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Removing Soft Drink Stains

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What we call stains start out as spills, which often never become stains if they are cleaned up right away, so the key to removing stains caused by soft drinks and other liquids from carpet is to act quickly. Get out the wet/dry shop-vacuum cleaner and suck up that spill. Otherwise grab a towel - preferably a clean white one, and mop it up.

Whether you can completely remove the spill or stain depends on the type of drink, how long the stain has been there, and what type of carpet fibers you are dealing with. The procedure below is for removing most soft drink stains. Wine is covered on the page about wine stain removal, and there is also a page devoted to how to get beer out of carpeting (which is mostly about getting rid of the odor).

How to Remove Drink Stains

1. Do what you can to remove any liquid before you start cleaning. Use a shop-vac or a stack of white paper towels or a white cotton cloth. Don't rub the area, but push on it gently to soak up liquids.

2. Rinse the area with water, using a spray bottle and blotting up the water between applications. Mix a tablespoon of clear ammonia (not the colored ones) in a cup of water and spray this on the spot to neutralize odors and clean the stain. Spray lightly repeatedly and blot it up each time using that wet/dry vacuum cleaner or white paper towels or a clean white cotton cloth. Do not soak the carpet so heavily that the solution reaches the carpet backing, or damage could result.

3. Make a cleaning solution from a few drops of Dawn or Joy dish washing detergent and a cup of warm water. Apply this several times, blotting it up each time. Gently work it in, but don't rub hard.

4. Rinse with plain water several times, again extracting the moisture each time. Get all traces of the detergent out or it can attract dirt.

5. Dry with paper towels (white ones only) or a clean white cloth. One of the better methods is to put a stack of paper towels over the spot and weight them down with a heavy pan or books (put plastic in between so the books don't get wet). Replace the paper towels as they get saturated, and finish with a fan blowing on the spot for a few hours. Quick drying prevents the migration of any remaining color from wicking up to the surface from deeper in the fibers.

The video here is specifically about getting soda stains out of wool rugs...

Different coloring substances are used in the various soft drinks, and so some stains will be more difficult than others to remove. See the page on how to get Kool Aid out of carpeting if you have spilled a red colored soda. If nothing else works, you can also follow the instructions on the page about carpet repairs.

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