How to Remove Wood Stain From Carpet and Upholstery

wetting the area with water

The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu  

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 20 - 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $0

Wood-staining products can be difficult to remove from fabric due to the dye, oils, and chemicals that are in them. However, while it is nearly impossible to remove large stains—especially those that have completely soaked through the fibers—there is hope for removing small wood stain drips or an accidental smear on carpeting, rugs, or furniture upholstery.

Here's our guide to getting wood stains off of carpet, rugs, and upholstery.

 Stain Type  Oil- and dye-based 
 Detergent Type Mineral spirits or liquid dishwashing detergent 
 Water Temperature  Warm
How to Remove Wood Stain

The Spruce / Madelyn Goodnight

Before You Begin

If the wood stain dripped on any material that is vintage or silk, you need to contact a professional cleaner, or else you are likely to do more damage if you try to remove the stain yourself.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Clean white cloth, paper towel, or cotton swab
  • Vacuum
  • Eyedropper (if necessary)

Materials

  • Liquid dishwashing detergent
  • Household ammonia
  • Hydrogen peroxide (if necessary)

Instructions

How to Remove Wood Stain From Carpet

If the wood stain drip is small or there is just a bit from a furniture leg that has not dried completely, there is still a chance to repair the damage to the carpet.

Tip

If the wood stain spill is large and has soaked through the carpet fibers to the backing and the padding, it is going to be nearly impossible to remove. This is why all staining work should be done outside at a workbench or with the protection of plastic tarps — you don't want to accidentally stain something else while you're cleaning up the wood stain.

  1. Blot the Stain

    If the stain is fresh:

    • Use a paper towel or white cloth to blot up as much moisture as possible.
    • Keep moving to a clean area of the towel to prevent additional staining. 
    blotting wood stain on a rug

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu  

  2. Apply Dishwashing Soap and Ammonia Solution

    • Mix one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and 1/4 cup of household ammonia with 2 cups of warm water.
    • Dip a clean white cloth or sponge into the solution and blot the stained area.
    • Work from the outside edge of the stain toward the center to prevent spreading.
    • Keep blotting until no more color is transferred to the cleaning cloth.

    Warning

    Make sure the detergent does not contain bleach, as mixing chlorine bleach with ammonia will create toxic fumes. Wear gloves if you are handling ammonia, and work in a well-ventilated area, so you do not inhale any fumes.

    carefully mixing an ammonia solution

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu 

  3. Rinse the Area

    Dip a clean white cloth in plain water to "rinse" the carpet. Repeat this several times. Do not leave any remnants of the cleaning solution in the fibers, as this can attract soil that can also stain the material.

    wetting the area with water

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu  

    Tip

    If the stain persists on a light-colored carpet, you can apply a hydrogen peroxide solution.

    • Mix one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with three tablespoons of warm water.
    • Use a cotton swab or eye dropper to apply the solution to the stain. Allow it to work for 30 minutes and then blot away.

    Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent and should never be used on dark-colored fibers.

  4. Air Dry and Vacuum

    Allow the area to dry away from direct heat. Vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

    vacuuming the dried rug

    The Spruce / Ana-Maria Stanciu  

How to Remove Wood Stain From Upholstery

The same cleaning techniques and solutions used on the carpet can be used for upholstery. It is important to be careful not to overwet the fabric, which can cause damage to the upholstery filling.

Before cleaning any upholstery though you need to know what type of fabric you have on the piece of furniture before you can move to the next steps of cleaning it. Look under the sofa cushions or skirt to find a tag with letter codes that indicate how to clean the furniture. Here's how to decipher the code:

  • W: Sofa can be cleaned with a water-based detergent.
  • S: Sofa must be cleaned with a solvent-based cleanser (such as denatured alcohol) or dry-cleaned.
  • WS: Sofa can be cleaned with a water-based or dry-cleaning solvent.
  • X: Sofa can only be cleaned by vacuuming or by a professional cleaner.
  • O: Sofa is made from organic materials that require cleaning with cold water methods only. Do not use heat.

These codes will tell you what you can and cannot use to clean up any spots of wood stain. If you have any questions, it's best to call a professional—especially if you need more stain removal tips.

Once you have determined what you can safely use on your furniture, then proceed with the same steps as cleaning wood stains from carpet if the type of cleaner recommended can be used on your upholstery fabric.

Additional Tips for Removing Wood Stain

If the wood stain on the carpet is older and has dried and set, most likely this is now a permanent stain on the item. It is still worth a try to use the steps though and see if the stain can be removed. If the stain doesn't come out, try moving your furniture around to cover the stain or else consider getting a new rug.