How to Remove Carpet Stains With Household Items You Already Own

Can you really lift stains — even pet urine — from carpet using everyday items you likely have on hand? One guy tried it and declared, "It really works!"

How to Remove Carpet Stains With Household Items You Already Own Photo by graphbottles /

When Mike Timmermann set out to remove pet urine and other stains from the carpet of his new condo, he initially saw three options: replace the carpet and padding, rent a carpet cleaner or hire a professional to steam clean.

But just before he booked an appointment with a pro — which would have cost around $250, including a special treatment for pet stains — Timmermann learned about two other options: buying a reasonably priced steam cleaner and using an iron. He put both tools to the test.

First, Timmermann snagged a $169.99 Hoover Carpet Cleaner SteamVac machine on Amazon for $69.99 at the time. (Pro tip: You can use a website called CamelCamelCamel to look up the price history of items sold on Amazon, which can help you decide whether an item’s current price is good.)

Timmermann’s verdict on the Hoover: “For a $70 carpet cleaner, I was pretty impressed with the results on both carpet and upholstery.”

For a few stubborn stains that remained, he tried a carpet-cleaning tip he learned about online. It involved household items:

  • Iron
  • Old towel or rag
  • Hot water
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Paper towels
  • Hair dryer

Basically, the towel is soaked with a mixture of hot water and liquid dish soap, laid on top of the carpet stains and ironed like a piece of clothing on an ironing board. The stain ends up transferring from the carpet to the towel. Paper towels and a hair dryer are used afterward to dry out the carpet.

Timmermann’s verdict: “It really works!” But if you don’t want to take his word for it, you can check out his before-and-after photo as well as detailed instructions in Timmermann’s recent article about his carpet-cleaning experiments at the website.

For more cleaning hacks, check out:

Do you have any carpet-cleaning tips to add? Share them with us below or on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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