How To Clean Brake Fluid Out Of Carpet (1)

How To Clean Brake Fluid Out Of Carpet

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Brake fluid is a really thick fluid that can transfer to the carpet at home or in the car from a wide range of sources, such as shoes, leaky containers, and messed clothing.

At first glance, brake fluid stains on carpet can be devastating, however, removing them is really not that hard. That’s why I thought, instead of keeping it to myself, it might be a brilliant idea to share how to completely clean brake fluid out of the carpet.

It’s a stubborn stain, but I swear by my methods! 💪

What Is Brake Fluid And Why Does It Stain?

Brake fluid is a certain type of hydraulic fluid that’s used in vehicles. It is responsible for converting force into pressure and increasing braking force. When you press your brake pedal in your car, this fluid creates pressure to the front and back brakes, stopping the car.

When fresh, brake fluid is light yellow and gets darker as it ages. If left for a while, it turns into a dark brown. It has an oily, slippery feel. Brake fluid contains several ingredients, from lubricants, solvents, and other additives.

All this together gives it the ability to stain car paints, clothes, and carpets. They can dissolve carpet adhesive, which can damage the carpet if you do not clean it up. We don’t want that!


Read on to see the steps on how to clean brake fluid off the carpet.

How To Clean Brake Fluid Out Of Carpet (Step By Step)

Here are the things you will need:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • Carpet cleaner solution
  • Water
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Soft-bristled brush

Spot test the carpet first when using a stain or oil remover to ensure that it will not cause fading or carpet deterioration. We don’t want carpet damage AND a brake fluid stain!

Work Boots Footprint Stains On Carpet

Steps to follow:

  1. Take your microfiber cloth and place it on the brake fluid stain if it is fresh. Gently press on the cloth to try and absorb most of the fluid. Don’t rub or scrub it.
  2. Apply the carpet cleaner solution with another clean microfiber cloth. Treat the stain with this solution by gently blotting it with a cloth. Slow and steady will definitely pay off!
  3. Vacuum the stained area using your vacuum cleaner or steam clean the area. Brush the carpet with your soft-bristled brush to break up the particles of the fluid, then steam clean the brake fluid into the cleaner.
  4. Run your steam cleaner to pull as much water as possible from the area, then allow the carpet to air-dry. Open some windows and doors to help dry the carpet.


  • DO NOT rub or scrub the brake fluid stain too hard, as you can push the brake fluid particles deeper into the carpet fibers, which can damage the floor and carpet. As mentioned above, brake fluid contains ingredients that can dissolve sealants, floor paint, and carpet adhesive.
  • DO NOT put too much of the carpet cleaner solution. Although water cuts through brake fluid, too much can spread it into clean parts of the carpet or the floor. Also, too much water can cause damage to your carpet and cause mold if it doesn’t dry quickly.

Perhaps too much of anything is as bad as too little.

Edna Ferber

That’s why I recommend steam cleaning after applying the solution. There is hardly any moisture left, and it will dry up quickly. Plus, you’ll have your much-needed steam cleaning workout too!

Why Do The Brake Fluid Stains Keep Reappearing After Cleaning?

Reappearing stains could be caused by soiling or wicking.

These are weird words, but simply soiling is caused by the residue that is left behind from cleaning the stain. You might see the stain as small brown spots. You should pour a small amount of lukewarm water on the spot. This will help to rinse the residue off your carpets.

Make sure to dry the fibers properly so you don’t get wicking! Wicking is when the moisture goes into the deeper parts of the carpet, which eventually causes the browning of the carpet. Wicking can be avoided by stacking paper towels and putting weight on the spot overnight.

The trick to preventing reappearing stains, in general, is cleaning up your spill as soon as you see them. If you let them dry, you would have to bring in the professionals!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DOT 4 brake fluid water soluble?

DOT stands for Department of Transport, which tells you which kind of brake fluid can be used in types of vehicles. DOT 4 brake fluids are water-soluble, which means that their stain can easily be swooped away with steam cleaning!

Make sure to blot first though!

How do you get brake fluid out from car paint?

If you got brake fluid in your car, you must act fast.

Blot the fluid with a paper towel — don’t even think about just wiping it! Wash the brake fluid off with car wash detergent or any soap you have around. Wash with a clean sponge or wet rag.

Rinse the area with water. LOTS of water. This will cut through the brake fluid and stop it from damaging your car.

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