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How to Remove Stubborn Stains on Carpet and White Grout

Faithful readers will recall a reader tip from a past post, in which Julie shared her simple homemade carpet shampoo of hydrogen peroxide, hot water, and a tiny bit of liquid soap.

That tip set off a semi-avalanche of responses requesting specific details, and many of which cautioned, wisely, that hydrogen peroxide can have a bleaching effect on some types of fabrics and carpets that are not colorfast.

glass of red wine fell on carpet, wine spilled on carpet

Carpet Stain Recipe

Mix 1 cup 3% hydrogen peroxide, a few drops of Blue Dawn (or Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap) and enough hot water to fill the carpet cleaner reservoir.

Hydrogen peroxide is available in a number of dilutions all the way from 3% to 35% or greater. Typically, however, the hydrogen peroxide we buy in the drugstore or supermarket comes labeled: Hydrogen Peroxide 3%.

CAUTION: You should ALWAYS test any kind of stain treatment or cleaner in an inconspicuous area to make sure the item to be cleaned (carpet, upholstery, garment) is colorfast and you will not be making things worse. If your test proves no problems with 3% hydrogen peroxide, you can confidently use a stronger dilution of hydrogen peroxide in this recipe by increasing the amount.

For the best result make sure you are using fresh hydrogen peroxide (no older than 6 months) that has been stored in a dark place. Hydrogen degrades quickly when exposed to light.

      WALMART $157.90

White Grout Cleaner

Hydrogen peroxide can also be the active ingredient to clean stubborn stains from white grout provided it has not become permanently stained, in which case it needs to be removed, replaced and then well-sealed.

In a bowl, mix fresh 12% hydrogen peroxide (you will get the best results using this much stronger version of hydrogen peroxide, available online ), baking soda, and a few drops of Blue Dawn to form a thick paste. Using an old toothbrush, apply the paste to the grout and give it a good scrub. Allow to sit on the grout for a few minutes or until you achieve your desired results, then rinse very well.

Interestingly, I’ve heard from quite a few readers who have used this White Grout Cleaner as a last resort treatment for an ugly, stubborn carpet stain (even red wine on the light-colored carpet), and with great results. Add more hydrogen peroxide to make a thinner slurry and of course, test first to make sure you won’t be altering the color of the carpet.

Becky writes: “We had tenants in our house for a few years and we got new carpets in all but one room after we moved back. The one-room was one we didn’t use much and the carpet was fairly new but the tenants had made a big stain in a very obvious location. I’d tried everything to get that stain out.

“Today I mixed up a recipe of that stain remover (see above as White Grout Cleaner), scrubbed it into the stain, left it for over an hour, then rinsed well with boiling water in our Hoover SteamVac. The stain is GONE! That stain had been there for several years at least. I just wanted to thank you because it saved us from having to replace the carpet. I’ll be sharing the recipe with everyone I know.”


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4 replies
  1. Gina D Stevens says:

    Years ago, when I was cleaning up after a party, I spilled Merlot on white carpet. After blotting it, I went to the internet and learned that white wine was a remedy for red wine stains on white carpet. Sounded too easy to work, but It was like magic. I poured a little on at a time, let it sit, then blotted. Thanks, for your wonderful ideas, Mary. You always come through with the best ideas.


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