How to Remove Vaseline and Ointment Stains From Carpet

How to Remove Vaseline and Ointment Stains From Carpet

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 26 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins - 9 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Vaseline is a household staple for hydration, but it is definitely unwanted in your carpet. If you had an accidental spill of Vaseline, it's best to work quickly to ensure the oils don't set into the fabric.

The key to knowing how to get Vaseline out of carpeting or other soft fabrics is by quickly breaking down the oils. An oil-based stain can be difficult to remove, but it is possible with supplies you probably have at home. Try to get the stain out while it is still fresh.

Take the following steps to remove ointment stains from carpeting and upholstery.

What Is an Oil-Based Stain?

An oil-based stain comes from oily, greasy foods and products, from bacon and burgers to ointments and even deodorants. Synthetic fibers especially attract oils, making greasy stains tough to remove.

Stain type Oil-based 
Detergent type   Stain remover or heavy-duty laundry detergent
Water temperature Hot
Cycle type Varies depending on the type of fabric

Before You Begin

  • Test any detergent or cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not discolor the fabric.
  • Remove any blobs of ointment from the surface of the fabric with a dull knife or spoon. Never rub. Blot the area with a dry white paper towel. As with any stain, the sooner the fresh stain can be treated, the better the chances of success for removal.
  • For removing oily stains on silk and vintage upholstery, consult a professional cleaner.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Dull knife or plastic edge
  • Clean, white cloths
  • Vacuum


  • Water
  • Carpet cleaning solution or dishwashing detergent


materials needed for removing ointment stains

The Spruce / Daria Groza

How to Remove Vaseline and Ointment Stains on Carpet and Upholstery

Use the same methods to clean carpets and upholstery. When cleaning furniture, always use the least amount of cleaning solution possible to prevent overwetting the fabric and cushion filling.

  1. Remove the Ointment Residue

    If a glop of ointment falls on the carpet or on fabric furniture, lift away as much as possible with a spoon or dull knife. Do not wipe it up because that only pushes it deeper into the fibers of the carpet or upholstery.

    person using a knife to remove excess ointment

    The Spruce / Daria Groza

  2. Blot the Area With a Cleaning Solution

    Use a commercial carpet cleaning solution or make your own by mixing one teaspoon of dishwashing detergent with two cups of cool water, stirring well to mix.

    • Dip a clean white cloth or paper towel into the solution and wring lightly.
    • Working from the outside edge of the stain toward the center (to prevent spreading the stain even further), sponge the stain with the cleaning solution.
    • Continue blotting until no more oil or color is transferred from the carpet to the cleaning cloth.
    person blotting a rug stain

    The Spruce / Daria Groza

  3. Rinse Away the Cleaning Solution

    Dip a second clean white cloth in plain water and sponge the stain to remove any traces of the cleaning solution.


    Rinsing well is an important step as any detergent residue can attract more soil. 

    Dipping a second cloth in plain water to blot the stained area

    The Spruce / Daria Groza

  4. Blot and Air-Dry

    • Finish by blotting with a clean dry cloth and allow the carpet to air-dry.
    • If the stain remains on carpet or upholstery, repeat the stain removal steps.
    • Once the stain is gone from the carpet or upholstery, vacuum the area to lift the fibers.
    person blotting a rug with a clean cloth

    The Spruce / Daria Groza

Additional Tips for Handling a Vaseline or Ointment Stain

  • Vaseline and ointment stains will get darker the longer they sit on the fabric, whether carpet or upholstery and will become harder to remove—in some cases, they can become a permanent stain. Once you notice the spot, it is best to get it out as soon as possible.
  • When an accidental spill happens, never rub the spot as the stain can be pushed further into the material fibers. Try to get the stain out while it is still fresh.