Homemade Carpet Stain Remover…NO Scrubbing Needed!

OK…I realize it’s Christmas Eve…and I really should be posting something about food or parties or family or…I don’t know…something FESTIVE!  If that’s what you were expecting to read about today…my apologies. I’m just too excited about my new carpet cleaning discovery that I simply HAD to post this…TODAY. :-)

It started with this post about making your own homemade version of “Shout” laundry stain remover.  A couple of people asked if they could use it on their carpet stains too.  I didn’t know the answer to that because I’d never thought to try it…but was definitely going to give it a go.

That was before this comment was posted by Tammie:

homemade carpet stain cleaner

Let me let you in on a little secret about me (ok it’s not really a secret…maybe a really badly-kept one!). I am a naturally CURIOUS, IMPATIENT, AND OBSESSIVE person (which would explain a lot about my choice of a career in TV news), and I simply can’t read something like that and not give it a try myself, immediately!
So….instead of finishing up the 101 things I still had to do before my Christmas Eve dinner party I was hosting in a matter of hours….I was sitting on the floor with my steam iron, a bottle of ammonia and water and several white towels!

(Don’t ask about the carpet color…it came with the house when we bought it. My best guess is that when the builders of the house originally put the wall-to-wall berber carpet in…they were a smidge short and just grabbed whatever was on sale in the remnant department of the carpeting store to finish up this basement bedroom.)

All I had to go on were the two lines written in that comment above….but honestly…that’s all you need to know.  I filled an empty spray bottle with 1 part ammonia & 1 part HOT water, sprayed it LIBERALLY on the stain, laid the clean white towel on top of it and started ironing away!  Within literally SECONDS…this is what the WHITE towel looked like.

homemade carpet stain cleaner

I repeated the process maybe two more times….and the stain was GONE.  A stain that has been there for I don’t even remember how long! Gone!  G O N E!

homemade carpet stain cleaner

My 16 year old son was helping me and he and I were AMAZED!  We could hardly believe our eyes. It was so easy and quick and there wasn’t even any scrubbing involved.  Who would have ever thought to use a steam iron and a towel to draw the stain up out of the carpet? Well, probably some of you…but not me! lol.  Simply brilliant.

This smashing success spurred me on to tackle the MUCH bigger stain in the same room. Another stain I have NO idea how long it’s been there or even HOW it got there. And once again….success at getting out MOST of the stain.  If I didn’t have a dinner party deadline pressing on me….I would have probably kept at it all night long….but I had to “call the game” after about an hour because I was running out of time to get everything done.  But as you can see by THIS before and after…the miracle carpet cleaner was definitely doing the job!

homemade carpet stain cleaner

Just look at the PILE of white towels I went through before I called it a night!  That was a serious stain!

homemade carpet stain cleaner

Since most of your stains will probably be more like the first stain I showed you. I am MORE than confident in saying……TRY IT!!! It truly is amazing stuff! Can’t wait to try it on more stains! :-)

Oh….I almost forgot……





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  1. Anonymous says

    I tried for 3 months to get bright red dog barf stain out of the carpets in our year old house. I was so embarrassed, and tried everything from carpet cleaners, to resolve, to countless other home remedies. I tried this as a last hope, and it WORKED!!!!!! I can't tell you how happy that I am that someone pinned this idea on Pinterest. I'm sharing this with everybody! Thank you!!

    • Nancy says

      I just tried this on some kid barf. It worked great! The stain and smell were completely gone! I got excited and tried it on some red fingernail polish that got spilled in the hallway carpet closet. I was amazed that it worked. It isn’t completely gone, but it is less noticeable.

  2. Chris @ Freckle Face Girl says

    I accidentally came upon your post…on Pinterest. And spent the entire morning walking around my house with white towels, an iron, and a spray bottle. I have taken up red dog vomit, I don't know how many juice stains, some sort of kid crust that hardened like plastic on the floor, and all sorts of other random stains too. I can't believe I have spent who knows how much on stain removers when this is better than ALL THE REST! Thanks so much!!!

  3. Jessica Lewis says

    Look like it works great just one tip for people for pets Clean afterwars with vinegar to neutralize the amonia so you puppies wont think that this is a place to potty!! I will be tryn this one tho!!

  4. Miss Summer says

    @Penny I clean beach houses for a second side job and I have found that dryer sheets for soap scumb works awesome! just wet the door and use the dryer sheet rubbing in a circular motion, you may use more than one depending on the door size.. then just wash away. Viola! ;)

  5. Anonymous says

    My kids dropped a gallon of glue on my carpet. I have clean and clean and got it so it is just hard. Today a did a tiny part of it witht he iron to see if it helped and it did. Right now I am in the middle of remodeling my den so I will finish it at another time (in kid's play room). Thanks for all the great info!

    • Laneybird says

      Trista, I’ve been working on spots in my carpet for the past week. A friend told me to try the 1/2 and 1/2 ammonia, water, but it didn’t do the job completely. So, I used another solution I found on Pinterest. 2 c warm water and added a good splash of white vinegar and a dribble of Dawn dish soap and I added a small handful (about a 1/8 c of baking soda to the mix.

      I scrubbed and scrubbed my carpet specifically hitting the most awful stains first. Then, I went over it with my steam cleaner using very warm water and about 2 c of white vinegar. It took most of the stains out as well as most of the regular traffic path. Have two fans on the carpet and I’m waiting for it to dry right now so I can move on to the last area that needs help! I’ve used my steamer with the commercial cleaner several times AND had a professional come in twice and the stains reappeared each time!

      I also had a sick dog who puked all over the carpet (still don’t understand why they won’t throw up on the kitchen floor so I can wipe it up easier!), plus grandbabies and their spillproof sippy cups! HA!

      So far, it looks good! This project so far has been broken up in 3 stages because my arms cannot take a whole day of the scrubbing and the ammonia got to my nose and throat, so I had to quit that one.

      I’m experimenting to see which does the best job, the combination of the ammonia, then the vinegar solution and steam, or the vinegar solution with baking soda and then hit it with the vinegar water in the steamer. I’ll let everyone know as soon as I’m finished!

  6. Amanda C says

    I love this and can't wait to try it on my carpet. We are moving in less than 2 months and had pretty much accepted that we were going to lose our security deposit. I'm really excited now that maybe we won't now. I just have one question, but it requires a little detail first. I had a hairbrush that has the gel type handle, it's almost like a clear silly putty substance I think. Hopefully some of you know what type brush I am talking about because I have no idea what it is called. Anyway my dog decided to use it as a chew toy and of course he was on the carpet with it (couldn't have made it easy on me by going in any other room in the house without carpet, the living room and dining room are it for carpet) Any suggestions as to how I can get this out of the carpet? I pulled as much as I could off but it had already started to settle into the carpet by the time I got home and found it.

    • April says

      you can try to remove it with a brown bag and hot iron. I did that with a wax candle that somehow “exploded” (according to my kids) and had wax on my carpet. The wax melted into the bag and it was gone. Not even a residual stain..

        • My 2 Cents says

          It works!! A friend of mine’s daughter BORROWED a dress from someone to wear to prom, well, someone bumped into their table and spilled candle wax on the dress. She was devastated!! Afterall, she had borrowed the dress! Tried the brown paper bag and iron trick and every bit of it came out, you couldn’t even tell where the wax was!!

  7. Anonymous says

    This is truly AMAZING!! I've lived in my house for six years and got stains out. The house is actually 12-15 years old so there's no telling how old some of these stains were. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Jennifer says

      I am with you! I did three stains and stopped bc my throat is now on fire and I feel like I can still smell it up my nose. My whole house stinks and I didn’t even sit directly in front of the steam. Awful!!!

      • Tarra says

        how long till the ammonia smell was gone? i had every window open and the fan and its been an hour and the smell is almost gone (could be just me though my eyes, nose and throat are still burning) but i dont want friends and family to smell it when they come over tomorrow…

  8. Anonymous says

    I tried this today, and it took the red gooey (don't know what) stain out of the cream-colored carpet completely in just a few seconds! When I bought a Shark floor steam cleaner earlier this year it came with a miniature one the size of an iron, so I used that, and it worked wonders on the stains. At first I thought I might have accidentally bleached the carpet, but then I realized that I had just uncovered seriously clean carpet and the whole rest of the room was dirty.

  9. A Little Bit of Everything! says

    Have you noticed any of the stains reappearing? I have used a carpet shampooer on our carpet several times. When I'm finished shampooing it I see no stains. After several days the stains reappear.

    • Mama Schu says

      It’s reappearing because when you shampoo your carpet you’re actually just flooding the carpet, so the stain doesn’t go away, it just “sinks”….(which is also why you’re not supposed to walk on the wet carpet, it just spreads the stain)

    • Christine says

      I have had our carpet cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I even borrowed my MIL’s carpet cleaner. Still see stains, too. Thank you to Mama Schu for the reason why we can’t ever make the stains go away! No more carpet cleaning.

      • Melissa says

        @ christne My name is Michael Carlson and I have been a professional carpet cleaner for over 30 years. Maybe I can help you to understand what is happening when that stain comes back and what you can do about it.

        There are two reasons why stains come back.

        Residue- residue is what is left over after an incomplete cleaning attempt. This is usually a sticky alkaline cleaning agent that has been left in the carpet and soil is sticking to it. It would be like washing your hair and only rinsing half of the shampoo. Your hair will get dirty twice as fast. Usually what happens on carpets is the homeowner sprays too much alkaline cleaner on a spot and rubs it out. The spot disappears. The homeowner is happy, mission complete, except that a few days later that dirty spot reappears. Sometimes it could be that an alkaline cleaner has spilled on the carpets. Four year old Susie is helping with the laundry and opens the cap and spills two cups of laundry soap on the carpets. There is going to be so much soap in the carpet that you are going to need some expert advice. Or, it has been known to happen that an inexperienced carpet cleaner has left residue in the carpets.

        Whatever caused the problems, here are the solutions.

        The small residue spot
        When you are cleaning up a stain, rule number one is to use the proper cleaning solution. Using the wrong solution can at best be ineffective and at worst damage your carpet. On our website is a page with the best cleaning solutions for different kinds of stains.

        When you use an alkaline stain remover, you need to either rinse extremely well or rinse and neutralize the area with an acidic solution to remove any residue. White vinegar in ½ cup to a quart of warm water mixture is a good acidic cleaning solution that will remove the residue. Pour some of the vinegar solution on the spot and blot dry.Use the vinegar after you have rinsed out the spot thoroughly.

    • Anne Hamilton says

      I always had this problem too, I had read somewhere to replace the soap you put in the shampooer with vinegar, because as someone explains also here, the soap leaves a residue which attracts more dirt! I had cream colored carpets that would always seem clean, but would look dirty again a day or two after I cleaned them. After I tried the vinegar trick, WOW! They were the cleanest they had been in a long time and the clean stayed too! Problem solved! Now that’s all I use. Much cheaper too! The smell goes away pretty quick, but I will sometimes pour some febreeze in with it for a fresher scent.

  10. Jill Nystul says

    Sheryl….I thought it was common knowledge that ammonia is VERY STRONG SMELLING! Strange thing is…it doesn't bother me in the slightest. My kids, on the other hand, made a HUGE fuss! Be sure and crack a door or a window. One the bright side…the smell will completely go away.

    A little bit of everything…I have had that same thing happen with carpet shampooers. So far I haven't seen that happen with this method.

    • Anonymous says

      I’m actually shampooing as I type :). A friend told me when they got their carpet the guy told them to not use the soap, just hot water. Ever since I applied this method it seems to last longer. He told her the shampoo actually attracts dirt so that’s why you see the stains so fast. For kicks I put vinegar where the solution goes this time and added tee tree essence to the water. Like the essence (don’t use if pregnant or nursing) but not sure if vinegar does anything. I have 5 kids so the carpet gets plenty of exercise!!! Going to try this stain remover before I do the living room!

  11. Stephanie says

    The carpet in our house is only 2 years old but was completely ruined by kids and a puppy. This method removed ALL the stains (even the puppys urine!!) I am so happy to have came across this.. I don't like working with ammonia but it was worth it to get rid of the stains in a matter of seconds. Thank you so much!

  12. Anonymous says

    my dog chewed up a tube of red shoe polish onto my beige carpet…anyone else have a shoe polish experience? which method might work (crossing fingers…i live in an apt and would like my deposit back)

  13. Anonymous says

    This took out some red dog vomit out of white carpet that has been there for almost 4 years! I have tried everything on that spot, and this is the only thing that has worked! Thank you so much! If it wasn't for my husband's sensitive nose, I would be going over the rest of the apartment's mysterious spots. Oh well, he has to go to work eventually! :)

    Thanks so much for the tips! :)

  14. Jill Nystul says

    haha…my kids whine and complain when I use ammonia too. :-) Luckily I've found it dissipates very quickly and there is NO lingering smell.

    Why is it that everyone's dog vomit is red?? lol! Just curious….

      • Stacey E says

        My dog threw up on my carpet two days ago. I cleaned it up with some carpet cleaner and didnt think twice about it. I double checked the spot today and it was BRIGHT GREEN!! I cleaned it again and it looked like the stain was gone again. I tried this on that same spot and even though the visible stain was gone I used three white towels until I no longer saw green coming through!!

        • Tarra says

          the grass they eat can make their vomit green or it could be green or red from the type of dog food/treats they are given since almost all pet food has food colors in it so us humans think it looks more appetizing (like a dog cares how his food looks lol)

  15. Anonymous says

    Thanks for the tip. I tried it on a stain that I think must be some sort of grease. It's black. It didn't work at all, but I was kind of timid about putting the iron on the carpet for too long. Do you think I just didn't iron it for long enough?

    • Sonja says

      I’ve heard chalk takes grease stains out of clothing. You just rub it on before the wash and the chalk soaks up the grease. Maybe you could try this on your carpet before you use the iron trick.

    • Adrienne says

      I have used Lestoil on all grease based stains for years. A little goes a long way and it smells like gasoline but it always works! Apply Lestoil directly to stain and work in with fingernails or small bristle brush can use a little water too. Blot up as stain releases. Repeat til it’s gone. Works on clothes too! Even the ones that have been washed and dried!

  16. Anonymous says

    I want to say Thank YOU for all of your posts of such useful information. Now I can't wait to iron my floor and I'm not even an ironing kind of girl lol. Here is another tip for spot remover on upholstery fabric that my husbands grandma always used she would mix in a little bowl like a tablespoon of powdered Tide and a little ammonia to make a paste and an old toothbrush to dip in the paste to scrub just the stain and a little bucket of hot water and a rag wrung out to wipe it off I tell you it worked. But like they say test a small unseen part of the fabric first like under the skirt to make sure it doesn't hurt the fabric. I have used this tip for years and it always got the stain out without hurting the upholstery fabric it worked on carpet too.
    Thanks again Jill for all the great ideas!!!

  17. Anonymous says

    Make a paste with baking soda and vinegar. Let it sit on the stain for a while. It should wipe right up. This works on sinks and countertops too. Actually it works on almost anything. It's a miracle cleaner.

    • Amanda says

      I’ve used this on my white counter tops for years! We love our iced sun tea in the south but I HATE that it almost always leaves a tea ring on the counter after someone pours from a full gallon jar.

      I’ve learned that lemon juice with baking soda works too if you are out of vinegar. Also, after either solution has sat on the stain you can pour a little salt on it to use for scrubbing power to save your elbow.

  18. deb thomas says

    I tried this and it worked wonders on an old stain from a water leak. It didn't do as good on a few old coffee stains. My dog seams to have a tracking device in her tail that homes in on any cup of coffee within a 20 foot reach. Anyway, a neighbor told me to add an equal part of club soda to this mixture and it worked great

  19. Real Housewife of RC says

    Dear Pumpkin for Pets… I also use pumpkin for my dogs. One has anal gland issues and the pumpkin is a great source of fiber which has now allieviated her discomfort. The other has allergies and so it is a great way to sneak in the pills inside a Tbsp of pumpkin. JUST BE SURE IT'S PURE PUMPKIN and NOT PIE FILLING!!

    • Jodi says

      My vet suggested pure pumpkin for my cockapoo who has chronic anal gland issues too. She seems to like the pumpkin (I put 2 TBSP) in her dinner every night…she weighs 30 lbs. She still licks and licks and licks…and does the butty scoot. I express her anal glands in between grooming and vet visits. What size is your dog? Does it lick all the time too? It makes me nuts!

      Real Housewife of Temecula
      email me @ jodisuewilson@aol.com with subject: PUMPKIN FOR PETS :) Thanks

  20. Anonymous says

    Best stain/odor remover I've used for years:
    1 cup hydrogen peroxide
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 squirt liquid hand soap

    Mix well and pour over or spray area until saturated.
    Air dry.

    Don't try to store this mixture in a sealed container. Mix up and use the amount needed each time.

    • Joelle says

      I paid $8.00 about 7 years ago to get that info, and it works wonders for urine odors in carpets, mattress and I even have done this on clothes in the washer!! So y’all, write this solution down and save yourself some money!

    • tara says

      does this stain/odor remover need to be vacuumed up when dry? i have a new rescue and he has never been out of a cage…..for 6yrs. he has many fears and doesn’t always feel “comfortable” doing his potty outside…so the second i leave the house, he heads for a certain spot in the living room. have been using vet-approved stain/odor remover, but, guess what?? it doesn’t work. humidity has started in the region and the odor needs to be dealt with.
      any info is appreciated.

      • Michelle says

        Does this solution work on removing odors from microfiber suede? Our dog loves to sit on our couch and DROOL all over it. It smells disgusting, but even “professional” cleaners haven’t been able to get out the smell.

    • Trina says

      Thank you so much for this AMAZING tip! It worked like a charm. I even used this solution in my carpet cleaner when I ran out of shampoo, then I went on to use it on the walls & floor boards ( figured might as well since I was already spraying the stains). It smelled so much better then the vinegar & water I usually use to clean with. ; )

  21. Anonymous says

    I have an expensive rug handmade wool. The merchant said I could clean with dish soap. UH no that doesn't work even a little. I have kids so of course there are stains. It is several different colors in lines so difficult to see stains until they have been walked on a lot and leave huge dark stains. I don't want to try ammonia on this just in case it might ruin or discolor. Anyone know how I can clean this, the merchant didn't think chemicals would be a good idea so the rug will last longer.

  22. Adsherf says

    God Bless you, Tammy and this blog by way of Pinterest. Recently there was an unfortunate incident involving my 4 yr old and a Death by Chocolate cake. The battle was fought from the fridge/kitchen….. thru the livng room, stairs and ended in the hall outside my room. I was at a loss on how to successfully remove the evidence without smearing or making it a bigger mess. I am happy to report that the 2 major crime scenes are no longer…… I just need to tackle the 10+ carpeted stairs to call it a complete success. I had nightmares of hours of scrubbing and various products I might have to buy. Aside from this really only taking 15-20 min and no scrubbing, I spent less than $2 for the Ammonia.

    • Jodi says

      Oh Adsherf. You will look back one day and laugh and miss those days with your 4 year old. I hope you took pictures! I always took pictures of all my kids disasters and video taped their meltdowns. Now we all laugh til we cry watching. I wish I could have seen the battle, I bet it was hysterical :)

      • Mama T says

        I thought I was the only one who did this! Haha!! Between my 2 year old and 4 year old, I have several pictures of their “adventures.” The newest one happened this morning. They decided to play dress up with my makeup. The carpet is now various shades of red, pink, and black(liquid eyeliner and mascara.) Even the dog is painted up. The first thing I did? I grabbed my camera.

    • Lydia says

      LOL. Reminds me of the time I went into my kitchen to see my two little kids and the floor covered in flour AND hershey’s chocolate syrup. I have also lost about 2 dozen’s worth of eggs thanks to those two on two separate occaisions. Gotta love ‘em, take pictures, and show them off to friends when they are older!

  23. Anonymous says

    About the carpet cleaners – I shampoo my carpets with the regular cleaning solution and super HOT water. After rinsing and sucking as much water out of my carpets as I can I mix about 2 Cups of vinegar in my water tank with HOT water. Go over all the carpet previously shampooed and the vinegar solution keeps the shampoo from attracting dirt. Works great! Now to try the above tip on some difficult stains.

    • Sharon says

      Ammonia is a degreaser, disinfectant, and leaves no residue. It’s not so good to soak your carpets with water, with solution or not. Why go through all these processes, when you can just rent one of those “rinse and vacs” from any grocery, buy a bottle of clear, non-suddsing ammonia and go over the carpet or stain as many times as is necessary to see the collected water is clean. Mix it with hot water to the strength you think will remove the soil you have. Increase the stength and repeat. This works so well. I cleaned houses for twelve years and all my clients raved about how clean I got their carpets – even a day care center was cleaned the best ever here in Palm Beach, FL.

  24. Anonymous says

    I have worked for a pro carpet cleaning company now for four years I would say this is probly a bad idea even though the stain is gone a few things can happen 1 it can bleach your carpet 2 it is not good to to be around thoes fumes and 3 it can acctulay do damage to the integrity of the carpet itself the best thing to do if you need to get stains of of your carpet is go to the home dopot and get a can of Chem Dry spot remover it is a certified green product safe for the carpet and will not leave any dirt atracting resedue in the carpet it is a carbonarted solution and works amazing ! if you have more than a few spots its time to call and have them cleaned. also say you need to get out candle wax take a damp white cloth place over the wax set an iron on high over the damp cloth for a moment this will draw the wax up out of the carpet into the cloth.

    • Michelle says

      I had this experience with red wax on my cream carpet. I found some advise that said to use brown paper bags and an iron to get it out. It worked miraculously and didn’t ruin towels in the process.

  25. Anonymous says

    I'm so glad I ran across this suggestion a few days ago! I came home this afternoon to discover our cat had thrown up on our cream colored bedroom carpet. I used carpet cleaner on it and it was still stained. I bought some ammonia tonight and tried your suggestion and it worked!

  26. Anonymous says

    I found this wonderful ironing technique a couple years ago when my son left his sippy cup turned over in room leaking lime green koolaid all over the carpet, probably almost the size of a dinner plate . Though the one I found just said to use hot water with a few drops off dawn in it . It was amazing ! It worked so well I walked around doing other spots.now I tell every mom I meet about it ,lol – Jessica

  27. Anonymous says

    Vacuum and then sprinkle baking soda on the entire area. Wait 5 minutes to let it soak up the smell, vacuum again. It should clear up any smells its releasing. Works great with getting stains out of things like your shower or even your teeth too :)

  28. Jill Nystul says

    Anony…Feb 26…I bet this would definitely work on your pillow top bed. I would think it would definitely be worth a try! :-)

    Thanks Inspire me heather! :-)

    Welcome Kathleen!


  1. […] Ammonia is a power household cleaning agent that should always be used with caution. When used properly, ammonia can help with a number of household cleaning chores. This first trick is a favorite for its magical carpet cleaning properties. When combined with water, ammonia can help with the removal of the toughest of carpet stains. The secret ingredient? Let’s just say it involves an iron. […]

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