Wood stains contain chemicals, dyes, and other ingredients that can be extremely difficult to remove from fabric, carpet, or other surfaces.

Unfortunately, accidents happen even when you take all the necessary precautions, and you can end up with these stains on your carpet.

When such an accident happens, you will want to know how to get wood stains out of carpet.

While the stains are typically very stubborn, addressing the problem quickly and following the correct procedure can increase your chances of success.

Why It’s Crucial to Remove Wood Stain Quickly

Spilling wood stains on carpets or upholstery requires immediate action to prevent lasting issues.

The delay allows the stain to sink deep into fibers, making removal increasingly difficult.

Stains often contain dyes and chemicals that can lead to irreversible damage, especially in carpets made from natural fibers like wool.

Aesthetically, the stain can also be an eyesore, potentially reducing the value of your home or incurring rental penalties. Time is of the essence, so act swiftly.

Can You Remove Dried Wood Stain from a Carpet?

Removing dried wood stain from a carpet is challenging but feasible. Here’s a quick rundown.

  • Vacuum the area to remove dust and debris.
  • Apply a specialized stain remover, letting it soak for 10 minutes to loosen the stain.
  • Use an iron on low heat to dry the spot.
  • Finish with steam cleaning to lift the stain completely.

This multi-step process can help dislodge embedded pigments and mitigate the damage.

Always test a small, hidden area first to ensure the stain remover won’t cause further damage.

It’s essential to recognize that different types of wood stains—whether oil-based, water-based, or hybrid—require specific removal methods.

Using the wrong technique can make the stain even more difficult to remove and may permanently damage your carpet.

Understanding the Type of Wood Stain

Accurately identifying the type of stain you’re dealing with is the first crucial step in effectively treating it.

Check the Staining Object or Source

  • If you know the source of the stain (e.g., from a furniture piece or woodwork project), that will give you a clue about the stain type.

Examine Stain Characteristics

  • Oil-based stains often have a darker, richer color and may feel greasy.
  • Water-based stains are generally lighter and might raise the carpet fibers slightly.

Conduct a Simple Test

  • Dab a white cloth with a bit of water and gently press it against the stain. If the stain starts to lift, it’s likely water-based. If not, it’s probably oil-based.

How to Determine Your Carpet Material

  • Check any labels or manufacturer’s information
  • Conduct a burn test on a small, inconspicuous fiber
  • Perform a water absorption test

Synthetic Carpets

Made from materials like polyester, nylon, or olefin, synthetic carpets are generally more stain-resistant but can react poorly to certain solvents.

Implications for Stain Removal

  • Generally more forgiving with household cleaning solutions
  • Solvent-based cleaners may be less effective or could damage the carpet

Natural Fiber Carpets

Comprised of materials like sisal, coir, or jute, natural fiber carpets are often more sensitive to moisture and can be more challenging to clean.

Implications for Stain Removal

  • Require more delicate cleaning methods
  • Avoid excessive moisture as it can warp the fibers

Wool Carpets

Being a natural fiber, wool is highly absorbent and can be sensitive to alkaline solutions.

Implications for Stain Removal

  • Avoid bleach and high-pH cleaners
  • May require specialized cleaning products

How to Remove Water-Based Wood Stain from Carpet

water based stain

Water-based wood stains clean more easily with water and soap from tools. Similarly, you can use clean water to dilute the stain when removing it from a carpet.

What you’ll need

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Absorbent towels
  • warm water
  • Paper towels
  • Mild dishwashing detergent (without bleach)
  • Hand gloves

Procedure for removing water-based stain from carpet

Once you have assembled all the requirements, follow these simple steps to remove the carpet’s wood stain.

Step 1. Remove any dust and debris from the carpet

Start by dusting and cleaning the affected area to remove debris and dirt around it. You can vacuum the dust and debris or use any other method.

Step 2: Blot the wood stain 

Once the loose dirt and dust are gone, you can blot the area if the stain is wet. Follow this step only if the stain is wet. For dried stains, skip to the next step.

Use a paper towel to soak up as much of the stain as possible. Alternatively, use a clean, absorbent towel instead of a paper towel to soak up the wet stain.

Repeat this process until much of the stain has come off.  While at it, keep moving to a clean area of the white towel to avoid spreading the stain with the towel.

Step 3. Work the stain with dishwashing soap and ammonia solution

Create a mild carpet cleaning solution by mixing 2 ounces of household ammonia and one teaspoonful of liquid dishwashing soap with 16 ounces of warm water.

Ensure you wear a pair of protective hand gloves before you start handling ammonia. Your workstation must also be well-ventilated because you will work with potentially toxic material.

The detergent used here must not contain any bleach. Chlorine in the bleach can react with ammonia to produce toxic fumes that will be dangerous for you to inhale.

Once the cleaning solution is ready, dunk a clean sponge, preferably white. Use the sponge to apply the solution to the stained area.

Blot the stained spot, working from the edges of the stained area toward the center to void spreading the stain. Keep blotting the stained carpet until no more color comes out of the carpet onto the sponge.

Step 4. Rinse the carpet

Don’t rinse the entire carpet, just the affected area. Use a clean white rag saturated with plain water to ensure you do not wet the unaffected areas that might require additional drying time.

You may have to repeat the rinsing several times for the desired outcome.

Step 5. Air-dry the carpet

As soon as all the stain has come off, allow the carpet to air dry, then vacuum it to straighten the carpet fibers. Cleaning the carpet often tangles the fibers.

Even when the cleaned area has dried, the fibers will likely remain stuck to the base. Thankfully, this issue is easy to resolve; vacuum the area to lift and restore the fibers.

What if there is still some pigment on the stained carpet?

If the stain on your carpet persists even after cleaning, consider using hydrogen peroxide on the affected area. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild bleaching agent and should not be used on a dark-coloured carpet.

However, if your carpet is light-coloured, create a hydrogen peroxide solution by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with three parts warm water.

You can apply the bleaching agent to the stained area using an eye dropper or cotton swab and leave it there for about half an hour. After 30 minutes, use a clean towel to remove the hydrogen peroxide and the dislodged stain.

After all the stain has come off, rinse the area as indicated in step 4 above, and air dry the carpet away from any direct heat source.

Removing Oil-Based Wood Stain from Carpet

oil based stain removal

Oil-based stains are generally more durable than their water-based cousins. Unfortunately, this also means they are more challenging to remove from a carpet in case of a spill.

Nonetheless, you should be able to remove oil-based stains from your carpet with the right products and some elbow grease.

The tools and supplies you’ll need

  • Protective hand gloves
  • Goggles
  • Lacquer thinner (or WD-40, acetone)
  • Iron box
  • Steam cleaner
  • Clean white towels
  • Rags
  • Paper towels

Procedure for removing oil-based stains from carpet

Some steps for removing an oil-based stain will be similar to those of removing water-based stains. However, oil-based stains may require a slightly more thorough approach to get out of a carpet.

Step 1. Blot the stain

Blotting is an effective way to suck up and remove as much of the mess as possible for a fresh stain. You want to keep blotting until the towel picks up no more pigment from the affected carpet.

Step 2. Apply a carpet stain remover

Several commercial carpet stain removers are available in the shops. You probably already have some at home—this is the point where to use them.

Alternatively, you could create your homemade carpet stain remover with ingredients already in your pantry. To make a homemade cleaning solution, add one part white vinegar and four-part mild dishwashing liquid to a quart of warm water and stir to mix.

Once the solution is ready, apply it to the carpet stain and let it soak in for at least 10 minutes. Pouring carpet stain remover on the affected area should help loosen the stain and dislodge the pigments.

After 10 to 30 minutes, clean the stained area with a clean white towel dampened with warm, plain water.

Step 3. Slightly dry the area to remove the excess moisture

Put your iron on a low heat setting and hold it about an inch off the carpet. The heat should help remove the excess moisture and warm the area to prepare it for steam cleaning.

Do not put the iron directly on the carpet, as this will make removing the remaining pigment more difficult.

Step 4. Steam clean the area

After much moisture is gone, go over the affected area with a steam cleaner. You can always rent one of these if you do not own one.

Steam cleaning does an excellent job of loosening the pigments to get them off the carpet fabric. You may have to be patient as some stains will be stubborn and require removal time.

Step 5. Clean the stained spot with a suitable solvent

After steam cleaning, much of the wood stain will be gone, but the stubborn ones will remain. Allow the area to air dry, and then apply a chemical such as lacquer thinner, acetone, nail polish remover, or WD-40 to the oil-based stain.

Remember that oil-based stains require a suitable solvent to dissolve and remove them from a fabric. This is where lacquer thinner or its close alternatives come in.

Do not pour the chemical directly into the fabric. Instead, saturate a cloth with the chemical and use the damp cloth to blot at the stain until it has come off.

Ensure you wear protective gloves and eye goggles when handling the chemicals. Also, test the chemical on an inconspicuous part of the carpet first to ensure it does not affect the color or the fabric.

Step 6: Do a final steam clean

This is like a final rinsing to remove the chemical from the fabric. You could also rinse the carpet with a clean towel or rag. But a carpet steamer should be more effective. Once done, allow the carpet to air dry.

Type of StainMethod of RemovalEffectiveness
Dried Wood Stain1. Vacuum the area.
2. Apply stain remover and let it soak for 10 minutes.
3. Dry the spot with an iron on low heat.
4. Steam clean the area.
Challenging but possible. Effectiveness is better when addressed quickly. Steam cleaning is essential for better results.
Water-Based Stain1. Vacuum or clean dust and debris.
2. Blot the stain if wet.
3. Create a cleaning solution with ammonia and dishwashing soap.
4. Apply solution and blot.
5. Rinse with water.
6. Air-dry and vacuum.
7. Optional: Use hydrogen peroxide.
Generally easier to remove than oil-based stains. Soap and ammonia solution works well. For stubborn stains, hydrogen peroxide can be effective but should be used carefully.
Oil-Based Stain1. Blot the stain.
2. Apply a homemade or commercial carpet stain remover.
3. Slightly dry the area.
4. Steam clean.
5. Use a suitable solvent like lacquer thinner, WD-40, or acetone.
6. Final steam clean.
More challenging than water-based stains. Requires more potent solvents and additional steam cleaning. Effectiveness can vary based on the age of the stain and the type of carpet.
Dry Clean OnlyTake the carpet to a professional dry cleaner and point out the stained area.Effectiveness will depend on the skill and methods of the professional cleaner.
Wood VarnishUse WD-40 as per product instructions, then steam clean.Effectiveness is generally good when following the product instructions and finalizing with steam cleaning.
Stains on FabricBlot the stain with a cloth saturated in mineral spirits.Generally effective for fabric but needs to be done carefully to avoid spreading the stain.
Stains on SkinUse a gentle soap and warm water to rub the stained area until it starts to fade.Generally effective for removing stains from skin. Multiple washes may be needed for complete removal.

Precautions When Removing Wood Stain from Carpet

  • Always wear protective hand gloves when handling chemicals like ammonia.
  • Always work in a well-ventilated area. Some of the fumes from the cleaning solutions you’ll use are hazardous.
  • Always spot-test the cleaning solution in an inconspicuous spot on the carpet before use.
  • Always read and follow the usage instructions on the label of any product.


How do you get an oil-based stain out of the carpet?

You can remove oil-based stains from a caret by spreading a thick coat of baking soda across the stained area and leaving it there until the edges form a dry crust. After that, vacuum the residue, removing the stain with it. Whatever remains should be light and removable using a regular carpet cleaner.

How do you remove wood varnish from the carpet?

You can use WD-40 to remove varnish and clean wood stains from the carpet. Follow the instructions on the product label to apply the product, then steam clean the area after the varnish is gone for the best results.

How do you get wood stains out of fabric?

Blot the stained spot with a clean cloth saturated with mineral spirits to remove stain from the fabric. Work from the outer edge toward the centre of the stain. Blotting pushes the wood stain from the fabric into the white rag or clean paper towel, leaving the fabric clean.

How to get the wood stain off the skin

Use a gentle soap and warm water to remove wood stains from the skin. Rub the stained area with the soap until the stain starts to fade. You may need to do this a few times to remove the stain completely.


The best way to handle wood stains on a carpet is always to lay a tarp and take precautions when working with wood stains to prevent them from getting onto the carpet in the first place.

However, if an accident happens and some wood stain gets to your carpet, follow the instructions in this guide to remove the stain from your carpet. The sooner you deal with the stain after the spill, the better.

We hope this guide helps you remove wood stains from your carpet successfully. Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts or experience.