A natural sugar substitute, honey has grown in its popularity in recent years. From clover to tupelo to Manuka, there are a wide range of honey options available to sweeten up your life.
But honey is as sticky as it is sweet and can prove a sticky, drippy mess. If honey comes into contact with fabric surfaces, such as clothing or carpet, it can be a bear to remove.
Honey has a dark pigment and can contain tannins, which are dark, naturally-occurring vegetable dyes that can contribute to carpet stains.
This can leave a dark stain on your carpet that goes beyond the initial sticky mess.
Because honey is so sticky, it’s important to address the stain immediately, not just because its hue can leave a stain, but also because its stickiness, if not removed entirely from your carpet, can attract dirt and bacteria, leaving a dark spot on your floor and leading to additional staining.
But honey on your carpet doesn’t have to send you into panic mode.
There are a number of DIY home remedies that can work quite well to tackle a honey stain, especially when applied early and effectively.
Related: How to get more stains out of carpet
Use a Spoon
Most stains stand a better chance of defeat when dealt with early, and honey is no exception. Because honey is so viscous, it can be a challenge to remove from your carpet.
One quick step you can take to remove much of the honey from the carpet before it has had a chance to crystalize into your carpet’s fibers is to take a spoon or a dull butter knife to remove as much of the honey from your carpet as possible.
Take a spoon and begin to scoop as much of the honey out of the carpet as possible. A dull knife will work, too, though you may be able to get more of the honey in one motion if you use a spoon.
Replace the spoon or wipe it clean between scoops to avoid re-depositing the honey onto the carpet or spreading the stain around.
After you have removed as much of the honey as possible by using a spoon or butter knife, you can take a damp cloth or paper towel soaked in cold water and gently blot the stain to lift some additional remaining honey.
The cold water helps to break down the honey and begin to loosen it from your carpet’s fibers, allowing you to blot it up with the cloth.
Avoid rubbing and stick to blotting, as rubbing or scrubbing can actually press the honey deeper down your carpet and deeper into the fibers.
It is recommended to blot from the outside of the stain and work your way in, as this may help to limit the spreading of the stain.
The scooping and blotting steps will likely remove much of the honey, but you are likely to be left with a discolored stain, as well as some stickiness where the honey fell, at the very least.
With honey, because it is so sticky, it’s important to make sure you remove all the honey, leaving nothing behind, as it can attract dirt to the area, causing even more of a stain to develop.
To remove all of the honey, you will need to make sure you get all the way down deep into the carpet’s fibers, which will usually require the use of a product to treat the stain-affected area.
The good news is, most honey stains can be treated easily with products you likely have on hand at home already, without the need for use of a commercial carpet cleaner.
The following options may prove a good solution to removing the remainder of your honey stain.
One of the easiest ways to get started treating honey stain is with your household (bleach-free) dish detergent.
Dish detergent will work to loosen the honey’s grip on your carpet’s fibers and allow you to begin lifting the stain.
Mix one tablespoon of a liquid dish detergent with two cups of warm water and pour into a squirt bottle.
Spray the solution onto the stain-affected area and begin to gently dab at the stain using a soft white cloth or a soft sponge.
As you blot at the stain, the dry cloth or sponge will absorb the liquid. Continue this process until the area is dry or the stain is removed. If the stain is not removed after the first application of this solution, repeat as needed.
Be sure to moisten the area and blot dry to remove all of the dish detergent solution, as you do not want to leave this in your carpet. It will leave your carpet looking blotching and will attract dirt and stains.
The use of liquid dish detergent is one of the more commonly recommended approaches to removing a honey stain from carpet and, when combined with the initial step of scooping and blotting, may prove sufficient for removing honey from your carpet.
Sometimes honey will not just leave a sticky spot, but it will leave a dark stain, as well.
One household product that you can use to attack a dark stain is white vinegar. You will want to make sure to only use white vinegar, as other forms of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar, can leave stains of their own.
Combine one part vinegar and one part water into a squirt bottle. A potential dosage that may work well is ¼ cups of white vinegar and ¼ cups of water.
Spray this solution on the affected area. Do not soak the area, but do ensure that sufficient product is applied.
Allow solution to set for 15-30 minutes. This will help to loosen and lift the stain, while also attacking the dark hue of the stain.
After solution has been allowed to set, gently dab the area using a soft cloth or sponge soaked in cold water.
Repeat application of the solution and use of the procedure as needed until stain is removed.
After stain is gone, always take time to wipe up any remaining vinegar solution remaining, as this can cause your carpet to smell and may damage your carpet if left on too long.
If you’re still struggling to remove the dark honey stain from your carpet, another lightening solution may be hydrogen peroxide.
Although hydrogen peroxide contains bleaching agents and may damage your carpet, it can, however, be effective at lifting and lightening dark stains in carpet.
It’s important, though, to always test a small area of your carpet first to ensure it will not cause damage.
Mix a small amount of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water into a spray bottle and apply to the stain, repeating the dabbing procedures outline above.
Leave it to set for a few minutes, allowing the hydrogen peroxide to do its stain-lightening work.
Then begin to moisten and wipe up the solution using a soft cloth soaked in cold water, ensuring you absorb all of the hydrogen peroxide solution from your carpet to avoid bleaching.
Repeat the procedure as necessary.
For a truly powerful stain fighting solution, you can combine a small amount of liquid dish detergent, white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and water, repeating the same application and removal procedures listed above.
Just be careful never to mix hydrogen peroxide with any product that contains bleach, as this can result in a dangerous chemical reaction. Check your dish detergent for any bleaching agent before combining it with hydrogen peroxide.
If your stain persists, another weapon in your stain fighting arsenal may be ammonia. It’s important to be careful when using ammonia, though, as it can react dangerously with bleach.
Avoid use if you have previously applied any bleach product to your stain.
If you do opt to use ammonia, it can have great stain lifting and lightening properties, as well.
Mix one tablespoon of ammonia with two cups of warm water into a spray bottle and apply to your stain as described in all the previous sections above.
Repeat application and blotting procedure as necessary until the stain is removed.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse and absorb any liquid remaining in the area. Do not leave any ammonia remaining in your carpet.
It’s not just removing your stain that is important. Cleaning up afterward is key, too, as failing to do so can result in additional stains and damage to your carpet.
Always rinse each area thoroughly using cold water. Failing to do so can not only leave your carpet looking drab and dingy, but it can also cause dirt to collect and may lead to additional staining.
Blot the area dry using a soft cloth or sponge, and, if necessary, use a fan on the area. Failing to dry your carpet thoroughly can cause mold and mildew to develop.
Running a vacuum cleaner over the affected area following rinsing and drying can help to smooth out your carpet following treatment.
Some may elect to use a wet-dry vacuum to clean up after treating stains.
Regardless of which method you choose to attack your honey stain, there is a high likelihood that you will eventually achieve success in vanquishing the sticky blemish from your carpet.