We’ve all been there. You’re walking through the living room with a fresh cup of coffee, trip over the dog, and make a massive mess on the carpet.
You rush to the kitchen and grab the first bottle of cleaner you see, failing to notice the word bleach on the side. Now, you’ve got a huge white blotch in the middle of your rug.
Wait… Is that just us? Okay, so that might be a particular scenario. But you might find yourself in a situation where you need to fix a bleach stain on your carpet.
Can bleach stains be removed?
To understand how to remove bleach stains or at least minimize the effect, you’ll have to know how bleach works. Chlorine bleach works by eliminating the color chemically.
Depending on the potency of the bleach, the stains are most likely permanent. So your mindset when removing bleach stains should be damage control, then restoring color. The first step is removing the bleach because it is active until neutralized, which we’ll look at in method one.
Method #1: Using Bleach Neutralizer
This method is the most effective since chlorine bleach neutralizer negates the effects of bleach. You can buy this in local pet supply stores or Walmart. It is most effective on fresh bleach stains. This product will neutralize the effects of bleach.
For this method, prepare a bowl of hot water and have a wet vac on standby.
- Dissolve bleach neutralizer: Add the neutralizing crystals in a bowl of hot water and stir until it dissolves.
- Pour over stain: Carefully pour the mixture on the stain. Make sure only to apply it to the blemished areas and wait for 5 minutes.
- Extract neutralizer: Use a wet/dry vacuum to remove excess liquid from the carpet.
- Check the stain: Inspect the spot to see if the stain is still visible. Repeat the steps above if it is.
- Dry the carpet: Open the fans and window to speed things up.
- Vacuum: Do this to restore the fluffiness of the carpet.
Spot dye kits are also available online like this one. It already has everything you need to remove bleach spots from carpets. This kit contains bleach neutralizing crystals and a dye kit. It’s much cheaper than calling a professional and worth a try if you want to DIY.
Disclaimer: These next methods may or may not work, so after the steps, I’ll provide some commentary about what the professionals say, so you can make a sound judgment on whether to proceed or not.
Method #2: Using Water and Vinegar
The next method to get a bleach stain out of carpet involves something you already have around the house: white vinegar and water. It’s a simple method that is worth trying the moment you notice a bleach stain has occurred.
For this method, you’ll need warm water, white vinegar, a small bucket or container, and a cloth or sponge.
- Create a mix: In a small container, mix four cups of warm water with two tablespoons of white vinegar.
- Add mixture to the stain: Pour the water and vinegar mixture to the stain. It’s going to smell pretty strong, so pinch your nose if you have to (better yet, wear a mask).
- Soaking the stain: Wait about five minutes for the mixture to soak into the stain. You can observe it, play the Jeopardy theme song a couple of times, or get a snack. Five minutes is a super long time when you’re watching a bleach stain.
- Check the stain: Go back and give the stain a look. Dab it with a small cloth or sponge to see if it lifts. If it is still visible, repeat the previous step. Yes, this means you can get another snack.
- Rinse with cold water: Once the stain starts to go away, rinse the spot with cold water. Lay a dry towel over the spot to absorb as much of the excess water as you can. The stain should no longer be visible at this point.
Can vinegar remove bleach stains?
There’s no guarantee that vinegar will remove bleach stains. The initial step is to extract the bleach stains chemically using a bleach neutralizer. Once the bleach comes out, then you can start using vinegar to finish the task.
Method #3: Soapy Water Mixture
If the first method didn’t work out or you don’t have white vinegar in the pantry, there’s a second method to try. This one is similar but incorporates the use of dish soap to try to lift the stain.
For this method, you’ll need warm water, mild dish soap, paper towels, and a little bit of patience.
- Dab the stain: Once you’ve noticed the stain, grab a damp paper towel, and try to dab at it as best you can. No, we don’t mean the dance. Save those skills for the next time you’re around your friends.
- Create a soapy mixture: In a small bowl, mix 1/4 teaspoon of mild dish soap with one cup of warm water. Swish it around to ensure it suds up a bit.
- Pour the mixture over the bleach stain: Pour the sudsy water directly over the bleach stain. Blot it with paper towels to start to lift the stain from the carpet. You should see something begin to happen within a few seconds.
- Wait until it dries: Give the damp carpet a chance to dry, which can take up to an hour or so. Now is an excellent time to walk the dog, make a cup of coffee, and otherwise work hard not to put any additional stains on the carpet.
- Rinse and admire your work: Rinse the spot with a little more water on another damp paper towel. At this point, the blemish should be gone entirely. If not, repeat steps three and four to try again or move on to another method.
What do the pros say?
Dishwashing soap is the worst thing to use on bleach as it is a pH surfactant that enables a highly alkaline substance (like bleach) to further spread to other areas.
Another downside is it blocks dye agents as you’ll have to remove it before dying, so it’s an added chore. Rubbing carpet with bleach in it will only worsen the stain as bleach can penetrate deeper into the padding.
Warning: These next two methods are just suggestions. There’s a high possibility that any of these will not work.
Method #4: Using Crayons
If you still cannot get the bleach stain out of your carpet, there is still a bit of an unconventional method to try. This technique is a bit more colorful than you might expect, but it is still a good option.
For this stain busting attempt, you’ll need warm water, paper towels, and a crayon that matches the color of your carpet. This is a good method to try if the stain is small or not fresh.
- Use a damp paper towel: The moment you notice the bleach stain on your carpet, use a damp paper towel to try to get any excess bleach up off the rug. Once it seems like there is no change, move on to the next step.
- Color the carpet fibers: Color in the stain with the crayon. Make sure to fill in the discoloration as best you can, going up and down on the fibers to transfer the wax to the carpet. It’s going to feel a little weird coloring in your carpet, but trust us that it is worth it.
- Dab the wax to blend the color: Take a second damp paper towel and dab the wax to blend the color. Keep doing this until the color spreads, and the stain is no longer visible.
What do the pros say?
Crayons will not last as it comes off easily. At best, it is just a temporary solution – a bandaid to a big gash.
Method #5: Interior Paint
This method is a final attempt at trying to cover up a bleach stain on your carpet. Attempt it only if the spot is in a pretty inconspicuous area or small in size.
For this method, you need a paper towel, a small paintbrush, and paint that looks similar to the color of your carpet. You’ll want to try the previous methods first, so we are skipping those instructions and getting straight into what to do.
- Vacuum: Great a vacuum to rid the area of any dust, dirt, debris.
- Pat the stain with a damp paper towel: Moisten a paper towel and then pat the stain in preparation for the next step.
- Paint the Spot: Fill in the spot with a tiny amount of paint using a brush. Let it dry completely.
What do the pros say?
Paints will not work on carpets because it will stiffen the fibers. As an experiment, take a paintbrush, dip it in paint and leave it to dry – you’ll notice that the bristles will harden. It’s the same effect it’ll have on carpet fibers, so don’t even bother.
Can carpet cleaners remove bleach stains?
Using a carpet cleaner can speed up the process of removing the excess liquid of whatever method you choose. It’s something you can use in conjunction with a bleach neutralizing mixture if you don’t have a wet vacuum.
What happens if you bleach a carpet?
Bleach works by stripping the colors of fibers chemically. It takes out blue, red, then yellow. The result (in most cases) is a yellow stain.
Even if the carpet is chemically resistant to bleach, it isn’t a good idea to use it on carpets it can permeate through the strands down to the padding.
Lastly, bleach is active until it is removed by extraction using a bleach neutralizer. The highly toxic nature of bleach can be harmful to pets and people, so whatever cleaning benefits it brings is negated by this.
How do you remove old bleach stains from carpet?
Since bleach is an active agent, the first step is removing the bleach from the carpet using a bleach neutralizer and a wet vacuum.
Can you fix a bleached carpet?
Yes, it is possible to fix a bleached carpet, but there are several factors you need to consider. The potency of the bleach, length of time it’s on the carpet, and the type of carpet you have.
The sooner you act, the better the probability of restoring the carpet to its original luster. Always start with the source of the problem, which is bleach. It is an active agent that will continually strip and dissolve carpet fiber until it is extracted from the carpet.
Only then can you apply color-correcting procedures after the initial step, otherwise it will be futile.