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No matter how hard you try to avoid them, stains on your carpet and upholstery are bound to happen from time to time. Drinks spill, kids get messy with crayons, and the wear and tear of daily foot traffic eventually builds up. Fortunately, there are tried and true methods for resolving many common types of carpet and upholstery stains, so you don’t have to live with them forever.

  1. Urine stains

Urine stains often come from pets and young children, and they create an unsightly appearance and odor on your carpet and upholstery when they occur.

To remove urine stains, begin by using a paper towel or cloth to blot up any excess. From there, sponge the area with a mixture of one part water and one part white vinegar and blot until dry. Repeat this until the urine is removed. Finally, clean the area with a carpet and upholstery shampoo and let dry.

  1. Dirt and mud stains

If you have pets or live in an area where rain and snow are common, you know how difficult it can be to avoid occasionally getting mud on your carpet.

When this happens, the first thing to do isn’t exactly what you might expect. Rather than immediately get to work trying to get rid of the stain, it is recommended that you wait for the mud to dry so it is easier to clean. Attempting to remove fresh mud will often only push it deeper into the carpet fibers, which is the opposite of what you want to accomplish.

Professional steam cleaner

Cleaning couch with steam cleaner

First, allow the mud to try, and once that’s done, extract as much of it as possible using a vacuum. When doing this, be careful to use slow motions as opposed to quick ones and move in many different directions to clean all pockets of the dirt.

  1. Oil-based stains

Oil-based stains originate from everyday items like cooking grease, petroleum jelly, cosmetics, and lotions. These types of stains are known for being particularly difficult to get rid of, which is why many carpet manufacturers pre-treat their carpets with protective coatings to keep the oil from penetrating too deeply.

If your carpet already has an oil protective coating, you’re in luck. Mild dish soap and water will be sufficient to remove the stain. Simply combine the two and scrub the affected area(s) until clean.

If you don’t have a protective coating on your carpet, try a dry-cleaning method instead. Place a dry paper towel on top of the stain and iron to draw out the oil.

  1. Water soluble stains

Water soluble stains come from popular foods and beverages including wine, beer, soft drinks, fruit, jelly, and jam. They are very common and fortunately, some of the easiest stains to remove from carpet and upholstery.

All you’ll need is some mild dish soap, a white towel, and a small bowl of water. Start with only the towel and the water. Wet the towel and blot the stained area, working your way in from the outer portion of the stain. Then, create a mixture of one teaspoon dish soap and eight ounces of water and blot the area again in a similar fashion until the stain is removed. When the stain is gone, be sure to revisit the treated spots with water to get rid of any lingering dirt or soap residue.

  1. Cigarette stains

When your carpet or upholstery is damaged by cigarette stains, you will most likely need to recruit the help of a professional to get them out. The nicotine can become deeply embedded in the fibers and is very difficult to remove. However, if you want to try removing the stain yourself, use the following method:

  1. Create a mixture of 1 part dish detergent, 1 part glycerin, and 8 parts water, along with a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar
  2. Work the solution into the affected area with a cloth or paper towel, carefully moving from the outside toward the middle
  3. Blot until the stain is fully absorbed and allow the area to air dry

Stains in carpet and upholstery are virtually unavoidable in life. Whether you have small children, pets, or just occasionally get too careless with a glass of grape juice, you’re bound to get something in your soft fabrics from time to time. Depending on what kind of stain you’re dealing with, the above tips will help you treat it most effectively so your carpet or furniture can start looking better again in less time and with less mess.

While there are many types of stains you can take care of on your own with DIY methods, some will require the help of a professional carpet cleaning company. In Aurora, homeowners turn to ServiceMaster Restore to resolve their more severe carpet and upholstery issues. Contact us 7 days a week at (630) 896-0030 or via email at

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