How to Remove a Water Stain: Carpet

An old carpet with a dark water stain.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10
What You'll Need
Dishwashing soap
Clean cloth
White vinegar
Hand sprayer
Clean, dry towel

Water-stained carpets can be unsightly. These stains are caused by small amounts of sediment present in the water being left behind once the spillage or leak dries out. This sediment is present no matter what the source of the water is. However, you can use an easy procedure to remove water stains yourself.

Note: If your carpet is made from natural fibers, you should contact a professional cleaning company as the water stain will cause a process known as cellulose browning and it cannot be removed using this method.

Step 1 – Determine Source

Before you begin to tackle the existing stain, you will need to make sure that the source of the water is stemmed. Turn off the water supply at the main and turn on all taps in your home until the pipes have run dry. If the stain is a result of a leaky pipe or other plumbing issue, you need to ensure that it is completely repaired so that the stain does not return or lead to further damage. If the stain is a result of an accidental spillage, you can simply continue.

Step 2 – Remove Dirt

To clean the stain, you must remove the sediment or dirt present in the fibers of the carpet. Mix one teaspoon of dishwashing soap into a cup of water and use a clean cloth to dab it on the water stain. Always work on a hidden area first to make sure that the dishwashing soap does not produce a staining effect on the carpet. Then, work from the outside of the mark towards the center to reduce the likelihood of spreading dirt into clean areas. Don't rub at the mark as it will cause the carpet fibers to become worn.

Step 3 – Remove Staining

Use a mixture of equal amounts of white vinegar and water in a handheld sprayer to cover the stained area. You don't want to drench it; just try to moisten it slightly. Use your fingers to work the liquid into the carpet gently and leave it for a minute or two. Again, it is best to try this on a hidden area of carpet first.

Press the clean towel into the damp area to draw the moisture out. Then, allow the area to dry before checking to see if any staining remains. You may need to repeat this step and leave the vinegar mixture on for a little longer if the stain was quite heavy, but allow the carpet to dry thoroughly in between applications. Once the stain has been removed, you should vacuum the area in order to ensure that it is completely clean.

Step 4 – Contact Professional Cleaner

If continued application of the vinegar solution does not remove the stain completely, you should consider contacting a professional cleaning company to take care of it for you. They have powerful, special machines to handle even severe stains. The cost to clean one room should not be too expensive, but its always best to shop around for the best rate. You can also rent a special vacuum yourself at your local grocery store or home improvement center to handle the problem more cost-effectively.