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There was a time when a bottle of mercurochrome was a must in every family’s medicine cabinet.
Actually, it’s a compound called merbromine. It contains mercury and bromine in a water-based or alcohol-based solution.
Fast forward to today, the mercurochrome is almost gone from drug stores.
That said, it is still in use in some areas in other forms. And it still evokes nostalgia – a stubborn red stain on my skin after a fall from the bike.
However, a few drops of mercurochrome on the carpet can look really nasty. Well, mishaps happen. Fortunately, there are ways you can clean up the carpet.
A combination of white vinegar, household cleaner, and ammonia, can help you in removing the mercurochrome stain from a carpet.
A warning though! Mercurochrome stains can be stubborn. So it may need multiple applications and lots of patience.
5 Ways to Get Mercurochrome Stain Out of a Carpet
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This is true for any stain including mercurochrome – speed is your best pal. The older it gets, the harder it is to remove.
Also, it’s best not to use bleach on a mercurochrome stain. Since the medicine contains Bromine, bleach might set the stain.
⚠️ If you do decide to use bleach, make sure to skip the step #3 below! Ammonia and chlorine react by emitting a gas that’s very dangerous for people.
Step 1: Soak It Up with Vinegar and Baking Soda
The most important step is to prevent the spread of the medicine. Carpet materials are good absorbents and can soak up the color. Soak a piece of cloth in white vinegar and sponge the stained area.
Next, sprinkle some baking soda on the spot. While the acidic part of vinegar will help in softening the stain, baking soda will do the heavy lifting.
Press the spot with the cloth till you see no visible red spots on it. However, don’t rub or scrub the spot at this stage. This may cause the stain to get more deeply absorbed in the carpet fabric. Keep dabbing the spot at five-minute intervals for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pour some water over the spot to rinse and remove the baking soda and vinegar. Check if there’s any smell of vinegar on the carpet. If there is, rinse again.
Step 2: Use a Commercial Cleaner
Dilute it as the manufacturer recommends and apply it on the spot. Press gently with an absorbent cloth to make the red stain come up from the carpet fabric.
I’d suggest using a white absorbent cloth. That way, there will be no chance of the colors from the cloth transferring to the carpet. It will also help you to observe if the stain is coming out at all or not.
Finally, blot the area with a wet sponge to remove the cleaner.
Step 3: Apply Some Ammonia Solution
If the spot still remains, it’s time to use a solution of ammonia. Dilute 1 part of ammonia in 4 parts of water and apply it on the spot. Let the solution work for 30 minutes.
Sponge the area to get the stain out. Then rinse the area with cold water.
If you don’t have any ammonia, some hydrogen peroxide might be able to do the job!
Step 4: Apply Sodium Thiosulphate
Mix a tablespoon of sodium thiosulphate in a cup of water. Since sodium thiosulphate reacts with bromine, it can break down the composition of mercurochrome and remove the stain.
Sponge the stain with this solution and blot it. Chances are, you will see the red spot fading. Once the stain is clear, sponge the area with cold water.
Step 5: Hit it With a Color Remover
If the stain is still there, it’s time to hit it with a color remover. Prepare a solution as per the instructions and apply it to the stained area by using an absorbent pad. Rinse the spot with water and blot any excess liquid from the carpet.
A word of caution: color removers can affect the color of the carpet as well. So test it on a small spot before using it. Next, sponge the area with cold water to the chemical.
Step 6: Dry the Carpet
Once the stain is gone, you can use a shop vac to extract the water from the carpet. Then spread it out under the sun to dry it. If the wet spot is limited to a small area, you can use a small fan to dry it.
In case the carpet hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you can also think of getting it cleaned using steam or hot water extraction.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you get mercurochrome stains out of carpet?
Mercurochrome stains can be lifted from a carpet by using white vinegar and baking soda to blot the area. Beyond that, you can also use a solution of ammonia and water to clean the spot.
What stains cannot be removed from a carpet?
Stains that can’t be removed from a carpet (or can, but only partially) are hair dye, nail polish, yellowing spots, and water rings. While there are some ways to remove them, it can be a hit or miss.
Do vinegar and baking soda remove old stains from the carpet?
Vinegar and baking soda are most effective for removing fresh stains. However, you can always try them on old stains to check if it works.