How to Remove Soda Stains From Carpet

Pouring soda in glass

 

Igor Alecsander / Getty Images

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 too.

Stain type Dye-based 
Detergent type Heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water temperature Cold

Project Metrics

  • Working Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours

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.

What You'll Need

Supplies

Tools

  • Clean white cloths
  • Carpet rake (optional)
  • Vacuum cleaner

Instructions

  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.

    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 component that gets the mess clean. It is these enzymes that allow you to use lower water temperatures and less detergent to get items clean.

  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.

  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, which makes the molecules slipperier, so they are less likely to stick to themselves and more likely to interact with 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.

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 it. Instead of vinegar, you can also try a lemon juice or ammonia solution or an oxygen bleach solution.

Warning

Never mix any type of cleaning product or natural ingredients 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 train of ants. Also, 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.