How to get alcohol out of the carpet

Spilling alcohol on your carpets can be a stressful and frustrating experience, but don’t worry – there are several effective methods to remove those unsightly stains and odours. Whether you’ve accidentally knocked over a glass of wine, had a beer spill, or dealt with the aftermath of a party, this guide will walk you through the steps to get your carpets looking and smelling fresh again.

get alcohol out of carpet

Alcohol Stains

Before we dive into the cleaning process, it’s important to understand the nature of alcohol stains. Different types of alcohol can react differently when spilled on carpets. For example, wine and beer contain tannins that can leave reddish-brown stains, while clear liquors like vodka and gin are more likely to leave behind a sticky, colourless residue.

Regardless of the type of alcohol, the key is to act quickly. The longer the stain sits, the harder it will be to remove. Alcohol can rapidly penetrate deep into the carpet fibres, making it difficult to fully extract. Therefore, it’s crucial to start the cleaning process as soon as possible.

Necessary Supplies

To effectively remove an alcohol stain from your carpet, you’ll need the following supplies:

  1. Absorbent materials (paper towels, clean rags, or a sponge)
  2. Cold water
  3. Mild dish soap or carpet cleaner
  4. Vinegar or enzyme-based cleaner
  5. Baking soda
  6. Vacuum cleaner

In addition to the basic supplies, you may also consider using a commercial carpet cleaner or stain remover specifically designed for alcohol-based spills. Some popular options include:

  • Folex Carpet Spot Remover – A professional-grade, non-toxic formula that effectively removes a variety of stains, including alcohol.
  • Bissell Professional Spot and Stain Remover – An enzymatic-based cleaner that breaks down and lifts stubborn stains, including wine and beer.
  • Chem-Dry Spot Remover – A commercial-strength, pH-balanced formula designed to remove a wide range of stains, including alcohol.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

Step 1: Blot the Spill

As soon as the spill occurs, use absorbent materials like paper towels or clean rags to blot the affected area. Avoid rubbing or scrubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the carpet. Gently press down on the spill to soak up as much of the liquid as possible.

Step 2: Apply Cold Water

Once you’ve blotted the area, pour a small amount of cold water directly onto the stain. The cold temperature will help prevent the alcohol from setting into the carpet fibers. Using a clean rag or sponge, gently blot the area to lift the diluted stain. Repeat this process until the rag or sponge comes up clean.

Step 3: Use a Mild Dish Soap or Carpet Cleaner

If the stain persists, mix a small amount of mild dish soap or a specialized carpet cleaner with cold water. Gently rub this solution into the affected area using a clean rag or sponge. The soap or carpet cleaner will help break down the alcohol and lift the stain.

Be sure to avoid using hot water, as this can set the stain and make it harder to remove. Additionally, stay away from harsh cleaning chemicals or solvents, as these can damage the carpet fibres and backing.

Step 4: Apply Vinegar or Enzyme-Based Cleaner

If the stain is still visible after using the soap or carpet cleaner, try a vinegar or enzyme-based solution. Vinegar is an excellent natural stain remover, while enzyme-based cleaners are specifically formulated to target organic matter like alcohol.

To create a vinegar solution, mix equal parts white vinegar and cold water. Gently blot the affected area with the vinegar solution, then let it sit for a few minutes before blotting again with a clean rag or sponge.

Alternatively, you can use an enzyme-based carpet cleaner, which you can find at most hardware or home improvement stores. Some popular options include:

  • Nature’s Miracle Dual-Enzyme Formula Carpet Cleaner – An enzymatic cleaner that effectively breaks down and removes a variety of stains, including alcohol.
  • OxiClean Carpet and Upholstery Stain Remover – A peroxide-based formula that lifts and removes tough stains, including red wine and beer.

Follow the instructions on the product’s label, as application methods may vary.

Step 5: Sprinkle Baking Soda

Once you’ve applied the vinegar or enzyme-based cleaner, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the affected area. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and will help absorb any lingering odours from the alcohol spill.

Let the baking soda sit for at least 15 minutes, or up to an hour if possible. This will give the baking soda time to work its magic. After the allotted time, vacuum up the baking soda, removing any remaining traces of stain and odour.

Step 6: Repeat as Needed

If the stain or odour persists, repeat the process, starting with blotting the area and working your way through the cleaning steps. It may take a few rounds of treatment to fully remove the alcohol from the carpet.

Be patient and persistent – with the right techniques and a bit of elbow grease, you can get your carpets looking and smelling like new again.

Prevention Tips

To avoid future alcohol spills on your carpets, here are some preventative measures to consider:

  1. Use coasters: Encourage guests to use coasters whenever they’re drinking on carpeted areas to help contain any spills.
  2. Avoid carrying drinks in carpeted spaces: Be extra cautious when walking with alcoholic beverages, and try to keep them confined to hard surface areas.
  3. Clean up spills immediately: As soon as a spill occurs, start the cleaning process right away to prevent the alcohol from setting in.
  4. Consider area rugs: In high-traffic or high-risk areas, consider placing area rugs that can be easily cleaned or replaced, rather than relying solely on wall-to-wall carpeting.

Dealing with Stubborn Stains

If you’ve tried the steps outlined above and the stain or odour persists, it may be time to call in a professional carpet cleaning service. These experts have access to heavy-duty equipment and commercial-grade cleaning solutions that can tackle even the most stubborn alcohol stains.

Additionally, if the stain has had time to set in and penetrate deep into the carpet fibres, you may need to consider more extensive measures, such as steam cleaning or even carpet replacement, in extreme cases.


Removing alcohol stains from your carpets doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By acting quickly, using the right cleaning methods, and employing preventative measures, you can restore your carpets to their former glory. Remember, patience and persistence are key – with a bit of elbow grease, you can say goodbye to those unsightly alcohol stains for good.

Sharing Is Caring:

As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.