Looking for my best secret to get stains out of a rug? Here’s what I used to keep all my upholstery and area rugs and carpets clean.

how to get stains out of a rug

Come a little bit closer my wonderful friend because we are keeping it real here today.

See this stain?

Can we still be friends if I tell you that I’ve walked past it on the stairs for over six months? And there are two more just like it going up to the middle landing. It’s like unwelcome house guests that just won’t leave.

They are SUCH stubborn stains. Have you ever met stains like that?

See how it’s all smeared into the rug from attempts to clean it up?

I thought it was hopeless.

I thought I was going to have to get new runners for the stairs.

I thought I’d never get it to leave.

And then?

I did a little research and tried a few things and figured out a solution and now this SIX-MONTH stain looks like this.

how to get stains out of a rug after

Are you as surprised as I am?

Can we please give the runner a dolphin clap and a standing ovation?

And I cleaned the rest of the runner, too, and now it looks almost as good as the day we had it installed.

how to get stains out of a rug before and after

Here’s a side-by-side comparison so you can see the before and after of the stair runner.

You can see that not only is the stain completely gone, but the carpet and upholstery cleaner that I used actually sucked the dirt and grime out of the carpet so it raised the loops of the carpet to make it look like new again.

But what about that stain on the landing carpet?

how to get stains out of a rug stair runner

Here’s what it looked like before I cleaned it.

And now?

It looks like this.

I wish you could have heard me when I started cleaning it. I was so excited I started yelling and my husband ran in because he thought something was wrong.

And then he started watching the carpet get cleaner and cleaner and cleaner.

how to get stains out of a rug cleaner

How To Get Stains Out Of a Rug

We spent the next hour dragging this all over the house and cleaning all the spots that needed to be cleaned (I’m looking at you Buddy) until the water chamber was completely empty and the gunk had collected on the other side.

And what is this miracle worker?

It was recommended to me by several different people. It’s called the Little Green by Bissell and you can see it here.

Just between us? I think I may be the last person on this planet to hear about it.

I told my friend about it–they have it and use it.

I told someone else about it—they have it and use it.

I wish I would have found this back when we had the farmhouse with all that mud.

how to get stains out of a rug tips

It’s SUPER lightweight and easy to use.

There are two chambers on each side.

One is for the water and cleaner (there’s a line that shows you exactly how much water and a line that shows you exactly how much cleaner).

And the other chamber is for all the stuff that you vacuum out of the area rug or upholstery.

This is the cleaner that I used.

A small bottle of it came with the Little Green.

You can see the larger bottle that sells separately here.

You unscrew the top and add the cleaner to fill up the container to the line.

Then you add water and fill that to the line in the container that’s marked for water.

That’s it.

Then plug it in and turn it on and it’s ready to use.

There’s a little squirter thing at the bottom of the nozzle.

You squirt the water/cleaner mixture onto the stain.

I let it sit for a couple of seconds to soak into the rug.

Then you pull the suction part of the nozzle across the rug.

I repeated this several times until the stain was gone. There were a couple of parts of the stain that I had to scrub with the bristles at the bottom of the nozzle.

I wish I could show you on the blog the suction on the nozzle. It was so fascinating. I filmed a video you can see over on my Instagram channel if you want to see the suction in action. You can literally see the dirt getting sucked up into the Little Green machine.

Here are a couple of tips that I discovered using it all over the house:

  • pull the nozzle slowly toward you for the best suction
  • I was constantly spraying the solution and vacuuming it up for the best results
  • if the stain doesn’t come up immediately, don’t give up—spray and repeat
  • there are little bristles on the bottom of the nozzle to give you extra suction power
  • it works on upholstery as well as area rugs and spot-cleaning carpet
  • make sure not to walk on the spots you’ve cleaned until they are completely dry

This machine is a GAME CHANGER.

I can’t believe the stains it got up all over the house.

It’s my new go-to in the cleaning helper department.

And take your carpets from this.

To this.

Let me know if you’ve used it before (like all my friends) and if you have any tips with it that I missed.

Carpet cleaners have to stick together. 🙂

PS You can see the carpet cleaning machine here.

And the cleaner I used here.

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post

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  1. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    Ive owned mine for a few years now. I love mine too. It even took stains out of a jute rug. I'm so happy you got one you will never regret it. And you are right, the weight of it makes it so anyone could use it. Your carpet looks great. Enjoy your day

  2. Image for Diana Clark Diana Clark

    Wow KariAnne that looks wonderful. Like you I have mostly wooden floors but still there is an occasional need for carpet cleaner. I might get one to use on the couch and recliner when they need to be refreshed! Thank you for the blog

  3. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Great that you were able to remove the stain, Karianne. I love the small size of this carpet cleaner. My Mum has a carpet cleaner that is so huge and heavy and tall, that you practically need two people to use it (especially at her age). Nice solution.

  4. Image for Carole Carole

    I’ve used carpet cleaning machines and they work well. But here’s the best ever spot carpet cleaner I’ve found…Tuff Stuff aerosol foam cleaner. It’s a red and yellow cylindrical can go und in the automotive department at Walmart. It’s phenomenal at cleaning carpet spots. I’ve used it on wool rugs, nylon wall to wall carpet, and man made carpets. Our house had wall to wall off white carpeting and those carpets looked brand new when we sold it after 21 years. I kid you not!

    1. Image for Linda V Linda V

      Thanks for the tip. I have dog vomit and coffee with cream stains on ivory carpet that have me at my wit's end. I'll try Tuff Stuff.

  5. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Wow! This is an amazing little machine and a bit more advanced than the little one we have that has brushes that rotate in place. I like that this one has the hand wand and is lightweight. I had one like one of the other ladies mentioned- it was a monster push rug cleaner. It was like punching and pulling a grass cutter. Out it went. Buh-bye. As always, thank you dear friend.

  6. Image for Paula Paula

    We had a spot bot for years and loved how easy it was to use and lightweight it was, however it always seemed to look amazing for a week or 2 and then you would see the circle where it had been cleaned due to the residue it left and it didn't seem so matter how little of the cleaner we used. I will be buying the little green today!

  7. Image for DeMarie Ingraham DeMarie Ingraham

    I’ve had an older version (Spot Bot) for years. Fantastic for steps and a must if you have cats or dogs (cats will ALWAYS go for the rug to upchuck on rather than tile or hardwood…((sigh)). A nifty invention so you don’t have to wait to have the whole floor steam cleaned. Only rugs I can’t use it on are my Navajos as the reds can bleed into the lighter colors as most are vegetal dyed.

  8. Image for Lynne Lynne

    I wish I had known about this when we had carpeted stairs. I did find a product called Folex that worked well. And it was non-magnetic (no soap) so it would not attract dirt back to the cleaned spot. What I did notice was that the spots cleaned were lighter than the carpet that took foot traffic from dogs, cowboy boots, etc, over the years. Our only room with carpet now is the guest room, and due to a rescue dog that thought the bed in there was his that door stays closed all the time, so the carpet gets little traffic - and so far no stains. I'm always looking for ways to make cleaning and country life in general a bit easier.

  9. Image for PJ PJ

    Thanks for this recommendation,KariAnne! I have removed most of the carpet from our old farmhouse, but I do have upholstery and area rugs that could use a little love.

  10. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    WOW!!!! That is absolutely amazing. And what a great present to give someone! It's cute and affordable too.

  11. Image for Terri Terri

    We have had one.for.many years and it works like a champ! I was just thinking that there is a rug I need to clean!!! I need to break that thing out! Thanks for the reminder!

  12. Image for Beckie Beckie

    Love , love , love mine! I use it on little accidents and recently did my upholstery in my car ! Had my Carpets professionally cleaned yesterday and they missed a couple spots ! Hated to complain so I got out my little machine and finished cleaning . I know ! I should have called them back but I didn’t want them to come back !

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