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How to Remove Kool Aid and Other Red Stains From Carpet

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Whether you can completely remove a Kool Aid spot or other powdered drink stain from carpeting depends on how long ago the spill happened, the color of the drink, and the type of carpet fiber. Some lighter-colored stains might come out by following the instructions on our page on basic stain removal techniques. All "red stains" are difficult to get out, at best. The red coloring used in pop, candy, and other foods won't generally flush out with water.

A shop-vac (wet-dry vacuum cleaner) can suck some of it out if it is used quickly, before the spill enters the carpet fibers. To get out some or all of the remaining stain takes time, but can (often) be done. Follow the steps below. They will work for most red stains, whether they are caused by drink mixes, candy or anything else that uses standard artificial red color.

1. Although it should go without saying, clean up any spill as quickly as possible. Many carpets have stain-resisting treatments, so you might be able to remove the spilled drink before it enters and stains the fibers. Grab a clean white rag or paper towels and soak up as much of the liquid as you can, or use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner if you have one handy. Spray or drip some water on the spot to rinse more color out and soak/vacuum that up. Then proceed with the next step.

2. You'll need Dawn dish washing detergent - the original blue type. Put five drops in two cups of warm water. Moisten a white cotton cloth (cut up a white t-shirt if you have nothing else) with this solution and lay it over the stain.

3. Place a clothes iron on the stain, and put it on the "low" setting.

4. Leave this for fifteen minutes. Don't press down. The stain should begin to wick up into the cloth. You'll see red on the cloth.

5. Fold the cloth to a clean part or use a new one, and repeat the process. Patience is required to get red stains out of carpet, but even year-old Kool Aid stains have been removed using this method. Just repeat the process again and again until you get no more transfer of the red stain to the cloth.

Remember; clean white cotton cloth (several), low heat, and don't press or rub. Let the color wick up into the cloth at its own rate.

6. When you are done, rinse the area (a spray bottle is convenient for this) several times with plain water, blotting it up with a clean white cloth or non-dyed paper towels in between applications. You want to get all the detergent out.

Here's a short video that will show you one method for removing Kool Aid and similar stains from your carpeting:

7. It also helps to dry the spot quickly. If there is any red dye remaining deeper down in the fibers, it can wick back to the surface and become visible again, Fast drying prevents this from happening. Use a stack of white paper towels with weight on them (a brick will work) to soak up the moisture. Replace the paper towels as they get wetted through, until you are getting little transfer of moisture. Then aim a fan at the spot to complete the drying.

With patience you can get Kool Aid out of carpet with this procedure even when the stain is several years-old, and even if you cannot eliminate the worst red stains you should be able to lighten them substantially. If they are still too noticeable you can see the page on carpet repairs to resolve the problem.

Carpet Stains | Kool Aid And Other Red Stains In Carpet