Carpet stains are near the top of my personal list of pet peeves. I’m not talking about an accidental spill that when addressed quickly can be successfully removed with a good carpet stain remover. In fact, I get a lot of satisfaction from tackling a spill or stubborn spot on the carpet, forcing it to disappear never to be seen again.
What I’m talking about is an ugly stain that no matter what, absolutely will not budge.
Stephanie writes, “Is there anyway I can remove a rust stain from my carpet? We just moved into this house and the carpet is gorgeous—except for this fairly small spot that is so noticeable. It looks to me like rust. I’ve tried carpet stain removers, but they haven’t worked.”
It all depends on how long that rust stain has been there and other methods you have attempted to remove it. The problem is the harsher the treatment the more likely you’ll be to also remove color from the carpet, leaving you with an even more noticeable problem.
So let’s assume this rust stain is set for eternity and nothing is going to remove it. Here’s a last resort I’ve used with satisfactory results: carpet surgery.
You’ll need a sharp pair of scissors, white glue, and a pencil with an eraser end.
Harvest donor fiber
First, find a spot in a closet or other out-of-the-way place you can steal some carpet fibers. With sharp scissors snip off the carpet pile one piece of yarn at a time right down to the backing until you’ve cleared a spot the same size as your rust stain. Yes, this is going to leave a bald spot, so select the place carefully.
Prepare the site
Next, do the same with your rust stain cutting out all of the damaged strands right down to the backing.
Apply a small amount of white glue to the now-exposed carpet backing, a small area at a time because you are going to replace the threads one at a time from those you’ve harvested from the closet.
Stand one piece of yarn into place at a time using the pencil (eraser end) to press it into the glue. Hold for a few seconds until it adheres. Repeat until the hole is filled in. Once the glue is dry trim as necessary so the replaced fibers match the height of the surrounding pile.
This is going to be a delicate operation, particularly if yours is a low-pile carpet. But don’t despair. It should work beautifully if you exercise the care and precision of a skilled surgeon.
Carpet surgery is not a perfect solution, but in some situations, neither are carpet stain removers. I’ve observed professionals perform carpet surgery with such amazing results its difficult to detect a repair was made.