Miracle Carpet Stain Remover . . . Just 2 Ingredients!

carpet stain remover

WELCOME to “Save My Sanity Saturday” at One Good Thing By Jillee….where I attempt to avoid having a nervous breakdown by actually giving myself a day off from blogging once a week!

So pull up a chair and sit back and enjoy an “oldie but goodie” from the One Good Thing By Jillee archives.


This week we have been doing some minor home remodeling which has resulted in the need to rearrange our furniture in the living areas. BIG MISTAKE! Let’s just say I was more than a little horrified by how dirty the high traffic areas of our carpets were compared to the areas under the furniture we moved.

I immediately thought of my Miracle Carpet Stain Remover post and decided it was the perfect choice for today’s archive diving. I plan on using it to tackle my carpet this weekend (and I’ll be sure to take some updated photos to replace these pretty awful ones!)


–Originally posted December 24, 2011–

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 spray bottle filled with ammonia & 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!


carpet stain remover


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!  Simply brilliant.

This smashing success spurred me on to tackle the MUCH bigger stain in the same room. Once again I had NO idea how long the stain had been there….and once again….I had great 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!


carpet stain remover


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


carpet stain remover



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. says

    PERFECT timing! We just bought a new couch and it is a tad smaller than the old (and stinky, dirty) one and, even though the carpet is barely two years old, I definitely noticed the ‘darker’ areas in the high traffic zone. Can’t wait to try yet another miracle from you, Jillee! Thanks so much!

  2. Cathy says

    Jillee, I love your oldie but goodies. It is good for me to hear something more than once. You take a save your sanity day anytime. I learn so much from you that I really NEED you to stay sane. I am that selfish. Now I am going to go finally clean those carpet stains in my daughter’s room. Love you!!!!!

  3. barbara says

    our dogs all ate something that disagreed with them…..and we only feed them dog food. well ordinary means did not clean the spots. I remembered you mentioned the above recipe, but I decided to try your wonders of peroxide instead…WOW…WOW….WOW….spots came out immediately without discoloring carpet…my husband was amazed. I had already cleaned carpet w machine..NOTHING…then used peroixde…perfection. thanks Jillie

    • kristy h says

      Cats ARE attracted to the ammonia! We’re in the process of selling our house. One of our two cats is very nervous and upset wjth strangers larading thtough our home and has become a vomit-machine. Tried this method to get rid of a new stain just hours before our house was shown and our other cat wknt stop trying to cover the spot. It remains to be seen if they’ll potty on the spot but at this point, they are definitely attracted to it :(

  4. Rosemary says

    Just a thought but for some time carpeting was made from plastic recyclable material which would melt. Make sure what your carpet is made from before you steam it. Otherwise , great idea. Thanks.

  5. Claudia says

    I tried this as a last resort for a dark stain made by a plate of corn with butter sauce that my husband dumped on the family room carpet. For the last 18 months, I have tried every product on the market including my daughter’s steam cleaner to no avail. So what was there to lose? I was amazed, you could not tell where the stain had been and it had been super obvious to my dismay. I had been ready to pull up the carpet and put in new. So simple, why didn’t I find out about it earlier. I have told everyone I know about it!

  6. Jeannean Green says

    I’m doing this today. I care for my dad in his home and this gigantic house has (I am not kidding) WHITE carpet!!! Well, okay, off-white…but still. Dad has a white dog named Porkchop. He may be white, but what he has done a couple times over the years was not. Fingers crossed for this.

  7. Mindi says

    I keep on reading “hot iron”. Do you mean a “cotton” setting or should it be a cooler setting? I wouldn’t mind replacing my carpet soon, but not because I burned a hole in it! That’s the only thing that is stopping me from grabbing white towels and mixing up a bottle of this “miracle” cleaner! Any advice? I love your hints and have used many of them!

  8. Vickie says

    You know those steam machine things they sell on TV? Works the same way. Steam is what does it. I just spray the spot with ammonia and water or vinegar and water or better yet, Oxiclean and water, and steam away.

  9. Kay Christian says

    Hi Jill, I have just recently found your site and I love it. I am having some problems and wondered if you could help me. I like “paper” copies, but every time I click on clear copy to save/print it locks my internet up and I have to rebut to unfreeze it. This is not very fun, also even though I have signed up for your site the pleas sine up sine keeps popping up over and over. Those problems aside I was wondering if you have heard about New Life Wood Moisturizer. It is the best thing to use on wood, I was wondering if you could work your magic and cum up with a recipe for it. Hope you can help me. KAY

    • says

      Hi Kay! I’m sorry the clean print doesn’t work for you! You could also trying copying and pasting what you want to print into a Word doc and then printing from there. The pop-up should only show once a week but if you have cookies disabled it will show up every time you com to the site. I haven’t heard of New Life Wood Moisturizer but I’ll have to look into it!

  10. Comet says

    For those who have burned carpet—there is a “fix” for this that you can try t make it look better (sometimes surprisingly good)

    If you have a small left over piece OR an area–inside a closet; behind a large not usually moved piece of furniture—or even if you can get a sample swatch (Or yarn or any kind of fiber that matches more or less–fabric store anyone?) you can try this. You will need to get the singed area as clear of burned/shriveled fibers as possible. Use an X-Acto or similar to scrape and free the burned and melted fibers NOT cutting thru the carpet–cutting like you were mowing the lawn! Don’t cut thru the backing! Even if it is damaged what you want is to keep the carpet together for this treatment.

    If this is somewhat uneven—that is not a bad thing as long as it is not a huge difference. What you want to then do is get fiber pieces of the NEW carpet and cut them the same way as close to the backing as you can. If this is a very patterned carpet you will have to decide to try and match or just mask the damage. For regular single or mixed no-pattern you can just move along.

    Use a glue for fabric—I like the Aleenes version of “Good to wash it” etc but for a real high traffic an E-6000 might be the better choice—and gently spread on a layer–you can work this in and can add more so don’t use too much. Then use the fibers you removed from the GOOD surface and with a tweezers etc place them on the damaged area trying to keep it looking as much like the old good area as possible. Don’t “mush” them in but do make sure they are getting stuck to the glue and that the glue is stuck to the underlying carpet. DON’T TOSS ANY EXTRA FIBERS!!!!

    It is up to you as to whether or not you want to at this point cover with a non-stick plastic—make sure the glue won’t melt it!!!!—or parchement and weight it down to adhere. Or you can place an aluminum pan over it and weight THAT down with cans or other heavy stuff. Let it DRY thoroly–a few days if you can. OR make a fence around it to keep people from walking on it!

    When you take the weight off or you feel it is dry you will want to “fluff” to get the knap back–this might not be as full as before but–if you have extra fibers add them now so you can tell where they are needed.

    This might not stand up for ever BUT if the difference is some huge melty blobby mess that is going to cause you to shell out thousands on NEW carpet—vs—-an area that might look a bit–odd—but serviceable—

    Or there are always area rugs!

  11. CTY says

    Just a thought because I too am weary that the iron will melt my carpet. (It came with the house so I have no idea the fabric of which it is made).
    I will be trying this with a blow dryer and pressing with my hand with towels while still hot/steamy. Crossing my fingers & will report.

  12. Rita M says

    I once ironed my carpet with a cloth in between to get wax or something off of it. The glue that held the carpet fibers to the carpet must have melted, because the fibers separated from the bottom and left a bald spot. It was an expensive carpet, too. Well made. So be very careful when ironing carpet.

  13. Mandi says


    No such luck on some tomato based stain. Maybe if I had kept trying through more than three towels, but the scent was a bit too hard to bare as well.

    I’m open to other ideas, I do plan on trying the vinegar, and maybe a bit of peroxide and baking soda. But I wanna let the ammonia dry out before I add more chemicals.

  14. June says

    I’ll hopefully be trying this soon. We just moved in to a new apartment and with all the hubbub of unpacking I let slip by the allotted time to report anything wrong with the place. It’s, of course, mostly carpet stains and not really any damage to anything else that I want to make sure we don’t get blamed for when we eventually move out.

    In addition to trying it on the old stains we inherited, I’ve already managed to make a few of my own. The printer apparently had a bad cartridge in it (or maybe it was damaged in the move) and while the printer was resting on the carpet it left a few ink spots! I did everything I could with water and paper towels since that was all I had on hand. It’s a slightly off color spot now and I probably would have been better off leaving it alone until I had the right materials.

    I’ll report back later on how it goes!

  15. says

    Hydrogen peroxide works wonders on any biological type stain. I use a carpet cleaner to suck everything up, but I would assume that a towel pressed to the spot to blot would work as well.

    I second the comment about using a steamer instead of the iron on your carpet. A steamer should lift just about any stain. Combined with ammonia OR peroxide OR vinegar, you should have amazing, stain-free carpets. :)

  16. Sally Benson says

    Jillee, you originally did this in 2011 – I’m curious as to whether either stain came back up at all??? Sometimes the carpets look wonderful to start with and then in a few months the stain sneaks back at you.

  17. Diane says

    I just tried this on some spots on my carpet, that I thought would never come out… and while I probably need to apply it a few more times, (I only have one white towel) it worked amazingly well on the old spots. I can still see a bit of the stain, but I’m surprised at how much of the stain it got out with just a couple of applications of the ammonia and water solution. I may try the hydrogen peroxide on it the next time, to see how that works, and not have the smell.
    Thanks Jillee… love all the helpful tips on your blog… it is my go to place to find something first.

  18. Jeanie says

    Hi Jillee,

    Again, you’re my hero! I just tried this. My husband spilled coffee on our white berber carpet. A whole cup of coffee! He left it overnight before he told me about it! Whatzupwiththat?!! Anyway, I just did your ammonia, water and iron thingy on it and it came out!

    Thank you, you’re fabulous!

  19. Debbie says

    Jillee, I tried this method years ago but was told not to use steam because the steam could set the stain as you try to get it out. I would try it without the steam and if that didn’t work then use steam. Steam is always used to set things permanently. I tried this method on a stain that was over 4 years ago and the stain didn’t come back.

  20. Andie says

    Hello Jillee,
    I am new to your blog and so far I have to admit I am kind of obsessed! I am going to try cleaning a few stains in my carpet and my kitchen floor this weekend with the ammonia and iron and I can’t wait to see what happens! I was just curious if you had any advice for me to clean the walls in my kitchen. We have a gas stove and the walls are slightly discolored because of the propane residue, I have tried everything and it only makes it sticky but not clean. Any help would be great! Hope you are having a Merry Christmas!

  21. Jeannine says

    Hi. I used this solution using vinegar instead of ammonia to remove animal stains/smells. It didn’t work. The stains were still there, the smell was still there and my house smelled like vinegar for a week my iron also got a bit smelly. Not complaining or anything, but it must work for things that are not animal related. I didn’t want to use ammonia as I didn’t want that smell in the house as I’m trying to remove that smell.

  22. Cee says

    Hi, I just read this article and decided to do a quick test (it’s 1:12am here) on the old berber carpet in our bedroom. A large stain developed after a water leak. No peroxide, vinegar or ammonia on hand, so I just made a 50/50 solution of a light colored all purpose cleaner and bottled water. Followed the instructions: sprayed a test area, put a white towel over it and ran the iron (lowest steam setting) over the area. It’s not perfect, but MUCH better than it was. I suspect the unevenness of the cleaned area is due to the stream flow on the spray bottle. I need to find a regular spray nozzled bottle, retry and see if the cleaned area is more uniform looking.

    Stumbled upon your site and I’m hooked! Thanks so much.

  23. Jillian says

    Thanks for another great tip. I’m a regular reader and came back to specifically look up this post.

    I just used this on an old darker stain on an apartment 9-year-old light beigey-gray nylon carpeting. I had tried to get the stain up twice before and it lightened some. It’s gone now! Yipee. I was very careful with the iron setting as I didn’t want to melt the (cheap) carpeting. I didn’t use steam, just heat, as I figured there was enough liquid in the sprayed area.

    I’m glad I was planning on shampooing the carpets because now this previously stained area is cleaner than the rest of the carpet ;)

  24. Val says

    Jill, this is amazing!! When I first read things tip, I was a bit skeptical. But, my 14-yr old dog has just about ruined my wall-to-wall carpet with “accident”stains of all types. I had resigned myself to living with atrocious-looking carpeting for the rest of the dog’s life. So, I had nothing to lose by trying this.

    I was blown away by how easy this was and how the stains where removed. I plan to work my way through the house until everything is gone and then use this as maintenance for the occasional accident.

    I, and my carpet, thank you!

  25. Carolyn says

    Can it be used as an entire floor cleaner? I don’t have an iron (sorry, I don’t iron things. I will steam them or they go to the cleaners. Irons and I do not get along! domestic, I am not, sadly)

    can you just spray it on and blot up? or will a steamer work instead of an iron?

    amonia doesn’t bleach the color (I’m thinking that is obvious since you used it on a strong color, but checking……I am concerned about over lightening…..)

    thank you


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