat as well as non-chlorine cleaning detergent to power through a large selection of stains.

Stain Removal Tools

Spray bottle. Spray it on the old stain. Saturate the stain if you must to loosen up the stain’s particles. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. You will need a little bit of elbow grease now. Use a stiff brush to work on the stain to help it loosen up some more. Then use a steam vac to suck up the peroxide mixture from the carpet. You may also use towels and cloths to absorb the peroxide. Your carpet should hopefully look clean and stain-free.

Soda is another famous cleaning agent. While best used on fresh stains, to effectively get rid of set-in dirt and even bloodstains. Simply spray club soda on the stain and leave it for a few minutes. Work it with a brush or steam vac to remove the stain.

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Homemade Oil-Based Dry Solvent Stain Removal

If the ready-made products don’t work, you can also try making your cleaning solution at home—Mix ¼ tsp of liquid dishwashing soap with 1 cup warm water. Do not use detergents that have bleach in them. Spray the soap solution on the stain. Extract the stain using your steam cleaning vac or shop vac, towels, or any piece of cloth.

Another homemade solvent consists of a cup of water and two tablespoons of ammonia. Apply, extract, and repeat. Alternatively, you can try mixing a cup of white vinegar with 2 cups of water and applying using the same procedure.

Tips for Using Oil-Based Dry Solvents

When cleaning new or old stains using solvents, work from the outside of the stain towards its centre. Thus prevents you from spreading the stain and doing more damage to the carpet. The process should involve applying the solvent, blotting it with a cloth, rinsing, extracting the solvent.

Wine Stain Removal Tips

One of the most common types of set or old stains comes from red wine spills. A common trick to remove red wine stain is, believe it or not, applying white wine. The white wine will recreate the initial occurrence of the stain, making the red stain more comfortable to remove. When using white wine, like any other solvent, always remember the drill: apply, extract, and repeat. You may also include a spot cleaner to aid in the process. Finally, as always rinse the carpet thoroughly and let it dry out completely.

Is that old carpet stain still lingering? For more advanced carpet cleaning that requires more in-depth, professional care, consider Steam ‘n’ Dry Carpet Cleaning Auckland stain removal service. Don’t forget to check our discount, cheap carpet cleaning.

Remember always to do a spot removal test on a portion of carpet or upholstery that is usually not visible. These suggested treatments only and Steam’ n’ Dry Carpet Cleaning Auckland stain removal service can’t be held accountable for any damage sustained by use of the procedures in this spot removal guide.


Experienced, Researched and written by the Stephens family. Thus, includes Graeme an IICRC master restoration Technician 2001, with over 33 years of carpet cleaning and stain removal Auckland services experience.

Updated:18th May 2020