How to Clean Up After a Messy Carpet Spill

Last Updated on November 28, 2022 by Ellen Christian

Yikes! You’ve had a messy carpet spill and aren’t sure how to clean up after it without damaging your carpet. Check out these tips for a badly stained carpet.

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With the holidays only a few short weeks away, I know my mind starts to turn to housework. I don’t particularly like house cleaning but I do like my house to be neat and clean when we entertain. Thankfully, there are a few simple things you can do to clean your carpet after spills.

How to Clean Up After a Messy Carpet Spill

Messy Carpet Spill

I always worry about carpet stains since we entertain in the living room. People wander around with their drinks or plates of appetizers and inevitably, someone spills or drops something. Of course, we also have pets so I have the added worry of pet stains. Hopefully, you have chosen a stain-resistant carpet which will make clean up much simpler.

Carpet cleaning

When dealing with carpet stains, solids should first be scooped up as much as possible. After removing the solids, wet spills should be blotted up carefully with a white paper towel or a rag to remove as much moisture as possible. Work toward the center to avoid spreading the stain outwards.

Then follow up with water to remove any sticky residue that may remain and rinse the stain again with water and blot up with a clean white rag or paper towel. Continue until as much of the stain is removed as possible.

tea cup on a white carpet

Carpet stain remover

After the physical mess has been removed from your carpet, you will still need to use some type of carpet stain remover to remove the stain that was left behind. Always check the cleaning instructions that came with your carpet to see what the manufacturer recommends. 

If you don’t have that information available, you can try 1/4 cup of a mild dishwashing detergent (like the blue Dawn) mixed with one cup of warm water.  Rub gently on the stain working from the outside in until the stain is removed. Be sure not to soak the carpet. You only need to use a little bit on a rag.

Homemade carpet stain remover

If you’d prefer to use a homemade carpet stain remover, you can use two tablespoons of white vinegar mixed with four cups of warm water. Be sure to test a small amount of this solution on your rug in an out of the way area to be sure your carpet is colorfast. I’ve never had a problem using homemade cleaning solutions, but it is always better to check first.

How to clean a badly stained carpet

It is best to remove old stains with a professional shampoo, or by using common household cleaners. A quick and easy way to clean up spills and spots from carpeting is to use dish soap mixed in lukewarm water. Lukewarm water has a pH level that helps break down the stain faster. Apply the mixture sparingly, and blot it in with a washcloth before letting it dry completely.

If you have more stubborn stains, there are suitable products designed for deep cleaning carpets available for purchase from most retail outlets including supermarkets and hardware stores.

How to clean heavily soiled carpet

The best way to clean a heavily stained carpet is by pretreating the stains and then using a steam cleaning machine to extract the upholstery shampoo which will carry away germs, bacteria, and soil particles.

If you have a heavily soiled carpet, you may want to try the method above. Otherwise, for spot cleaning, these cleaning methods should work for most stains.

4 thoughts on “How to Clean Up After a Messy Carpet Spill”

  1. Wonderful tips...I have had grape juice (not white grape, either) spilled on my beige carpet and I exactly that, adding a little white vinegar and basking soda to the water and was able to get the stain out!
  2. Do they say whether white vinegar is ok? That's what I've always used but wonder if it damages the fibers or anything?
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