The Best Way To Get Rid Of RV Carpet Stains

RV carpet stain with coffee mug

How To Get Rid Of Stains On RV Carpet

RV carpets add a cozy feeling to your living space, and they can also have fun patterns and colors. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned, and you end up spilling something that instantly gets absorbed into the carpet. Stains can form quickly, but there are lots of ways to clean your RV carpet and get it back to its original state.

No matter what is on your carpet, there is a way to remove it. There are some RV carpet cleaners that work almost universally for stains. But some substances require special treatment before you can remove them completely. Below, we’ve compiled a full guide of different cleaning techniques you can try. Read along carefully so you can find the best fit for your specific carpet stain.

Spot cleaning techniques

Before we get into the specifics of treating different spills, let’s go over some best practices for dealing with carpet stains. If you attack the stain in the right way, you’ll be able to remove it effectively and avoid damaging your carpet.

Act immediately

First of all, tackle the stain as soon as possible. The less time it has to sit, the easier it will be to remove. Liquids will come free much more easily if they’re still wet, and other substances will be simple to pick up if they don’t have time to sink in.

Soak up excess moisture  

Begin by absorbing excess liquid. Paper towels and washcloths are your best friends at this stage. Press down on the stain and soak up as much moisture as possible. You might end up spreading the stain around if you skip this step!

Blot, don’t scrub

This next tip is important. Remember to always press down on the stained carpet. Don’t rub at it or spread it around. Blotting enables you to pick up the problematic substance, while scrubbing can damage your carpet and make the stain even worse. Treat your carpet gently so it can revert to its usual state once you’re done cleaning. 

Use the right method 

Finally, make sure you use the right approach. Lots of stains can simply be dealt with water or a commercial cleaner; however, some require special treatment.

For instance, the temperature of your water can make a difference (depending on the type of stain you’re dealing with). It’s tempting to go straight for hot water, but this can sometimes make things worse. Read along with the list below for a full guide about which cleaners to use on which stains.

Commercial cleaners

First of all, make sure you check out the wide selection of commercial carpet cleaners. These mixtures have been specially formulated to break down dirt and dissolve substances that may be stuck in your carpet. 

Commercial cleaners are designed to attack the stain and create a sanitized area. In addition, most of them have pleasant scents that will cover up any unpleasant smells or chemical odors. They’re quite powerful but may not always work for every type of stain.

Some of the bests commercial cleaners on the market include:

Carpet steam cleaner

Heated water can work wonders on an RV carpet! This is why steam cleaners are one of the best universal solutions for stains. They use a mixture of heated soap and water and penetrate deep into the fibers of the carpet.

Most professional carpet cleaners use steam cleaners to pull out all the dirt and debris from carpets. It’s easy to rent out one of these machines or buy one for your personal use. Miniature models are quite popular and are perfect for spot treatment of stubborn stains. 

Some of the best steam cleaners include:

Dry powder

If your entire RV carpet is a bit dirty and dusty, you may want to use a dry powder treatment. This doesn’t work for deep-set stains, but it’s a good way to freshen up your carpet and strip away the surface-level dirt that the vacuum doesn’t reach. 

You can use a store-bought dry powder cleaner or mix up your own batch. If you want to use the DIY approach, combine 2 cups of baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1/2 cup cornmeal, and 1 tablespoon of borax (source).

Lightly mist your RV carpet with water and sprinkle this powder over the surface. Gently work it into the fibers with a brush and let it set for 30 minutes. Finally, vacuum up the powder and finish up with a scented spray if you want to get rid of the cleaner smell. 

Laundry detergent, dish soap, and vinegar

If you want to go for a more traditional soap and water combination, you can’t really go wrong with laundry detergent. This soap is designed to strip away dirt and stubborn stains, plus it usually has a pleasant smell. It’s perfect for water-soluble stains that come from:

  • Juice
  • Fruit
  • Alcohol
  • Soda
  • Urine
  • Dairy products
  • Mud/dirt


If you own an RV, chances are good that at least one of these things has stained your carpet before. To remove these stains, combine 1/4 teaspoon of non-bleach laundry detergent with 32 oz. of water. The same ratio of white vinegar to water also works if you don’t want to sacrifice your expensive detergent.

Pour this mixture onto the stained portion of the carpet and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot away the excess moisture and repeat as many times as necessary. 

Another good all-purpose cleaner can be made with common dish soap. Combine 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 quart of warm water. For a little extra kick, you can add 1/4 teaspoon of white vinegar. These cleaners will work for most stains, but some require more specialized care.

Ammonia or bleach

If the stains refuse to budge after you try the previous method, you may need to try something a little harsher. Ammonia or diluted bleach mixtures can be used to treat stubborn water-soluble stains. Use 1 tablespoon ammonia per 1 cup of water or a mixture of 5 parts water and 1 part chlorine bleach (source). Use cold water in these mixtures for maximum effect. 

Just make sure that your carpet coloration won’t be harmed by these substances. Some carpets are safe, while others will become discolored and damaged. Check the details of your carpet manufacturing before you choose this method.

These mixtures are perfect for removing difficult stains that come from:

  • Blood
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Vomit
  • Wine

Scraper and ice

Sometimes a stain can’t be removed by liquid alone. If something hardens in the fibers of your carpet, you need to use a physical tool to remove the worst of it. Common offenders include:

  • Candle wax
  • Gum
  • Chocolate


Ice will harden these substances and make it easier to remove the chunks. Hold an ice cube over the stained area, then use a blunt knife or another scraper to remove the worst of it.

While it’s still hardened, run a vacuum over the site to catch any small chunks. If there’s anything left, you can usually follow up with a dry powder cleaning.

Track your RV maintenance

Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.

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