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How to Remove Berry Stains From Carpet

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Whether or not you can remove berry stains from carpet depends on the type of berry as well as how long the stain has been there. It is always best to clean up spills as quickly as possible, preferably before they become stains, so pick up any dropped berries as quickly as you can. Be careful not to smash them or accidentally rub them into the fibers. Raspberries (and a few others), have distinct cells that may not burst when you first drop them, but could break open if you are too rough picking them up. A shop-vac is good for sucking them up and preventing further staining.

What if you discover the stain long after it happens? Here are some steps to try.

1. Start with water. A spray bottle is most convenient for this. Just spray the area and soak up the moisture by blotting it out using white paper towels or a white cotton cloth. Repeat this as long as you still see stain transferring to the cloth or paper towel. Then, assuming there is still some in the carpet, move on to the next step.

2. Add a few drops of dish washing detergent (plain Dawn works best) to a cup of warm water and apply this mixture a little at a time to the spot, soaking it up with paper towels or cotton cloth between the applications.

3. Continue this until the berry stain is removed or until you get no more transfer to the cloth.

4. Apply water with a little at a time and blot it up, repeating this until the detergent is removed.

This video demonstrates how to get berry juice out of carpet (and it is the juice that you will have left after you scoop up the berries):

Dry the spot by stacking white paper towels on it with some weight on them. You might also remove these after an hour and place a fan where it will blow over the area for a few hours. Quick drying will sometimes prevent stain that is further down in the fibers from migrating back to the tops of fibers where it will become visible again.

If you happen to have a wet/dry shop-vac, you can flush the area more thoroughly with water to start, sucking it out and reapplying it repeatedly. Be careful not to add too much at one time so you don't spread the stain.

Some people have been able to remove stains caused by berries with hydrogen peroxide. The plain grocery store kind (3%) can work, but test it in a hidden corner somewhere first, to see if it alters the color of the fibers. Then apply the hydrogen peroxide carefully using a cotton swab, and dry the area well afterward. (Generally you don't need to rinse the hydrogen peroxide out too thoroughly, because it turns into plain water after a while.)

If you still see a stain after following the steps here, you can either try a commercial cleaning product (test it somewhere hidden--many of these solvents damage carpet), or call a professional cleaner. If the berry stain is permanent you might want to consider using the procedures on our page on repairing carpet.

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