How-to get old spots or set-in stains out of your carpet for good: 3 spot and stain removal methods

Most people have trouble getting out set-in stains or old stains out of a carpet.  Some just might not come out.  As professional carpet cleaners, we have developed many methods of getting out tough set in spots and stains.  Here are some tips that can help you.

First, some education on spots and stains.  Spots are temporary in that they have not bonded to the carpet fiber.  If they do, it becomes a…stain.  That is the difference.

Old spots are easier to get out than old set-in stains.


If you are not sure what caused the spot or stain start with the easiest method first.  Get a spray bottle and heavily mist the area down with warm water.  Next, get a clean soft terry cloth towel or an absorbent shammy and place over the spot or stain.  Blot the area as much as possible to remove the substance out of the carpet.  Finally, re-spray the area with warm water and place a new towel or absorbent shammy over the area and then place some heavy books or other weight over the area.  This will “wick” the rest of the spot or stain into the towel.

Didn’t work?  Then try…


Do the same thing as above except the first time  spray the spot or stain with a good carpet carpet spot/stain remover instead of just water. Next, agitate the area with a soft brush. This will help to break any bond the substance will have to the carpet.  Then, repeat as mentioned above.  Placing the shammy over the area to blot the excess. Next, re-spray the area with warm water only, then place a new shammy over the area along with some weight to “wick” the rest of the spot or stain into the towel or shammy.

Didn’t work?  Then try…

Method #3

If neither of these methods worked, it might be a dye issue, meaning the stain has bonded very tightly to the carpet.  In that case, you might need some heat and steam to break the bond.  For this procedure, check out my post on Getting Kool-aid out of carpet

Still didn’t work? If it turns out to be a pet stain, you might not have many more options.  Or, perhaps it is just to set-in to break the bond.  In that case, as a homeowner, there might not be much else you can do.  Hopefully, one of these methods helped at least to some degree.  Nothing is fool-proof, but at least you know you gave it a try.  This may be as good as it gets.

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15 thoughts on “How-to get old spots or set-in stains out of your carpet for good: 3 spot and stain removal methods”

  1. Now lemme tell you, if there is a sceptic I am the #1 sceptic..I came to the internet out of despeation to see what kind of product i could use to get set in stains out…i would have never thought about using this method..I read this, got off the computer and tried and man, I was SHOCKED and AMAZED at out fast the stain lifted..and these werent just any stains..they have been set in for 2 1/2 years!!!!!!!!!! My husband is in the military and its time for us to PCS, i was so concerned about my carpets passin inspection..shoot..not ANYMORE!!!!!!! I am so happy i found this website..THANK YOU THANK YOU..this is not gimic IT REALLY WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. ok ive finished with the 1st treatment, i see that i will have to do a 2nd treatment, like i said these are really set in stains..this 2nd time around i am going to try some Resolve, i will continue to use the wet towel and a steam iron as well…i can really tell that these stains are going to lift completely at the end i will use a “RUG DOCTOR” as well…but as for the steam iron it’s a MIRACLE WORKER!!!!!!!!!!

    2. I tired this as well, I can not believe how fast the stains come up, everyone should try this it really works!!!

      1. I can not believe was able to get my white carpets white again. This is a really neat system, and an idea that wouldnt have come to my mind. Thank you so much for whoever posted this.

  2. This is an awesome method to use, ive tried everything else on my set in stains and nothing would work. Trying a steam iron on the floor just made me feel silly. I wish i would have found thid website first and not had to waste so much money on carpet stain removers.

  3. wish I saw this page sooner, tried to clean my sons room with a stain that I didn’t know was there ( about a year), I used too harsh a cleaner and it dissolved some of the fibers in the carpet.

  4. I am renting an apartment and it has old in door out door carpet. maroon color carpet down my steps and on top landing. A slate blue color carpet in living room. Had a bucket filled with Mr. Clean multi purpose cleaner mixed with water, I tripped over bucket and the solution spilled on the maroon and blue rug. It left a whittish residue stain on the top landing; down the steps and some landed on the blue rug as well. I was horrified. I used a combination of dish detergent and water and with a brush tried to srub the stain out. When dried the stain only spread out bigger. I am afraid to use anything else on it. What can I do, any suggestions? I need help with this. Thank you.

    1. Hi, sorry for the late reply, but perhaps this will help someone else. If there is a stain of detergent, it needs to be rinsed with water only, the best way to do this is to use a carpet cleaner to spray and extract the areas in question. This will get the residue out of the carpet and get rid of the residue stain. Thanks.

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