Carpets are a wonderful addition to any space, they make us feel warm and cosy but any unsightly stains or unpleasant odours can ruin the feel of your home. Water damaged carpets can be tricky to deal with, when water is spilt onto a carpet it lifts unseen dirt and grime to the top along with sediments in the water and it leaves a stain behind as it dries.

The first thing you should do when planning to remove a water stain is to find the source of the leak – a spilled drink is easy to deal with, contaminated water from flooding or sewage leaks is not so easy. If that is the case or you suspect mould is growing in your carpet, you should contact a professional carpet cleaner instead of attempting it yourself.

How can I tell if my carpet is moulding?

Mould can grow underneath your carpets incredibly quickly – it can grow and spread within 24-48 hours given a warm, moist environment such as a wet carpet. If left to fester, mould can cause serious health and respiratory issues due to the spores it releases so it should be dealt with as rapidly as possible.

 So you think you might have mould – how can you tell?

  • Look for circular patches of brown, green and black on the carpet
  • A musty, unpleasant smell emitting from the carpet or room
  • Check for moist patches on the carpet in the suspected areas
  • Use a mould testing kit in your home – they can be purchased at most home improvement/DIY stores

Most importantly, if you find mould underneath your carpets you should open a window to air out the spores and contact a professional if you are unsure how to proceed. Depending on the extent of the mould growth, your carpet may need to be stripped out and replaced.

Can I remove water stains myself?

Water stains can be dealt with using home remedies, depending on the severity of the damage.

  • You must act quickly to prevent the water from spreading, setting and eventually growing mould
  • Dab the area with a towel or cloth to soak up as much water as possible, do not rub the area as this can cause the water to spread
  • If the water damage affects a large area or was caused by flooding, use a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air inside your home and hinder mould growth
  • Using a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, apply a small amount to the stain and dab the mixture in until the stain starts to lift. Vinegar is great at freshening and lifting odours.
  • Alternatively, you can use a mixture of water and a teaspoon of detergent to dab the stain Be careful using detergent as it can lift the colour from carpets and leave light spots or marks
  • Use a clean, damp cloth and gently press the stain in order to remove any residual vinegar/detergents
  • Leave the carpet to dry naturally, once fully dried your water stain should disappear

You can also sprinkle a thin layer of baking powder soda over the stain before applying your mixture as this can help with breaking up the stain and leaving your carpet smelling fresh.

Remember to only use small amounts of the mixture at a time, avoid saturating your carpet and always test the mixture on an inconspicuous area of carpet to make sure it doesn’t cause any lasting damage or marks.


With any luck, these remedies will help you remove carpet stains caused by water damage without further issue and your carpet will be restored to its former glory. If the stain persists or is particularly difficult to remove, contact a professional for advice. If the damage was caused by flooding or plumbing issues, contact a professional team such as XL Cleaners for a full inspection and service.

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