How to Remove Soda Stains From Carpet

How to Remove Soda Stains From Carpets

The Spruce / Michela Buttignol

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10

It seems like where there is a gathering, there is likely to be soda and more often than not, soda or cola stains can find their way onto your carpet. But removing a soda stain from a carpet is easier than you think and can be done in four easy steps with items you likely already have.

The stain is caused by the dyes within the drink, but that is not the end of it. Since most sodas are made with sticky, sugary syrups that attract dust, dirt, and grime if not cleaned up, the stain can darken and get worse in appearance if left alone. Also, do not be surprised if creepy crawlies like ants or roaches hunt down the stain.

Stain Type Dye-based
Detergent Type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water Temperature Cold
1:01

Click Play to Learn a Budget-Friendly Way to Remove Soda Stains From Carpet

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 2 to 3 clean white cloths
  • 1 vacuum cleaner
  • 1 carpet rake (optional)

Materials

  • Water
  • Liquid heavy-duty laundry detergent
  • Carpet stain remover (optional)

Instructions

materials to remove a soda stain
​The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

Before You Begin

Test any detergents or cleaning solutions in an inconspicuous area first to ensure they do not discolor the carpet.

Older stains will be harder to remove. You might need to repeat the cleaning process a couple of times before the stain disappears.

  1. Blot the Stain

    Using a clean cloth, blot the area to remove as much of the liquid as possible from the carpet. If the stain has occurred on a flattened or matted carpet, use a carpet rake to widen the spaces between the carpet fibers. Much like a leaf rake, its wide-spaced tines work like a wide-bristled brush to open the spaces between the carpet fibers.

    blot the soda stain
    ​The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

    Tip

    Make sure you work from the outside toward the center to avoid spreading the stain. Do not press too hard because you do not want to work the soda deeper into the fabric. Avoid scrubbing the stain, as this will only set it further.

  2. Put Detergent Solution on Stain

    Pour a mixture of 1/4 teaspoon of liquid laundry detergent and 1/2 cup cold water onto the soft drink stain and blot up the stained area again using another clean, dry cloth. Allow the area to dry fully.

    The enzymes found in heavy-duty laundry detergent are the main components that get the mess clean. These enzymes allow you to use lower water temperatures and less detergent to get items clean.

    work detergent into the stain
     The Spruce / Danielle Holstein
  3. Vacuum the Area

    After the stain has dried, vacuum it thoroughly. Any dry bits of residue will be sucked away. This also helps fluff the carpet fibers back to a normal appearance.

    vacuum up the remainder of the stain
     The Spruce / Danielle Holstein
  4. Use a Carpet Stain Remover

    If the soda stain remains, try a carpet stain remover. Carpet stain removers have surfactants that make cleaners work better. Surfactants are compounds that are used in an array of cleaning products for their ability to lower the surface tension of water. This increases the molecules' ability to spread over and through a material (such as carpet fibers) and thus makes them more likely to interact with and remove stains, including oil and grease.

    Be sure to follow the stain remover instructions, and be wary of using too much cleaner. An excess of cleaner is difficult to remove and can attract dirt in the future.

    spray the treated area with stain remover
     The Spruce / Danielle Holstein

If these options do not work, try diluting some white vinegar with water (about a one-to-two part ratio) and repeat steps two and three. Some stains from sodas like grape soda or red-colored soda may be more difficult to remove and the acid in the vinegar solution may be necessary to get rid of them. Instead of vinegar, you can also try a lemon juice solution, an ammonia solution, or an oxygen bleach solution.

Warning

Never mix any type of cleaning product or natural ingredient with ammonia. Dangerous fumes can form.

And, if a lingering sugary stain has led to an ant trail in your home, the best thing you can do is disrupt the trail of ants. Borax or boric acid powder is a good low-risk pesticide (in homes without small children or pets) that kills ants or roaches that have found their way into your home. If your home includes small children or animals, consider calling a professional for pest control help.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Household Chemical Products and Their Health Risk. Cleveland Clinic.

  2. Boric Acid General Fact Sheet. Oregon State University Extension.