Whether you’ve tracked in some motor oil from the garage, scraped your greasy bicycle chain across the floor, or dropped a slice of bacon under the dining room table, a grease stain is never welcomed.
One reason that grease can be such a cumbersome stain to tackle on carpet is because carpet is made using synthetic fibers, including nylon, polyester, olefin, and wool.
While synthetic fibers are desirable in carpet due to their durability, they can pose a particular challenge when it comes to stains.
These fibers are made from petroleum and grease can easily bond to the fibers of your carpet, making it particularly difficult to lift. This is why you may find it easier to remove grease stains from your clothes, which are often made using, at least in part, natural fibers like cotton, than from your carpet.
But if you’re facing down an ugly grease stain in your carpet – whether it’s from spilled motor oil or bacon grease – there are a number of methods that may help to tackle, and even completely remove, this unsightly blight on your carpet.
But when it comes to tackling grease stains on carpet, it’s important to act quickly. So let’s not delay, and let’s get to work on treating your stain right away.
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Start with blotting
As with many other stains, one of the first things you can do to treat a grease stain is to blot the affected area in an attempt to prevent the stain from spreading further or deeper into your carpet and to reduce the amount of stain you will have to remove.
As soon as the grease hits the floor – or as soon as you see it – grab a paper towel or the nearest soft cloth and place it over the stain, gently blotting the area in an attempt to absorb as much of the liquid as possible.
Take care not to rub or scrub the area; just blot. Rubbing can actually push the grease even deeper into your carpet and make it much harder to remove the stain.
It’s likely that you won’t be able to remove all of the grease, but it’s possible you’ll be able to lighten your load and increase your chances for success when you do treat the stain.
Absorb the grease with baking soda
After you have tried to quickly absorb the stain using a paper towel, it’s time to take it up a notch. There are a number of products that may work well to absorb some of the stain.
One of the most effective products, and one you will likely have on hand at home, is baking soda.
Pour baking soda over the spot of the stain and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. This will work to absorb the liquid and lift the stain from the fibers of your carpet.
Alternatively, if you don’t have baking soda, other options that can work well include cornstarch or talcum powder.
Once you have applied the baking soda or powdered substance of choice, take an old toothbrush and gently brush it into the carpet so that it penetrates deeply into the carpet fibers.
Avoid rubbing vigorously, as this can make the stain worse.
After 30 minutes, run a vacuum cleaner over the spot to suck up any loose baking soda remaining.
Dry Cleaning Fluid or Dish Detergent
If you still find some of the stain remains, pour a small amount of liquid dry cleaning solvent, such as Guardsman Professional Strength Dry Cleaning Fluid Stain Remover Solution, onto a soft cloth and gently blot onto the stain. Repeat this process until the stain has been lifted.
You could also use a carpet cleaning shampoo option, such as Hoover Renewal Deep Cleaning Carpet Shampoo. Follow the instructions on the product to ensure proper use.
Another option is to use a non-bleach dish detergent instead of dry cleaning fluid.
Apply a small amount of dish detergent to a damp, soft cloth or sponge and gently blot into the stain, repeating the process until the stain is removed.
In addition to determining whether the stain is visible by looking at the carpet itself, you can also take note on the light-colored cloth you are using. Continue treatment until no new grease is visible on the cloth.
Once the stain has been removed, use cold water to dab at the area to remove any remaining product on your carpet.
Another option, particularly if your carpet is made of natural fibers, is the use of diluted white vinegar. Mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with ¼ cup of water into a spray bottle and squirt onto the affected area of your carpet.
Allow the mixture to set into the stain for 15-30 minutes, as the solution goes to work to lift the stain from your carpet’s fibers.
Once the stain is removed, use cold water to blot the area and remove any remaining vinegar solution from your carpet.
You can also attempt this treatment if your carpet is synthetic. Just adjust your mixture to use one cup of white vinegar and two cups of water.
Vinegar, Dish Detergent, and Hydrogen Peroxide
If you’re finding it difficult to remove your grease stain, it may be time to take your efforts up a notch.
You’ve tried dish detergent and you’ve tried vinegar, but have you considered them combining them together? Add in the power of hydrogen peroxide, and you’ve got a stain-fighting solution on your hands.
In a squirt bottle, combine 1 ½ tablespoon of white vinegar, ¼ cup of hydrogen peroxide, 1 ½ tablespoons of dish soap, and 1 ½ quarts of water.
Before using this solution, it’s a good idea to test the solution on a small, non-visible portion of your carpet, as hydrogen peroxide may cause damage. It should only be used on light colored carpets, not dark.
Apply the solution to the stain-affected area and use a damp, soft cloth or sponge to blot into the stain, taking care not to use a rubbing motion.
Continue until the stain has been removed.
Once the stain has lifted, use cold water to blot at the area and remove any solution remaining.
If you’ve exhausted all of your options and your grease stain remains, it’s possible to try rubbing alcohol as an option. While this can work well for some carpets, it is not appropriate for others, so please consider the type of carpet before using rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol can be useful in removing stains from carpet, but it can also damage carpet if it is allowed to seep too deeply into your carpet’s fibers. It can come into contact with the base of your carpet, ruing your carpet’s adhesive and pulling it away from the floor.
Apply a small amount of isopropyl alcohol to a damp cloth using cold water and dab it onto the stain.
Continue blotting gently as necessary until stain is removed.
Once the process is complete, use a cold, damp rag to remove any remaining rubbing alcohol from the carpet.
Ventilation is important when using isopropyl alcohol, so be sure to turn on a fan and open a window, as necessary.
If you’re really desperate and you’ve exhausted all other potential treatment options, some may recommend the use of shaving cream. I know it sounds a bit ridiculous, but it’s been known to work.
Simply spray some shaving cream onto the grease stain and then take an old toothbrush and gently massage the shaving cream into the stain-affected area.
You can allow it to sit for a few moments.
Then, using a wet cloth, wipe away the shaving cream, repeating the process as necessary until the stain has been completely removed.
Consider your carpet type
The approach you take to getting grease out of your carpet can depend on the material your carpet is made from. Depending on whether your carpet is made of natural or synthetic fibers, cotton or wool, some methods may be more appropriate than others.
Check with your carpet’s manufacturer or retailer to determine the material makeup of your carpet to determine the most appropriate method to clean your carpet and to avoid using products that may prove ineffective or damaging to your carpet.
After you’ve completed treatment to your carpet and your grease stain has been successfully removed, it’s important to clean the area thoroughly. Leaving cleaning product on the area can leave your carpet looking dingy, but it can also cause dirt and bacteria to collect, leading to more stains.
Use cold water on a soft cloth or sponge to blot at the area until all cleaning product has been removed. This is important even when using natural cleaning products, such as baking soda and vinegar.
Then, taking a soft, dry cloth and blot the area to dry it as much as possible by hand. Use a fan to blow the moist area and dry it completely. This helps to avoid the growth of mold or mildew.
Use a vacuum cleaner to run over the treated area of carpet to restore it to its smooth and fluffy look.
Although a grease stain can certainly be a challenge to address, with a little bit of patience and a bit of elbow grease, you can conquer even the toughest of grease stains in your carpet.