A guide to removing stains from carpeting

Spot Method
Acne medication 1,3,6,5,4,8
Alcoholic beverage 3,6,5,4,8
Bleach 3,4,8
Blood 6,3,cold water,7,8
Butter 1,3,6,5,4,8
Candle wax 2,1,8
Charcoal 9,3,8
Chewing gum Freeze w/ice, chip away, then 1,8
Chocolate 1,3,6,5,4,8
Coffee/tea with cream and sugar 3,5,4,7,8
Cosmetics 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Crayon Freeze w/ice, chip away, then 1,3,8
Food 3,6,4,8
Fruit juice 3,6,5,4,7,8
Furniture polish (water base) 3,4,1,6,7,8
Furniture polish (solvant base) 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Grass 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Grease 1,3,4,8
Ink-ballpoint pen 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Iodine 1,3,6,5,4,8
Ketchup 3,6,5,4,7,8
Kool-Aid 9,3,5,4,7,8
Lipstick 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Medicine 2,1,3,6,5,4,7,8
Milk 1,3,6,5,4,8
Mud 3,4,8
Mustard 3,5,4,7,8
Nail polish 2,1,3,4,6,7,8
Oil 1,3,8
Paint, latex 3,6,4,7,8
Plant food 3,6,5,4,7,8
Rust 5,3,4,7,8
Shoe polish 2,1,3,6,4,7,8
Soft drink 3,6,5,4,7,8
Tar 1,7,8
Toothpaste 3,5,6,4,8
Unknown 2,1,3,5,6,4,7,8
Urine, wet 3,6,5,4,8
Urine, dry 3,4,5,6,8
Vomit 3,6,5,4,7,8

Find the spot source in the first column, and read across that row for the correct spot removal method to try. Continue using the first method until there is no longer a transfer of stain to the cleaning cloth. Try the first method suggested, then the second, the third, etc., until the spot has been removed.

NOTE:  Some spills contain chemicals that may discolor or even damage the carpet fibers or dyes. If you have doubts about what caused the spot and how to remove it, contact a professional carpet cleaner.

Key to cleaning methods:

  1. Dry cleaning fluid - A spot removal liquid in grocery and hardware stores, nonflammable if possible.
  2. Nail polish remover - Amylacetate (not acetone); often has banana fragrance. Do not use on acetate fibers.
  3. Detergent solution - Mix 1 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon mild liquid detergent (no lanolin, nonbleach).
  4. Warm water - Lukewarm tap water.
  5. Vinegar solution - 1 cup white vinegar to 2 cups water.
  6. Ammonia solution - 2 tablespoons household ammonia to 1 cup water.
  7. Spot removal kit - Available from retail carpet stores or professional cleaners.
  8. Call a professional if you cannot completely remove the spot.
  9. Vacuum clean.

Source: The Carpet & Rug Institute