Remove Red Stain from Carpet

How to Remove Red Stains from Carpeting

Spills, especially red ones can ruin carpet in a matter of minutes.

Red dyes are the toughest types of stains to get rid of too, according to all of the professional carpet cleaners I know.

Red stains can be tough, but the good news is they aren’t impossible to remove.

Removing General Red Dye Stains:


I have 1 word here: WD-40.

The key to using WD-40 as a stain removal treatment is the technique. It is important that you spray and blot. Do not wipe. Do not soak the carpet. Simply spray and blot until the stain is completely gone. It will take some time but the result will be worth it.

You should use a steam cleaner to remove all traces of the WD-40 after using it. WD-40 is a greasy solvent and will attract future dirt and staining if you don’t.

WD-40 will work on all types of general red dye stains. Try it first if you have Kool-Aid stains, Maraschino cherry stains, cranberry juice stains, etc.


Ammonia is a non bleaching, highly alkaline cleaner that will also remove red stains from carpet. Mix 1/4 cup of ammonia with amount 2 quarts of warm water and blot it on the stain alternating with a clean dry towel to absorb the stain. It may take a while, but it will work too. Make sure to rinse the cleaning solution completely by going over it with a steam cleaner when you are finished as again the residue will attract future staining if it is not removed.

Commercial Products

If you don’t have WD-40 or ammonia available or don’t want to go through the steam cleaning routine, you can just pick up some Wine away red stain remover. This product is the gold standard for red stain removal if you have some of this on hand you can dispense with the other cleaning remedies.

Tough Red Stain Removal:

If your stain is really tough and has not come up with WD-40, I have 2 other stain removal tricks to taking care of the last of it. You can use all three methods I have listed (WD-40, Alkaline water and Hydrogen Peroxide), but be sure rinse the stain removers thoroughly with clean water is between to avoid mixing the solutions. Let the carpet dry completely in between trying each method.

Be gentle when removing the stain- Scrubbing is just going to fray the carpet fibers and that’s no good. Blot gently with a clean dry towel to dry the carpet.

Alkaline Water

Alkaline water means that the water is not pH neutral or completely inert as it is in it’s natural state. Acids and alkalies work on stains because they are not neutral and it draws the stain out of the fiber because of this.

My carpet cleaning friend shared a secret of the trade and that is to add 1/2 a cup of baking soda to 2 quarts of water and use this solution to extract the stain when steam cleaning. It works. I’ve this solution in my portable steam cleaner and it does a great job.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Regular household strength hydrogen peroxide is one of my favorite stain removers. It bleaches, but without damaging items like chlorine bleach does. Pour it full strength on the carpet and massage in the carpet fibers.

Hydrogen peroxide converts to plain water if exposed to natural sunlight so be sure to do this in the evening if the sunlight hits the area. You don’t need to rinse it and goes to work immediately and should be much improved when the peroxide has been allowed to completely dry.

I’ve lifted plenty of red stains off my carpet using this method. Hydrogen peroxide removes coffee stains from carpet too. It’s safe for use on most carpets because it doesn’t really “bleach”, but test it in an inconspicuous place first.

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