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University of Illinois Extension


Treat stains as soon as possible after staining. The older the stain, the more difficult it will be to remove.

All stain removal methods should be applied prior to laundering washable garments. Stains that have been laundered and dried are almost impossible to remove.

Washable Fabrics

Steps to Clean

Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Nonprecipitating water softener
  1. Do not use chlorine bleach on rust stain or in water containing large amounts of iron.
  2. For a rusty water problem, use a nonprecipitating water softener, such as Calgon or Spring Rain, in both wash and rinse water.
  3. For severe problems, install an iron filter in the water system.


Chemical solvents and supplies

  • Lemon Juice
  • Detergent
  • 3% Hydrogen peroxide
  1. Saturate spot with lemon juice, using a spray bottle, and remain on the spot for 5 minutes.
  2. Then go to the next step to remove lemon juice. If this does not work, and it may not, call a professional. Most rust removers contain a very strong acid and are, therefore, not recommended for use by homeowners.
  3. Blot up as much of the liquid with a white paper towel.
  4. Apply a small quantity of detergent solution to the spot. (To make the detergent solution mix 1/4 teaspoon of a hand dishwashing detergent which does not contain lanolin or bleach with 1 quart of water) Use a blotting motion to work the detergent into the affected area. If spot is being removed continue applying detergent and blotting with a white paper towel until spot is removed.
  5. Rinse with tap water using a spray bottle, blot to remove excess moisture.
  6. Spray lightly with water, do not blot this time; apply pad of paper towels and brick and allow to dry.
  7. If there is still some stain on the carpet and blotting is not removing it, then moisten the tufts in the stained area with 3% hydrogen peroxide. Let stand for on (1) hour. Blot and repeat until carpet is stain free. Light will cause peroxide to change back to water so no rinsing is necessary. Apply pad of paper towels and weight down with brick.


Chemical Solvents and Supplies

  • Carpet Shampoo
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Vacuum
  1. Sponge with rubbing alcohol (or a solution of rubbing alcohol and water).
  2. Blot quickly with clean dry towel.
  3. Repeat several times until no more stain is absorbed into towel.
  4. Apply diluted carpet shampoo (1 part liquid carpet shampoo to 4 parts water) with a brush or towel.
  5. Let the area dry thoroughly, and then vacuum.
  6. Repeat if needed.

Steps to Clean