How to Easily Remove Stains from Carpet - Without Chemicals!

Each stain on our carpet is a memory. There's the long, rectangular stain in the hallway from when  years old? No way.
my husband cooked a frozen Hungry Man dinner for me (immediately after my first C-section), only to drop it on the carpet. There's the little drops near the living room window where my son's sippy cup dripped apple juice. There's the large circular stain next to the couch where my husband spilled his coffee one Sunday morning. But these are memories I'd rather not have glaring at me from the floor each day, and over the years, I've tried many, many times to get rid of them. I've shampooed the rug, only to have the stains reappear, as if by magic. I've spot cleaned with a wide assortment of store bought cleaners that promised to do the trick, but didn't. So when I saw a Pinterest post claiming all I needed was water to remove our carpet stains, I was skeptical. Yeah sure, maybe that would work if the stain were fresh. But stains that are

Then we started prepping our house to sell. We don't have money to replace the carpet, so what could we do to make the carpet really clean? Hmmm...I remembered that Pinterest post (from Balancing Beauty and Bedlam). It was worth a try, right? Right! So far, it's worked on every carpet stain I've treated.

How to Remove Stains from Carpet Using Water

You will need:

Several white cloths (I use old flour sack towels, which are quite absorbent, but any white, non-print cloth should do)
Plastic shopping bag or a piece of plastic wrap
Heavy object (I use a few fat books)

For Older Stains:

A series of stains on my carpet. Who knows what caused this!
1. Pour water on the stain - enough to fully saturate the affected area.
Pour ordinary tap water onto the stains.
2. Blot the stain with the white cloth. Do not rub. Just lay the cloth over the stain and press down on it. As the cloth becomes saturated, use another part of the cloth, or a different cloth.
You can see the stains beginning to come off onto the cloth.
3. Keep blotting until you can no longer see the stain on the carpet. (With really stubborn stains, you may need to add more water and blot a little longer.)

4. Cover the wet area with a fresh white cloth, folded on itself several times. Cover the cloth with the plastic bag, and then place several heavy books on top. Leave in place until the next day.
I still have a few books I've haven't yet packed!
5. The next day, remove the books, bag, and cloth. The carpet should be dry and no trace of the stain should remain. AND...the stain will not return!
Ta-da! The stains are gone! (And they haven't come back.)
For Fresh Stains:

1. As soon as something gets spilled on the carpet, blot the stain with a white cloth until it no longer absorbs whatever's been spilled.

2. Follow steps 1 -5, above.

Why It Works

Why does water get rid of carpet stains when other cleaners do not? When you spill something on carpet, it will often soak through to the back of the carpet - and sometimes even into the pad underneath the carpet. Even though you clean the spilled substance until you can't see it on the surface of the carpet, some of it is still on or under the carpet. This substance gradually wicks up through the carpet fibers, reappearing on the surface.

So the only way to get rid of the stain is to remove the spilled substance from the underside of the carpet. By hydrating the carpet again and blotting it, the spilled substance rapidly wicks up to the surface. Blotting until you can't see a stain on the surface of the carpet brings up a lot of that substance, but forcing the wicking to continue overnight (by placing an absorbent cloth and some heavy books on top of it) gets out any remaining substance.


  1. Well that is sure good to know! We just moved into a rental with beige carpet and dirty feet from moving in the rain have already left some places here!

  2. I've been trying to get some info on this particular subject over the last couple of days, I am glad you share this valuable information with us. it's very useful to me for my future work.