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3 Feb 2021

Which carpet stain remover home remedy is best?

Urban legends or actual life hacks? We put six popular carpet stain remover home remedies to the test to find out if they actually worked
Glass of red wine spilt on carpet

Wondering how to remove stains from your carpet when you don't have a bottle of something handy?

We tested six popular carpet stain remover home remedies, including bicarbonate of soda, hydrogen peroxide and white wine to see whether any of them work and which is best.

See which bottles were the best carpet stain removers in our tests.

The best carpet stain removers you already have at home

We tested these home remedies alongside bottles of carpet stain remover you can buy.

To the likely horror of any domestic god or goddess we deliberately stained carpet tiles of Saxony grey carpet with red wine and curry. Half of the red wine and curry stains were allowed to dry for 10 hours, while the other half we started cleaning within five minutes.

For these tests we chose: bicarbonate of soda (one sample mixed with water and another with vinegar) hydrogen peroxide, washing-up liquid plus water, white wine and then vinegar on its own.

And our top pick was....

Fairy Platinum Quick Wash washing-up liquid Read m

Washing-up liquid and water

For this test, we used Fairy Platinum Quick Wash washing-up liquid mixed with warm tap water. One squirt of soap in 100ml of warm water.

Easily the best of all the home remedies we tested, washing-up liquid and water tackled curry and red wine stains like a champ.

It takes a lot of elbow grease to scrub it into the carpet, but your effort is rewarded.

We found it had the nicest fragrance out of all the products and home remedies we tested. It also dried the quickest (but still took more than 12 hours).

Washing up liquid on red wine stain, before and af

Want a machine to do the work for you?

How the rest we tested fared

  • We used a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution neat, applying two tablespoons onto the stains. This worked on both red wine and curry stains but the smell was overpowering and lingered.
  • For white wine, we poured it straight from the bottle onto the red wine stain. This removed the red wine stain but left a patch smelling very strongly of alcohol.
  • The distilled vinegar worked much the same as the white wine on both the red wine and curry stains. Once again though our carpet was left clean but smelly. Read more: Eight things you really shouldn't clean with vinegar.
  • Our bicarbonate of soda mixtures (one with warm water and the other with vinegar) worked very well on the curry stains. The resultant fizzy blob did most of the hard work. However, on the red wine stains, there was a strange chemical reaction, leaving us with a pair of unsightly blue patches.

Our best advice is if you have a sudden stain and don't have a dedicated product in your cupboard, start running the hot tap and get out the washing-up liquid.

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How we tested these carpet stain remover home remedies

To bring you these results we followed a strict set of tests.

We took 50x50cm carpet tiles and split them into equal zones. Each zone was used for a stain. Our stains were red wine and curry sauce.

Red Wine stains

  • Each was tested on dried-on stains which were left for 10 hours before cleaning. We also pitted them again fresh stains - these were cleaned within five minutes of being applied.
  • Each home remedy was given four chances to remove the stain. The fewer chances needed the higher the score.
  • We smelled each stain zone before and after it was cleaned. Each was ranked from least odorous to most.
  • We examined the zones after all needed cleaning attempts and again after the zone had fully dried to look for any signs of bleaching.
  • We compared the cleaned zones to an unstained piece of carpet to see if there had been an effect on the carpet's texture. We compared them directly after cleaning and then after the zones had dried.
  • We recorded how much elbow grease was needed to clean off the stain with each of the home remedies. They were then ranked from most elbow grease needed to least on a scale of one to five, with one for most elbow grease needed and five for least.