How to Remove Water Stains from Carpet

How to Remove Water Stains from CarpetWhether you’ve spilled a water glass from your coffee table or suddenly discovered water pooling on the carpet by stepping into a puddle, water on a carpet is never a good day.  Water, despite being clear, can stain your carpet and leave unsightly patterns of dirt all over an otherwise beautiful floor.  The larger the spill, the worse the effect.

Of course, depending on how large the affected area is, the technique for restoring your carpet will be slightly different.  First, if the water is fresh, reduce the amount of damage by blotting up the water with a clean towel.  Never rub the carpet to get the water out, since rubbing the carpet will wear it out faster.  Press the towel into the carpet and wring it out in a bucket or sink to dispose of the water.

You should also find the source of the water.  Was a sink left running? Did the refrigerator break and leak far enough to get water on the carpet? Or was a glass simply spilled during the day?  Find the source and make sure that no more water can be added to the carpet, otherwise you’ll simply have to repeat your efforts.  If the source of the water is a plumbing problem, shut off the water first and clean your carpet while you wait on a professional plumber to arrive to fix the problem.

Method 1: Soap

Use a mixture of soap and water (detergent also works, but never use a bleach detergent as it can fade the carpet).  Wet a cloth with the mixture and blot at the area where the stain is located.  The goal is to remove dirt and sediment (trapped in the carpet as the water dried).  Again, do not rub the carpet, simply dab and blot at the stain with firm pressure. This works well on smaller stains, and you may find that it removes the stain completely.  Otherwise, it’s time to move on to more powerful tools.

Method 2: Vinegar

That bulwark of home cleaning remedies: vinegar.  It’s used in everything from drain cleaners to odor removers and is just as effective at fighting carpet water stains that soap can’t seem to clear up.  Mix in roughly ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar (make sure it’s white vinegar) per 32 ounces of water.

This time you need to apply the solution to the carpet.  Apply the mixture to the stained area with a bottle sprayer and let it sit for a few moments before removing it with a cloth.  Lightly press against the carpet to reabsorb the mixture (along with the stain).  You won’t see a positive effect until after the carpet dries, so allow time for the carpet to breathe and air dry.  Don’t apply heat, and keep people from walking over the stain until it dries.

After the vinegar mixture is finished, you can use an iron to help remove the stain faster.  Place a towel over the carpet and use the iron in the “steam” setting.  Press gently into the towel with the iron and then remove it.

Method 3: Chemicals and Professionals

If none of the previous methods have worked, then the best thing to do is attempt a chemical cleaning.  Using a store-bought stain cleaner or carpet cleaner will give you a good chance at removing the stain.  If the DIY option is still not working for you, a professional carpet cleaner can be called to handle the stain.

But don’t forget to take care of the initial source of the water spill, especially if it’s from an appliance or your plumbing!


Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want!  Call us today at (423) 616-1025!

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