Do or Dye

Tips for removing the toughest carpet stains

No matter how careful you are, your carpet will get stained, especially if you have pets or children. Below are some tips to combat the fiercest stain carpet stain challenges.

A few rules that apply to all of these options:

  • When using a wet or dry, or paper cloth, always use one that is white
  • Test each cleaning solution to ensure that the fiber can tolerate it without damage
  • Don’t let any solution dry unless instructed to do so
  • When working on a stain with a cloth, avoid rubbing it into the cloth, always use a lifting motion, and work on it from the outside in
  • Avoid using a hair dryer or other heated device for drying unless the stain is completely removed first, as the heat can cause it to set, making it nearly impossible to remove The exception to this are hard items that get lodged in carpet fibers like candle wax, crayons and gum
  • To dry the carpet, place a clean towel or several sheets of paper towels on the wet area and weight them down with a heavy book or other object to aid in the absorption process
    Once you’ve removed a stain and dried the area, vacuum your carpet to remove residue and restore texture
  • Do not apply ammonia to wool carpets or oriental rugs
  • Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia – the resulting fumes are hazardous
  • The remedies suggested here should be safe for most standard carpets, but always check your care instructions to apprise yourself of what products should not be used on your carpet
  • Call a carpet cleaning service if these options prove ineffective. We can refer you to a reputable local cleaner if needed.

Baby Food Stains:

Mix ½ teaspoon of laundry detergent with one cup cold water in a spray bottle. Gently scrape away as much excess baby food as you can with a plastic knife. Spray the stain with the cleaning solution, allow to sit for at least 15 minutes, and then blot the stain with a towel. Repeat until the stain is gone.

Candle Wax Stains:

Use a dull knife to scrape off as much as possible. Place part of a paper sack over carpet and press with warm iron on low to medium setting to melt wax. The paper sack should absorb the wax, making it easier to remove. To remove stains left from colored wax, try gently dabbing the stain with a rag dampened with rubbing alcohol or dry cleaning solvent. (This method also works with crayons.)

Chewing Gum:

Warm the spot with a blow-dryer for a minute or two. Once the chewing gum has softened remove it by hand by covering your hand with a plastic sandwich bag and lifting the chewing gum from the carpet. Repeat as needed.

Chocolate and cocoa:

Sponge with club soda.


After blotting out as much as possible, gently mix two cups of lukewarm water, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and a squirt of liquid dish detergent. Use solution to sponge out stain with a towel. Repeat as needed and air dry.


Scrape with dull blade. Mix one tablespoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent with two cups of warm water. Using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with the detergent solution. Blot until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the stain disappears or is no longer absorbed into the cloth. If the stain remains, mix one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with the ammonia solution until the liquid is absorbed. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Fruit Juice:

Blot out as much juice as possible. Mix solution of one teaspoon neutral detergent, one teaspoon white vinegar and one quart cold water. Then moisten cloth well solution and lay it on top of the stain. Use the bottom of the spoon to gently press on the cloth, working from the outside towards the middle. This method allows you to work the solution into the stain without damaging the carpet fibers or rubbing the stain. Repeat as necessary with a clean cloth each time until no more stain appears on the cloth. (For cranberry juice, apply 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, then ammonia; then spray with rinsing solution and blot with clean cloth.)

Hair Dye:

Mix one tablespoon of dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm water. Using a cloth, sponge the stain with the solution, blotting frequently with a dry cloth until the stain disappears. Sponge with cold water and blot until the liquid is absorbed. Sponge the stain with rubbing alcohol. Blot to remove the stain and sponge with cold water. If the stain remains, mix one teaspoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water. Sponge the stain with this solution. Leave it on the stain for at least 30 minutes, blotting every five minutes with a clean white cloth and more solution. Sponge with cold water and blot dry.

Ball-point Pen:

Spray with a solution of one teaspoon dish detergent and one cup of lukewarm water. Then blot with a dry cloth. If stain persists, spray with a solution of ¼ cup white vinegar and ½ cup lukewarm water. Blot with a dry cloth.

Pet stains:

Blot up excess moisture with a paper towel. Pour club soda on the spot and continue blotting. Lay a towel over the spot and set a heavy object on top in order to absorb all of the moisture.


When red wine is spilled onto your carpet or clothes, white wine can be your true companion. White wine will help neutralize red wine and will make it easier to lift the color off of your carpet or clothing. Simply pour white wine over the stained area and very gently blot the liquid up with a thick towel. (Be very careful not to rub as this will force the stain into the carpet or clothing fibers). If the stain is still visible, you can add salt or soda to continue lifting out pigment.

Three More Quick Tips

1. Shampoo or deep clean your carpet once a year to give it a tidy look and a fresh smell;

2. Rearrange your furniture to prevent permanent indentations and reduce wear and tear; and

3. Reduce indentations in carpet by letting an ice cube melt and then fluff up the carpet while it’s wet.