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Use Homemade Carpet Cleaner to Eliminate Stains

Use Homemade Carpet Cleaner to Eliminate Stains

  1. Angi
  2. Solution Center
  3. Cleaning

Updated April 24, 2023

Photo: PC Photography / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Banish carpet stains with ease

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Sometimes, life is messy. Maybe your pet tracked muddy paw prints across your living room floor, or you’ve spilled a glass of red wine on your carpet—a real-life horror film in the making for people with white decor. Either way, stains happen. Before you bring in the professionals, these homemade carpet cleaner recipes may just save the day.

What Is a DIY Carpet Stain Remover?

Many DIY carpet stain removers use simple ingredients that you likely already have lying around your pantry or under the kitchen sink to remove stains from your carpet. These solutions can help save you money on cleaning, and you may prefer them if you’re a fan of gentler stain removal.

How Much Does It Cost to Make a Carpet Stain Remover?

Making a carpet stain remover costs just $5 to $10 on average. All you need is a cloth to dab the stain, basic ingredients like vinegar or dish soap, and a spray bottle to administer the solution. 

Preparing to Remove Carpet Stains

Making a DIY stain remover is relatively easy, but cleaning up your carpet the right way may prove to be surprisingly less straightforward. Check out these preparation tips before you attempt to remove stains from your carpet. 

Consider Synthetic vs. Natural Fiber Carpets

Photo: Thirdadech / iStock/Getty Images Plus / Getty Images; digitalfarmer / iStock/Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Synthetic carpets can tolerate a lot more than natural fiber carpets, which tend to be more high maintenance. You’ll likely want to use a gentler approach for natural carpets, avoiding overly saturating them with liquid solutions. Meanwhile, synthetic carpets may need more of a solution to blot away stubborn stains.

For synthetic carpets, you can usually get away with applying liquid solutions and rinsing the solutions away. For natural fiber carpets, you’ll want to apply stain removers with a cloth or spray bottle and blot it away gently. 

Test Before You Apply

Before applying homemade carpet cleaner, double-check your carpet manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, and always test any solutions you’ve made on a small, inconspicuous spot first. Failing to do so could leave your carpet damaged. 

Blot, Don’t Rub

Photo: Syda Productions / Adobe Stock

Remember always to blot stains rather than rub them. Rubbing tends to smear the stain and can actually make it worse. 

Act Quickly to Clean Carpet Stains

Overall, the most important factor in cleaning up a carpet stain is speed: The faster you fight a stain, the less chance it has to spread. Plus, the longer a liquid sits on your carpet, the likelier it is to cause mold or other water damage.  

Again, always check the manufacturer’s instructions before cleaning your carpet. Some natural fibers like wool aren’t meant to get wet at all, and you should only use paste, the blotting method, or specially designed products.

How to Make a Carpet Stain Remover at Home

Photo: Helin Loik-Tomson / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The method you use for removing stains from your carpet depends on the type of carpet you have and the solution you choose. 

With this in mind, here are 10 different ways to DIY a carpet stain remover. Just a note: You should try one solution at a time and never mix cleaning solutions—even homemade ones.

1. Clean Your Carpet With White Vinegar

Vinegar is a DIY powerhouse for all kinds of projects around the house, including cleaning the carpet with vinegar. If the smell bothers you, dilute the vinegar with some water, add some essential oils like lavender to the mixture, or crank up the fan. Just make sure to maintain a one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water.  

  1. Put 1 to 2 cups of vinegar in a spray bottle.

  2. Dilute with 1 cup of water.

  3. Add 2 to 3 drops of dye-free dish soap for stubborn stains (optional).

  4. Liberally spray the solution on your carpet stain.

  5. Let the solution sit for a few minutes to soak into the stain.

  6. Blot it up using a cloth, paper towel, or sponge.

If your stain is particularly tough, you can use a scrub brush, brushing in the direction of your carpet’s fibers. Only do this after you blot up excess liquid, and be sure to be gentle.

2. Remove Carpet Stains With Salt

Salt’s uncanny ability to remove stains lies in its absorption powers. Salt is best used before a stain has a chance to soak in. 

  1. Grab a heaping helping of salt from your kitchen.

  2. Pour it entirely over the stain (the more, the better).

  3. Wait 10 to 15 minutes for the salt to soak up the liquid.

  4. Vacuum up the salt.

  5. Repeat.

Salt can work wonders for brand new, liquid-heavy spills, but you may need to use a different homemade carpet cleaner once the stain has soaked into the carpet fiber.

3. Use White Vinegar and Salt to Clean Your Carpets

What’s better than salt or vinegar? Salt and vinegar (and we don’t mean for your potato chips). You get the absorption from one and the stain-busting power from the other. 

  1. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in a half cup of white vinegar.

  2. Put the mixture into a spray bottle.

  3. Liberally spray the mixture onto the stain.

  4. Let it sit for a few minutes to soak into the stain.

  5. Blot (don’t rub) the area with a white cloth towel, sponge, or paper towel.

  6. Vacuum the area.

  7. Repeat these steps if necessary.

For tough stains (like red wine), you may want to strengthen your solution’s stain removal power by adding2 tablespoons of borax to the mixture.

4. Use White Vinegar and Cornstarch to Remove Carpet Stains

A white vinegar and cornstarch solution is a homemade carpet cleaner designed to fight especially tough stains. This powerful combo works by forming a paste that hardens and clings to whatever is stuck in your carpet. 

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch until it forms a thick paste.

  2. Spread the solution over the stain.

  3. Allow the stain to harden (up to two days if the stain is severe).

  4. Scrape up the material with a butter knife.

  5. Vacuum the affected area.

Since this method is a slow burn, you may want to use a quicker cleaning method to get out the bulk of the stain before it has the opportunity to set. Save cornstarch for the stubborn bits.

5. Use Club Soda to Remove Carpet Stains

Club soda is a common DIY stain remover—whether the stain is on your shirt or your carpet. It can be effective for some stains as long as you act quickly.

  1. Lightly blot the stain with a paper towel or cloth to remove excess liquids.

  2. Pour club soda on a separate cloth, and press it into the stain.

  3. Continue applying club soda and blotting until the stain starts to lift.

  4. Repeat as necessary.

Club soda is the first line of defense. If the stain doesn’t lift, move on to a heavier-duty homemade carpet cleaner, such as hydrogen peroxide.

6. Try Hydrogen Peroxide as a Carpet Stain Remover

Hydrogen peroxide is a simple and effective method for cleaning carpet stains. You can use it on pet accidents (and the unpleasant odors that come with them) or spilled beverages, but you’ll want to act quickly to tackle stains as they appear. 

  1. Add 4 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to a spray bottle

  2. Combine 2 tablespoons of warm water with hydrogen peroxide.

  3. Add in a few drops of dye-free dish soap.

  4. Mix well before spraying onto the stain.

  5. Gently rinse the solution off with water.

  6. Dab the carpet dry.

  7. Repeat as necessary to remove stains fully.

Be sure to use 3% hydrogen peroxide, as more concentrated hydrogen peroxide can stain carpets, which will create a new issue.

7. Apply Baking Soda to Help Dissolve Carpet Stains

Baking soda can help dissolve carpet stains—but it doesn’t act quickly. This method may take some time, from a couple of hours to a full day. It all depends on how long you leave the baking soda to set. The longer it sits, the more likely it is to remove stubborn stains. But remember, this method isn’t a cure-all. Baking soda won’t fully eliminate the issue unless you deal with the source of the stain or odor first.

  1. Blot the stain with a cloth to get rid of excess moisture.

  2. Pour baking soda over the entire stain.

  3. Gently rub the baking soda into the carpet.

  4. Let the baking soda sit for a few hours (overnight for tough stains).

  5. Vacuum up the powder.

Depending on how much baking soda you use, you may need to vacuum twice.

8. Use Detergent for Carpet Stains

Dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent doesn’t just clean your dishes or dirty clothes—it also acts as a DIY carpet cleaner. The key is to use colorless soap (free of dyes that may stain your carpet) and dilute the solution with water. 

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of laundry or dishwashing detergent with 2 cups of cold water.

  2. Use the solution to wet a cloth, sponge, or paper towel.

  3. Blot the stain.

  4. Repeat until the stain is removed.

  5. Use a wet cloth or paper towel to blot up the remaining detergent.

This method is particularly effective on tough stains like grease, oil, or chocolate.

9. Try Ammonia to Clean Carpet Stains (With Caution)

Ammonia is a common cleaning product, but it has an extremely strong odor. Weirdly enough, it works well on smelly spills. This method is best used in a well-ventilated area, and with caution. You should never mix ammonia with bleach or any other chemical or cleaner because it creates harmful fumes. 

  1. Mix 1 cup of clear 3% ammonia with a half-gallon of warm water.

  2. Sponge the solution onto your carpet (using protective gloves).

  3. Let the solution sit for 15 minutes.

  4. Blot the area with a cloth until the stain disappears.

  5. Repeat as necessary.

10. Use Borax for Carpet Stains

For grease, grass, and dirt stains, borax is an effective ingredient for transforming your carpet into its former glory. Keep in mind that you’ll want to keep a close eye on the spot or consider another method if you have pets or babies, as it’s harmful if inhaled or consumed. 

  1. Combine 1 tablespoon of borax with 2 tablespoons of water.

  2. Apply the solution onto the stain.

  3. Let it dry fully. 

  4. Vacuum or dab the dried solution until it’s fully removed.

If the stain remains, consider repeating the steps, skipping the vacuuming step, and instead blotting at the dried solution with that vinegar and soapy water solution from earlier.

Tips for Removing Stains From Your Carpet  

Once you’ve put in the elbow grease to get your carpet in tip-top shape, the last thing you’ll want is to have to do it again any time soon. Here are some tips for keeping your carpet clean:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently remove stains.

  • Try dabbing with baby wipes the moment a stain appears.

  • Freeze stock-on gum with ice cubes in a bag for easy carpet removal.

  • Start with the most gentle solutions and work your way towards the stronger ones.

  • Refer to your user’s manual prior to trying a homemade solution.

  • When all else fails, don’t be afraid to buy a store-bought stain remover.

DIY vs. Hire a Carpet Cleaning Pro

Photo: New Africa / Adobe Stock

Making your own stain remover to clean your carpet is easy and can be more cost-effective compared to hiring a local carpet cleaner. In fact, carpet cleaning prices from a professional fall anywhere from $120 to $230 on average compared to just a couple of dollars in homemade ingredients.

However, if your carpet is badly stained, you’ll probably want to call in a pro to fix it up. Also, it’s important to note that these methods are best for stain removal as needed, but you should also hire a pro to clean your carpets regularly to prevent stain buildup.

Additional Questions

What is the best DIY stain remover for tough carpet stains?

White vinegar, water, and dish soap is a powerful combination for removing tough carpet stains. The vinegar breaks down the stain, the water helps to rinse it, and the soap helps remove any lasting stains from your carpet.

Can vinegar and baking soda remove old carpet stains?

Vinegar and baking soda are like two peas in a pod when it comes to removing old carpet stains. Since vinegar is acidic and baking soda is basic, the two react and foam, helping to loosen even the toughest stains.

Will hydrogen peroxide remove stains from my carpet?

Yes, hydrogen peroxide can actively remove stains from carpets. Just avoid using anything more than a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. Anything more than 6% could bleach your carpet.

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Learn more about our contributor

Allie is an Austin-based content writer specializing in home improvement, renewable energy, and deregulated energy markets.

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Powerful Carpet and Upholstery Stain Remover

I’ve been looking for an effective carpet and upholstery cleaner that you can easily make yourself. Store options did not quite suit me both in price and in the quality of their work. Due to the fact that we have a small son, it is almost impossible to remove stains from a carpet, sofa, soft chairs and fix the effect for a long time. I have to clean the furniture several times a month, which hits our family budget too hard.

This homemade carpet cleaner quickly became my favorite, and for good reason. Firstly, all the ingredients were at my fingertips, and the speed of response in case of stains, as you know, plays an important role. Secondly, the cost of the cleaning agent cost me mere pennies, which is also important in our time of crisis. Thirdly, this, of course, is an amazing result from the application.

How to prepare a carpet and upholstery cleaner at home

You will need:

  • mixing container – small bowl or spray;
  • 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid;
  • 1 st. a spoonful of white vinegar;
  • 1 cup warm water;
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda;
  • clean sponge;
  • clean absorbent cloth or towel.

Action plan:

1. Mix all ingredients immediately before use. The combination of baking soda and vinegar releases carbon dioxide, which causes a thick foam to form on the surface of the detergent. Take a mixing bowl, add dishwashing liquid and vinegar, then fill everything with warm water and, last but not least, throw in the baking soda. While using the sprayer, hold it over the sink and, after adding the baking soda, twist the top of the spray in a quick motion.

2. Spread the detergent generously over the stain and rub gently with the abrasive side of the sponge.

3. Wipe the wet surface with an absorbent towel and check the result.

4. Continue scrubbing and picking up moisture until the stain is completely gone.

Did you like the recipe? Leave your review after application, other readers will be grateful to you. In the meantime, I will continue to delight you with interesting eco-recipes. Stay connected and subscribe to the weekly newsletter!

If you are oppressed by home life, come to my course “Academy of Home Economics”. There you will not only replenish your piggy bank of household life hacks, but also get an understanding of how your own housekeeping system should look like. Learn at a pace that is comfortable for you, gradually, day by day, implementing the knowledge gained. You will find all the details about the course and the application form on this page.

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Anna Vydysh

In the past: The author of programs and methods to simplify home life, a big fan of making lists, my hobby is the organization of life in all its manifestations, from the surrounding space to personal time. Founder of the resource “Cozy House”, I combine creative and technical work on the site with the upbringing of two children and the creation of online courses.

In the present: Ukrainian writing system

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Oil and grease stain remover for carpets and upholstery RUG-STAIN 1

Used as: Detergents for difficult soils | for carpets | for furniture cleaning | stain removers |

You can buy RUG-STAIN 1 oil and grease stain remover from carpet and upholstery from us.


Effectively, safely and quickly dissolves various complex grease stains on textiles and carpets dyed with permanent dyes.


RUG STAIN 1 is designed to effectively remove stains from industrial and vegetable oils and fats (including fish oil), beer, coal and tar, soot and soot, as well as petroleum products – gasoline and kerosene, bitumen and diesel fuel, from textile and carpet surfaces, with the exception of rubber-based carpeting.

Product Features

  • Easily ignited.
  • Doesn’t freeze.
  • NOT suitable for rubber backed carpets!

How to use

  • Manual cleaning.
  • Work with RUG STAIN 1 only in a well ventilated area!
  • Test the resistance of the fabric dye to the stain remover on an inconspicuous area!
  • Spray the solution evenly onto the stain.
  • Leave for a short time for the action of the remedy.
  • Then, with gentle circular motions from the edges to the center, remove the contamination with a clean textile napkin.
  • Avoid rubbing dirt into the fabric and smoothing the lint.
  • After cleaning, blot the treated area with a clean cloth and dry.
  • Clean with a handheld vacuum cleaner.

Pack of 0.75 l trigger spray.


  • Composition: surfactant mixture, D-Limonene, solvent mixture.
  • Flash point: ~250°С.
  • Doesn’t freeze.


  • Exclude access to children!
  • Work with RUG STAIN 1 only with rubber gloves.
  • Do not use in a draft, near open flames and turned on heaters.
  • Do not inhale solution vapors, avoid splashing, swallowing.
  • In case of contact with eyes or skin, rinse with warm water and seek medical advice.


  • RUG STAIN 1 must be stored separately from food and feed in a tightly closed original container in a dark, dry place where children and animals are out of reach.