How to Get Charcoal Out of Carpet: 7 Simple Steps
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It’s always a good time when you’re hosting a barbecue party and all your friends are around to witness your talent on the grills. Nothing could ever dampen that feeling.
…Until you notice some charcoal dropped on one of your precious carpets from a previous restocking trip. What can you do about it?
When cleaning charcoal from your carpet, avoid brushing against the stain too hard as it will only push the residue deeper into your carpet’s pile. Use liquid dish soap or an absorbent to lift the stain off the fibers.
Find out how you can go about this in more detail below!
And yes, this guide is good both for barbecue and other forms of charcoal (such as activated). Oh, and it works on upholstery too!
What You Will Need
Before you go in guns-blazing, first ensure that you have the following items at your disposal:
- Vacuum cleaner
- Liquid dish soap
- Pieces of dry, clean clothes
- Spray bottle
- Baking soda or powder, baby powder, or cornstarch
How to Clean Charcoal from Your Carpet
As easy as cleaning charcoal from your carpet might sound, the truth is that there is a great deal of care and precision that you have to practice to get it right. Otherwise, you’ll just end up spreading the dark stain to other clean areas of your carpet.
So, what are the steps?
1. Vacuum the charcoal stain
First of all, ban ALL foot traffic! Remove any potential walkers or crawlers that may be lurking about (especially pets and toddlers). The tiniest charcoal and soot particles are very eager to spread all over the house given the chance.
Before doing anything, you should first pick off all the charcoal pieces off the carpet and get them out of the way.
After that, plug in your vacuum machine and suck away all the charcoal dust and residue lying on top of the carpet. Remember, remove the brush nozzle and DON’T press hard on the stain to prevent setting in the dark stain.
All you need is the hose, really. Place it over the stain without rubbing, and let it suck up the black.
Also, work the vacuum from the outer edges of the stain and move in towards the center to contain the mess in one area.
2. Whip up your cleaning solution
You can use things that are readily available in your house to hack this step. Take a few dollops of liquid dish soap and mix them with some cold water. Pour this into a spray bottle and shake well until you see some foam building up.
If you have a white or light-colored carpet, I’d advise you to use clear liquid soap. Also, do a spot check to ensure that the solution doesn’t discolor the carpet in any way.
If you don’t want to DIY your way out of this, you can also clean your carpet with OxiClean. Be careful though – this could make things worse if you overdo it!
3. Spray the foamy solution on the stained carpet
Apply the mixed solution from a few inches away so that you get an even spread on the affected area. If you’re dealing with a huge stain, spray it out well!
Lightly massage the foam onto the fibers without applying pressure to the carpet.
4. Leave the foam to set in
Give the solution about 5 minutes to work into the carpet fibers and lift the stain residues to the top. This will make it easier for you to remove the dark mess in the next step.
5. Blot the stain
Take a clean piece of cloth and blot the stain mixed with the soapy residue from the carpet. Like in step 1, you should also start from the outer areas of the stain and blot towards the middle.
Repeat this process by rinsing and soaking the cloth with a clean solution each time until the stain becomes lighter.
6. Rinse the carpet
Take another piece of dry cloth and dip it in cool water. Afterward, blot the cleaned surface with the damp cloth, again, moving inwards from outside.
If you can still see the stain, then repeat steps 5 & 6 until you get the results you’re looking for!
7. Dry and vacuum
You may use a dry, clean cloth or a napkin for this step. Lay it down over the rinsed spot and put something heavy like a book on top or apply pressure with your hands to absorb all excess moisture.
Once the carpet’s dry, plug back in the vacuum and run it over the carpet to restore its crisp look and former shape.
Should I Steam Clean a Charcoal Stain?
I wish I could say otherwise, but no. Steam comes with pressure, remember?
This pressure is your friend with all kinds of stubborn stains in your kitchen or bathroom. It’s even good with organic stains on carpet. Thanks to the heat and pressure, steam protrudes into the tiniest pores and breaks down dirt and grease.
But with powdery stuff such as charcoal or soot, pressure is your enemy. It will only whoosh the black particles deeper into the fibers, destroying the carpet for good.
If you really want to steam, do it AFTER you’ve gone through all the 7 steps I outlined above.
How to Remove Soot from Your Carpet
Now, set-in charcoal soot gives a completely different problem to deal with. Unlike an accidental charcoal drop on the carpet, cleaning soot requires more than just a vacuum cleaner and soap.
Check out quickly how you can get soot off your carpet:
- Take either corn starch, baking soda, or any absorbent powder and spread it on the soot stain.
- Leave the absorbent in for about 1 hour to pull out all the soot from the deeper layers of the carpet.
- Vacuum the spot afterward, ensuring that you get every residue out.
- Mix a cleaning agent (using liquid dish soap) and blot the stained surface to saturation.
- Leave the cleaning agent for a few minutes then blot rinse until the stain fades.
- If the stain’s still around, repeat steps 4 & 5 until you’re satisfied.
- Let the carpet air-dry and then vacuum to restore its former appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do you prevent charcoal stains from spreading over your carpet?
The best way to stop a charcoal stain from spreading is to avoid applying too much pressure on the stain when cleaning.
The other thing is that, when vacuuming or blotting, you should start from the outer edges and move inwards to contain the stain in one area.
2. What is the best way of removing charcoal stain from your carpet?
You should first remove any piece of charcoal lying on the carpet.
Afterward, get rid of the charcoal dust by vacuuming and then applying a cleaning agent onto the stain to break and lift the dirt to the surface. You should then seal the deal by blotting the spot until the stain becomes lighter and finally disappears.