How to remove cold drink stains (and other red stains) from carpet
The prospect of getting red cold drink stains out of carpet can be a nightmare in light coloured carpets. Fortunately, there are some simple tricks can help you remove these stains effectively, without destroying your carpet!
The dye in cherry, strawberry, fruit punch, and other red flavours is a strong, bold shade that can stain fabrics and carpets very quickly. These stains can be especially difficult to remove from carpet where the stain has soaked in, staining fibres below the surface. It is possible to remove the stains, however, but it will require both patience and perseverance to completely eliminate the stain.
As soon as a spill occurs, use a white towel or paper towels to blot up as much fluid as possible and minimise the spread of the stain.
If you have a wet vacuum, go over the spill area several times to remove as much fluid as possible. This will not remove the stain completely, but it will minimise the damage so you can clean it more effectively.
Mix two cups of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap. If you prefer not to use soap, plain warm water or a solution of 2 cups warm water and 2 cups ammonia can also be effective.
Dampen the stained area of the carpet with the solution. Not too wet as you don't want to soak the carpet. If it is too wet, the fibres can become matted and the stain can spread.
Lay a white towel or sheet over the stain, covering it completely. You may need several towels available in order to remove the stain completely.
Use a iron on low heat and press it lightly on top of the towel. Do not press down or you can damage or burn your carpet.
Check the underside of the towel after a minute or two. It should be turning pink or red as the heat breaks down the dye bonds and the stain wicks up through the carpet (this is why you need to use white or light coloured towels).
Rearrange the towel or use a fresh one as necessary to keep a clean part of the towel over the stain. Repeat this process until no more colour is showing on the towel even after the iron has been applied. If the carpet is drying out, dampen it again and continue applying the iron. When no more colour is coming up onto the towel, use another fresh towel and rub the area briskly to restore the fibres.
Vacuum the entire area and stay off the damp area until it is completely dry.
While this technique can be effective for removing stains on carpet and upholstery, it may take several tries to completely eliminate the stain. Patience is important, because rushing the cleaning by increasing the heat or pressing the iron hard onto the carpet can cause damage and discolouration.
GOOD TO KNOW
While using a simple cleaning solution and a warm iron can be effective against many red stains, how easily the stain is removed depends on the size of the spill, the strength of the Kool Aid, and texture and depth of a carpet.
Not only can a simple cleaning solution and a warm iron work for removing cold drink stains, but the same technique can be used for any foods that contain strong red food colouring, such as: ice lollies or other frozen treats - cake icing or sprinkles - jelly gelatin desserts. Here are a few more tricks to try:
- Blot the stain with club soda to break down the dye bonds for easier removal.
- Soak a fresh, wet stain with salt to absorb the liquid, then vacuum the area before cleaning.
- Use heavy carpet cleaning chemicals only as a last resort; many will be ineffective against red stains.
GOOD TO KNOW
It does not matter if the stain is fresh or dried; the same technique can be used to lift the colour out of carpet. A dried stain may take more time to remove, but the technique does not change.