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Difficult Stains

By Michael Hilton

Animal Urine, Feces, and Vomit (Home Remedy)

There is no better product for urine than Odosolv/Fabrisan/Odaclean. It is the ONLY product that we have found that works consistently on urine. It not only removes most urine stains, but also odor and fluorescence left by urine (urine glows white/yellow under ultraviolet/black light). If odosolv is not available, try the following home remedy.

Blot or extract the excess liquid and use a rounded spoon to scrape up semi-solids.

Apply several applications of clean, lukewarm water. Then apply a solution made as follows:

½ cup white vinegar

½ cup lukewarm water

Mix the two in a cup or glass and apply to affect area

Blot excess liquid and dry rapidly. If the spot remains, apply a detergent solution (see spot removal (carpet stain removal) Solutions).

Reapply the vinegar solution and allow it to remain on the spot for about fifteen minutes. Blot or extract the excess liquid and dry rapidly.

The preceding treatment is effective in the majority of fresh urine spots. However, if a color change has taken place, no further treatment will restore the color. Consult a carpet-cleaning professional who may be able to redye the area. In the case of patterned rug or broadloom carpet, a professional may be able to restore the appearance by spot dyeing the affected area.Normally, it is not possible to remove all traces of urine from carpet because of the synthetic latex tendency to absorb wet spills. Urine odor may be noticeable during periods of high humidity. If the odor does not disappear, you may want to contact a cleaning professional.

Acid Substances

Strong acids, such as battery acids and some tile cleaning compounds, if spilled on a carpet, require prompt action to prevent serious damage. First, flush the affected area with water. Sponge up the excess and repeat the process several times until the acid has been diluted and washed away. Finally, sponge the area with a solution prepared by adding one tablespoonful of baking soda to a quart of warm water, and rinse again. By this time, the carpet will be very wet, so be sure to dry it as quickly and thoroughly as possible.


To remove blood, use only cold stain removal solutions to prevent setting the stain. Removal of bloodborne pathogens may require the assistance of a carpet-cleaning professional. Use all possible safety precautions in removing blood spills to avoid possible infection or contamination. Rust Subtractor is the best product for blood removal, but most rust removers may work. Hydrofluoric acid, sulfamic acid, and oxalic acid, each have been effective in blood removal. Manyof these products can be found in the hard surface cleaning chemical area atyour local Home Depot and are typically used for removal of grout or other contaminants from brick. Always pretest in an inconspicuous area.

Candle Wax

To remove candle wax from carpet, scrape as much hardened wax from the carpet pile using a spoon. Next use a detergent solution to remove as much discolorationas possible, followed by rubbing alcohol. Never pour any solution on the pile fiber! Pour onto a cloth and blot. If residue remains, place a brown paper bag over the spill and press with a hot iron. Be careful not to melt the carpet fibers! As the remaining wax is melted, it will be absorbed by the brown paper bag. Repeat detergent solution treatment until the stain is removed.

Chewing Gum - Try this Home Remedy (Equipment Required)

You will need the following:

  • Hand held electric hair dryer
  • Six to 12 (3"x3") squares of polyethylene (e.g., sandwich bags)
  • Extra strength liniment cream containing 30% methyl salicylate (e.g. Extra strength Ben Gay®)
  • Clear dishwashing liquid (1 teaspoon per cup of water) or Pet Eliminator
  • White towels

Heat gum residue with hair dryer on high for 30-90 seconds. Be careful not to melt the fiber! Hold the hair dryer 2-3 inches from the pile surface. Use the polyethylene (sandwich bags) to remove as much of the softened gum as possible. Continue to repeat these steps several times.

Rub (½ teaspoon) of the extra strength liniment cream into the affected area.

Heat the area with the hair dryer again. Wipe the area with the polyethylene squares.

Soak a sponge in a mild detergent solution and partially wring out. Blot the area with this solution to remove the liniment. Rinse with clear water several times to rinse detergent solution and blot with paper towels. If possible, allow the carpet to dry in sunlight to gently bleach any residual color from the gum.

After drying, if the area still appears to be sticky, repeat heating with hair dryer and wipe with polyethylene squares.

Cigarette Burns

Cigarette damage can be remedied only by reweaving or retufting. However, the appearance of an area of charred carpet can be improved by carefully clipping off blackened ends of tufts using small, sharp scissors. Then trim surrounding tufts to minimize indentations.

Dye Stains

Many beverages, medicines, cosmetics, foods, and other liquids contain dyes. These dyes may be absorbed into the fibers making removal very slow or impossible. Follow dye spot removal (carpet stain removal) procedures on the spot chart. If removal does not appear to be possible, call your carpet cleaner for advice. He or she may be able to tell you how to remove the spot; but in some unfortunate cases the dye cannot be removed. Sometimes the stain can be hidden by spot dyeing, retufting, or by repairing the affected area.

Ink (Ballpoint Pen)

Follow recommended procedures on the spot removal (carpet stain removal)

Procedures to contain the spill using alcohol as the dry cleaning solvent.

Rubbing alcohol can be used as a dry cleaning solvent. However, pouring alcohol directly into the spill can allow the spill to spread.


Some mustards contain very strong dyes that are difficult to remove even by carpet cleaner. At times, with more difficult stains, it may be necessary to remove the stained area and reinsert an undamaged section of carpet from scrap material, or from carpet removed from an inconspicuous area.

In some cases the application of ultraviolet light will allow the dyes in mustard to fade, but there is never any guarantee.


Rust almost always requires professional service because the chemicals required are hazardous when used improperly. In some cases, especially if the stain is fresh, the spot removal (carpet stain removal) procedures on the stain chart may be successful. The best rust removal solution available is called Rust Subtractor and may be purchased from SteamWay International.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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