Will Vinegar Stain Your Carpet? – How To Clean Carpet Stains With Vinegar

Blog, Flooring & Countertops

In every household, there is always a tendency for an accidental spill at some point in time. Unfortunately, the carpet is one of the most common recipients of some of these spills.

When you ask around the best way to clean a carpet, vinegar is mostly recommended. It’s no surprise vinegar is a household item used for cleaning stains on most surfaces. But the question here is, “Will vinegar work, or will it stain your carpet even more”?

While vinegar works well when cleaning some types of carpets, it is advisable to know the nature of your carpet first. Carpets made of wool, silk, or fiber tend to be too delicate. That means using vinegar on these types of carpets may damage them further.

Aside from that, there are other factors to consider before using vinegar on your carpet. So, you might want to hold off on your plan and read through this article to get the proper answer and guidance. Let’s dive right into it then.

Will vinegar stain your carpet?

Vinegar will not stain your carpet as long as it is not made of wool, silk, or fiber. They tend to be very delicate and might be stained and damaged further in the process.

For other types of carpets, vinegar will not stain the carpet as long as the spill you are trying to clean off is not acid-base. Vinegar is already acidic; using it to clean off an acid-base spill will only make the spill harder to remove or possibly stain the carpet.

It is best to use vinegar on alkaline-base spills like vegetable matter, pet urine, etc. To help you better, I will outline below some commonly spilled items that are acidic and others that contain alkaline.

Acid-base spills, you should refrain from cleaning off your carpet with vinegar

  • Alcoholic beverage
  • Fruit juice
  • Soy sauce
  • Coffee or tea
  • Dairy products
  • Oil or grease

Alkaline-base spills you can clean off your carpet with vinegar

  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Avocado
  • V8 juice
  • Pet urine
  • Green smoothies
  • Vegetable matter

Only use vinegar for alkaline-based stains, but remember that the carpet must not be made of wool, silk, or fiber.

How to clean a carpet with vinegar

Aside from the type of carpet and the nature of the spills, there are also steps to be taken. This ensures that you get it just right and don’t end up messing up your carpet in the process.

Step 1: Remove moisture from the carpet

Immediately, you notice the spill and quickly blot the area on the carpet. To get the best result, I recommend using paper towels to blot (regular towels also work). But do not blot with too much pressure.

Try your best to resist the urge to rub the area; it will only spread the stain further into the carpet. Continue blotting the area while constantly changing towels to soak up as much of the spill as possible.

After this, discard the paper towel. If you use regular towels, you may want to throw them into the washing machine. Since they will also be stained, you may want to wash them immediately.

Step 2: Make your solution with the vinegar

This is by far the most important step; it is a common mistake that people make when applying vinegar to carpets. Mix the white distilled vinegar solution with water into an empty spray bottle.

It is important to get the ratio of water and vinegar right. The best is a 1:1 ratio (that is, half water and half vinegar); you can use more water, but never use more vinegar than water. It would make the solution too strong or potent.

Step 3: Apply vinegar solution

Grab the spray bottle and spray gently on the affected area. Spray enough to soak the affected area properly as the solution works best when it completely covers the area. After spraying this solution, wait for at least 10 – 15 minutes before entering the next step.

Step 4: Rub and clean the affected area

Use a clean paper towel to soak up the solution from the carpet. Feel free to apply a little pressure and rub the affected area gently until you can confirm the spill is completely clear. After cleaning the affected area, allow the carpet to dry off and that should be all.


What is the best type of vinegar to use on carpets?

The best type of vinegar to use on carpets is white distilled vinegar.

How do you avoid the vinegar smell on the carpet?

If you wish to avoid the potent smell of vinegar, it would be best to add a few drops of scented oil to the vinegar solution.

Do you need to rinse the vinegar out of the carpet?

That would not be necessary. Simply blot with a paper towel until there is no moisture and allow to dry.


Vinegar is one of the best items to use for household cleaning, mostly because of its effectiveness and eco-friendliness. However, using vinegar on a carpet that is made of wool, silk, or fiber can prove to be detrimental.

They are only suited for other types of carpets and for spills that are not acid-base. This article highlights some examples of acid-based spills for which you should not use vinegar and spills for which you can use vinegar. Additionally, this article gives a step-by-step guide on how to use vinegar on carpets to ensure you get the best results.

I hope you found this article helpful; if you did, also check out this article on how to clean indoor or outdoor carpet that is glued down.

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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