9 Most Common Causes of Rug Stains and How to Clean Them

Your carpet is a welcoming home to pollutants, including dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, dirt, and many other health-threatening allergens

Essentially this means that those pesky rug stains are not only ugly, but they are actually a threat to your health if left unresolved. Unfortunately, giving your rugs and carpets a vacuuming once a week isn’t enough to banish these unwelcome settlers and keep your carpets looking fresh and new

Of course, accidents happen, especially with kids, pets, and varying weather conditions involved. So how can you keep your carpets stain free without banning your children from the living room?

Follow along to discover 9 of the most common rug stains you’ll face in your home and how to clean them effectively. 

1. Mud

With around half of Americans wearing their shoes inside, mud is one of the most common stains to see taking over your carpets. Even if you install a ‘shoes at the door’ policy for your household, children, pets, and long pant legs are all culprits of the brown sticky mess. 

When this wet substance makes contact with your carpet, the worst thing you can do is rub it. Many homeowners see the dampness and think the best way to eliminate it is to attack it straight away. When it comes to mud, the opposite is true.

Let the mud dry completely, doing your best not to spread it or press it further into the rug. Once dry, use your vacuum and make several passes at the area. This should pick up the majority of the mess. 

Follow this process by dabbing a mixture of dish soap and warm water on the surface until the brown stain is lifted. 

2. Beverages

After a long day at the office, all you want to do is settle down on the sofa for a mindless movie with a glass of your favorite red wine. Unfortunately, this relaxing evening can become a frustrating experience when your wine, coffee, or even the kid’s fruit juice splashes all over your new rug.

While drink spills are a stubborn mess to clean, it’s almost a guarantee that your carpet will see its fair share of them through its lifetime. 

To clean up these colorful stains, stick to a blotting motion instead of rubbing. Mix vinegar and water and apply generously to the area as quickly as possible.

3. Food Spills

Whether it’s the sauce from pasta or chocolate drizzle from your ice cream dessert, the splatter of your food can ruin both your meal and your beautiful flooring. 

When these spills happen, quickly remove any large particles or wet substances. Try your best not to rub the area when picking up the food. Next, you’ll want to combine 2 cups of warm water with a tablespoon each of vinegar and dish soap. 

Use a clean cloth to dab the mixture on the stain and sponge out any colorful residue. 

4. Pet Accidents

Your new puppy quickly becomes a treasured member of the family, but of course, this doesn’t mean they are perfect. House training your pets is rarely done with ease, and as a result, you’ll definitely have an accident or two to clean up while they learn. 

Accidents on the carpet tend to leave a distinct smell behind that needs much more than water to reduce. Invest in a good enzyme cleaner to break down the compounds in the pet urine and remove as much of the color and smell as possible. 

Unfortunately, pets will often reclaim an area that has been messed on once before, causing repeat accidents. To fully rid your carpet of the mess, you’ll need the help of a professional cleaning service. However, the enzyme cleaner should buy you time as you reduce the frequency of these mistakes. 

5. Ink

If you’ve had a pen explosion or your child left a marker open on the floor, these rug stains are one of the most stubborn to remove. 

Like most substances, you’ll want to attack the stain removal process as quickly as possible. However, instead of dousing the area with water and soap, you’ll need to employ an alcohol-based cleaner for the job. 

The alcohol will work to break down the ink and prevent it from growing into an unsightly faded blue puddle on your rug. If the stain doesn’t lift, get in touch with a professional carpet cleaner as quickly as possible.

6. Crayons

If your living room is a craft center hub, you may have noticed one or two creative lines that escaped the borders of the paper. Wax crayon stains are usually easy to remove with a wet sponge and some baking soda. 

Rub these lines away with the sponge mixture or apply heat with a warm iron. Be sure to fold a towel between the iron and the carpet surface to ensure no burns or melted wax escalate the stain.

7. Blood

Whether your child cut their foot or you’ve had a sudden nose bleed, the presence of blood on your carpet is an unwelcome reminder of the incident. 

When it comes to blood, use cold water, dish detergent, and paper towel for the job. Again, be sure to stick to that blotting motion and avoid using fabric to prevent the transfer of the blood to other areas. 

8. Grease and Oil

Grease and oil can be tracked in on shoes from the street, transferred on hands from the kitchen, or even soaked through the bottom of the pizza box. 

To banish the stains from grease and oil on your rug, act fast by sprinkling baking soda over the area. Allow the baking soda to sit and absorb the greasy mess for 15 minutes before vacuuming away. 

If the stain still remains, get in touch with your local cleaning professionals to remove area rug stains properly.

9. Gum

Chewing gum is a favorite among children and adults alike, but what do you do when the sticky substance gets stuck in your carpet? 

Before you tug and scrape, you’ll need to return the gum to a more solid-state. Use an ice cube and let it sit for around one minute to make the gum hard. Once it’s good and cold, pick it out of your rug. For stubborn spots, use the edge of a credit card or the dull side of a table knife to scrape away.

Dealing With Rug Stains  

From crafty children to mischievous pets, now you know the best ways to remove the most common rug stains with ease. Spot wash your stains away, and don’t forget to schedule that regular clean from the professionals to keep your carpets looking like new. 

Want to learn more about caring for your home? Check out our other articles to discover all the tips and tricks you need to keep your house in tip-top condition.