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How to Get Soda Stains Out of Carpet

A glass of soda splashed with more soda.

Spills happen, and with soda, it’s almost inevitable that, eventually, you’ll be staring at a dark, sticky, blotchy stain on your favorite rug. Fortunately, with quick action, you can apply a number of effective home and commercial remedies to restore your carpet to its natural look.

Spills happen, even when we’re careful, and if you’re facing a soda stain on your carpet, the thought of having to choose between staring at an unsightly, dark, blotchy stain or replacing your carpet entirely is not a choice you want to be considering.

Whether you’re carrying your soda in a can, bottle, or glass, it’s easy for it to slosh and spill.

Soda, especially dark or bright, colorful soda, is notorious for its ability to stain the teeth of those who consume it regularly. It only makes sense, then, that soda would cause a similar stain when spilled on carpet or fabric.

Fortunately, with quick action and a little bit of patience, there are a number of stain removal techniques that can work well to lift that unpleasant soda stain from your carpet and restore your carpet to its best look.

Why does soda stain?

A large soda stain on the gray carpet.

What is it about soda that causes it to leave behind such cumbersome stains?

Soda contains a number of ingredients that make it a stain-causing mess. Soda contains a number of artificial dyes, which serve to give it its dark color, or in the case of red, blue, and grape sodas, its bright color.

One type of dye contained in soda is known as tannin. This is a type of naturally-occurring vegetable dye that helps to give coffee and tea, particularly, their dark color and more bitter taste.

Tannins can be used in sodas and contributes to that deep, dark color that can be so difficult to remove once it bleeds into your carpet.

In addition to tannin, soda also contains a number of other additives, such as sweeteners, that can not only contribute to stains, but that can leave your carpet sticky, attracting dirt and debris, leaving your carpet looking even darker and dingier as a result.

Between the dyes, sugars, and acid contained in soda, it’s enough to spell disaster for your carpet should you experience a spill.

But fortunately, despite its propensity to stain, a soda spill does not have to be the end of the road for your beautiful, fluffy carpet.

With fast action and the application of any number of chemical and DIY home remedies, you should be able to conquer even the toughest of soda stains.

But it’s important to act fast and decisively in order to best position yourself for success.

Whether you’re facing a dark, red, or grape-colored soda stain, the following methods may prove useful in helping you to tackle your latest carpet soda stain.

Start with blotting

A gloved hand cleaning the beige carpet with a sponge.

The most important step when it comes to addressing a soda stain is to act quickly to absorb as much of the spilled liquid as possible.

As soon as a spill occurs, you need to jump to action. The longer you allow the liquid to seep into your carpet, the deeper the stain becomes embedded into your carpet’s fibers and the more difficult it may be to lift the stain out.

Start by grabbing the nearest and most absorbent cloth or towel. A cotton terry cloth or a paper towel will work just fine. Some may choose to use a soft sponge, at least to start.

Gently blot the liquid, taking care not to scrub or rub at the spot. While it may seem logical that vigorous motion would help to remove a stain, it actually can cause the opposite effect, serving only to rub the stain in more deeply, while also potentially damaging your carpet in the process.

Try to use a white or light-colored cloth, as this will help you to monitor your progress in absorbing the dark or bright liquid soda. Continue to rotate the cloth and use white spaces to absorb the liquid, noting when you stop seeing the cloth become dark.

This means you have likely absorbed all of the liquid you will be able to at this time.

Once you have completed this step, make note as to whether or not the spot is dry or not. If it is still damp, you can proceed with one (or more) of the steps listed below to begin working to lift and lighten the stain.

If the soda stain is dry, however, you will want to take a damp cloth or a spray bottle and lightly moisten it before proceeding.

The following stain treatment options should position you well for removing your stain and restoring your carpet back to its old glory.

Salt and Lemon Juice

The ingredients for an Eco-friendly natural cleaner.

If you’re looking for a natural and DIY option to both absorb and lighten your soda stain, then the combination of salt and lemon juice may prove a good choice for you.

Drizzle a moderate amount of fresh or bottled lemon juice onto the stain-affected area. Lemon is acidic, and this property serves as a natural lightening agent, which can work great on dark stains like soda.

You can also follow the lemon juice with a mixture of white vinegar and water if you prefer to add an additional stain-fighting agent, prior to or instead of using salt, as white vinegar works quite well to target stains.

After you have applied the lemon juice, spoon some table salt onto the stained area of your carpet.

Leave this mixture to set for several hours, or even overnight, depending on the time of day you apply it.

This will allow the salt to soak up much of the remaining liquid from deep within your carpet’s fibers, working to lift the stain out of the carpet. The lemon can go to work lightening the stain.

After you have allowed this mixture to sit for several hours, ensure that it is dry and then take a vacuum cleaner to suck up the salt crystals from deep within your carpet.

After you have vacuumed the salt, you will want to take a spray bottle or a wet rage and, using cold water, dab the affected area to ensure you remove the remainder of the lemon juice from your carpet, as this could leave the area sticky, collecting dirt on the spot of the former stain.

Dish Detergent and White Vinegar

A gloved hand cleaning the brown carpet with a sponge and a spritzer.

One potential option to target that unwanted soda stain is a combination of dish detergent and white vinegar. Both have great stain-fighting properties and are generally found on hand in the home.

Using a spray bottle, combine one tablespoon of dish detergent with one tablespoon vinegar with two cups of warm water and cautiously apply to the source of the stain, taking care not to over-saturate the area.

You do not need to apply much of this mixture, as the dish detergent, particularly, is quite powerful and offers great suds-producing properties.

Dab the affected area, reapplying solution as needed until the stain is removed.

After you have removed the stain and are finished with the formula, rinse the area with small amounts of cold water until the remainder of the soap and vinegar has been diluted and absorbed.

You do not want to leave behind any of the mixture, as the vinegar can leave a pungent odor and the soap can cause the carpet to apply thick or clumpy, while also causing dirt to collect.

Enzymatic Laundry Detergent

Natures Miracle Laundry Boost Stain and Odor Additive - 32 FL Oz
Click image for more info

The use of enzymatic laundry detergent, known for its stain-fighting properties, can be particularly useful against dark stains like soda, which contain tannin.

Enzymatic detergents, such as Nature’s Miracle Laundry Boost, work to target stains and break down proteins and tannins to help lift tough stains.

Because they work so effectively, you won’t need much to target that soda stain in your carpet.

Simply mix ¼ teaspoon of enzymatic laundry detergent with ½ cup of cold water in a spray bottle and gently apply to the affected area, taking care not to over-saturate.

This can prove useful in lifting the dark stain left by the tannin in your soda.

Tannin Spot Cleaner

Prochem - Coffee and Tannin Spotter - Removes Coffee, Tea, Cola and Tannin Spots - Carpet Spot and Stain Cleaning - 1 Quart - B182
Click image for more info

Another potential option to lift that dark soda stain from your carpet is the use of a tanning spot cleaner. A commercial product developed intentionally with the needs of tannin stain removal in mind, these products go to work on some of the toughest stains left by tannins.

But the odds of you having a product like this already on-hand at home are slim, unless you have dealt with problematic dark stains in the past.

Otherwise, the time it takes to run to the store and pick one up or to wait for an online purchase to be delivered can be precious time lost, allowing your soda stain to set even deeper into your carpet.

While this does not mean you will be unable to remove the stain at all if you wait, you may find it beneficial to attempt one of the home remedies listed above first before resorting to the use of a tannin spot cleaner.

Or, if you encounter dark stains frequently, or if you have a child who is prone to spillage, then it may make sense for you to purchase such a product to store in anticipation of the next stain.

One potential option for you may be the Prochem Coffee and Tannin Spotter. This product is specially formulated for use on coffee, tea, and soda stains that contain tannins.

Hydrogen Peroxide

If you’re still having trouble removing the brown or bright stain from your light colored carpet, or if you’re unable to purchase a commercial cleaning solution, then hydrogen peroxide may be an option that you have in your home.

Hydrogen peroxide has bleaching properties and may prove sufficient for lightening the stain and restoring your white or light-colored carpet to its natural color.

When using hydrogen peroxide, however, it’s important to take a few precautions. First, test on a small, non-visible area of your carpet first to ensure it does not bleach or damage your carpet.

Next, be careful if you have used a dish or laundry detergent on the spot previously to ensure that product did not contain bleach, as hydrogen peroxide and bleach can be dangerous when mixed.

You can mix a small amount of dish detergent with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide in water to create a mixture that you will then lightly spray on the affected area of carpet and let set for a few minutes.

Always rinse thoroughly when finished to ensure no soap or hydrogen peroxide reside is left in the carpet.

Finishing touches

A hand wiping the wet carpet with a towel.

Whichever of the options you choose from above, it’s important to make sure you clean up the stain affected area following treatment.

Always use cold water to rinse thoroughly any product used on the carpet once your treatment is complete.

Take care to blot the water from your carpet, drying as much of it as possible by hand. There is no need to rub the water into the carpet or scrub the area. This risks damage to your carpet.

Once you have rinsed the area and dried as much of it as possible by hand, point a fan on a low setting toward the spot, as this helps to dry the area more quickly, reaching down deep within the fibers to help avoid the growth of mold or mildew.

Then, once your carpet is thoroughly dry, run your vacuum cleaner over the area to restore your carpet’s natural fluff and uniformity.

Regardless of which option – or options – you choose to tackle your soda stain, it is certainly possible to restore your carpet to health.

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