How to Remove Stains Like the Experts

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When it comes to stain removers, and the best way to go about removing stains, the list is pretty much endless. Grape juice, pet accidents, motor oil, mud; we could go on and on. That means that how to get a stain out is a tough question to answer. We get asked all the time how to remove stains, what is the best stain remover for carpet, or how to remove set-in stains, and we usually start with the question: Do you have any idea what kind of stain it is? If not, that’s fine. We can help with that too. But there are also some common messes we think everyone should know how to clean up, so we’re sharing tips on how to get a stain out for three pretty popular messes.

Pet Messes

Pet stain removal tips for carpet and upholstery is one of our most-asked about topics. Like most stains, pet stains come in all shapes and sizes, so the best stain remover really depends on the type of mess. Take pet urine, for example. One of the biggest concerns with this stain is the odor and the potential for remarking. BISSELL Chemists recommend using enzyme-based products like Pet Stain Pretreat for Carpet and Upholstery. The enzyme action found in these types of cleaners is like the healthy probiotics found in some types of yogurt – they help “eat” the microscopic particles that make up the stain. Once the spray is released from the bottle, the probiotics are activated and begin working. If kept moist, they’ll continue to multiply and remove the stain until it’s gone. That’s why keeping a moist towel on the stain and giving it plenty of time to work will ensure that the stain is thoroughly removed. Here are all the stain removal steps you should take:

  • Test the formula on a hidden area of carpet/upholstery for colorfastness. Tip: BISSELL products can be used on fabrics coded “WS” or “W”. However, if they’re coded “X” or “S”, don’t use the formula because those fabrics are delicate and any cleaning could damage them.
  • If the stain has solid pieces or a lot of liquid, pick up what you can and use a clean cloth or towel to blot excess liquid.
  • Spray the stain with your pet stain remover. Use a cloth or sponge to work the formula into the stain using light strokes starting at the edges and working towards the middle. Do NOT rub the stain. When you get to the middle, lightly pinch it in an upward motion. Wait 5 minutes and the stain should disappear.
  • For best results, you can cover the stain with a damp cloth for 12-72 hours to allow the formula to work.
  • When that time is up, remove the cloth. If the area is still damp, continue to let it air dry. Once the area is completely dry, vacuum the stain and the surrounding carpet. Then sit back and enjoy your stain-free carpet or upholstery!

Red Wine

A red wine spill on the carpet or couch can easily ruin any party, unless you have the right stain removal spray on hand. BISSELL has a lot of products that are proven to remove tough stains, like red wine. BISSELL chemists recommend using oxygen-based products to clean up this party foul. Woolite® Instaclean™ Pet Stain Remover and Power Shot Oxy Spot & Stain for Carpet & Area Rugs are two great options for tough stain removers, because they work quickly to remove spots and stains all the way, deep down to the backing of carpet or wherever the stain happened. When using either, just follow these simple spot and stain remover steps:

  • Always test the area you’re planning to clean for colorfastness.
  • Use a clean cloth to blot up any wine you can.
  • Use the stain remover spray on the spot and on a wide area around it. A carpet stain is like an iceberg. You can just see a small part of the top. Once liquid hits the carpet backer, it spreads quickly to the surrounding backer. This is what causes stains, that you thought were cleaned up, to come back to the surface a few months later. Mystery stains explained! Saturate the carpet fibers so that the stain remover spray seeps down to the backer. But you don’t need to use so much that there is excess liquid sitting on top of the carpet.
  • Work the formula into the stain with a cloth or sponge. Use light strokes from the edges of the stain to the center. Don’t rub the stain. When you get to the center, lightly pinch in an upward motion.
  • Let formula sit for 5 minutes before blotting up any excess liquid. The formula will continue to work on the wine stain for 24 hours after application.


Chocolate is a pretty tricky stain to remove as well. Not just because it’s dark, but it also melts very easily, and that means it can spread quickly. BISSELL chemists recommend using oxygen-based products to remove chocolate stains, but they also have a DIY stain removal spray to deal with these stains. Here’s a great at-home solution and how to make it:

  • Blot the area with a clean, dry towel
  • Add a little bit of cold water and blot a few more times.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon of dishwashing detergent into 1 cup of lukewarm water into a spray bottle.
  • Spray the chocolate stain with the solution you just made.
  • Gently work the solution into the stain with a small brush or cloth.
  • Use light strokes starting at the edges of the stain. Work your way to the center and lightly pinch upward. Do NOT rub the stain.
  • Rinse out the spray bottle and fill it with lukewarm water.
  • Spray the area lightly with water and blot it up.
  • Keep spraying with water and blotting it up until the stain is gone.
  • If the stain remains, put a little bit of 3% hydrogen peroxide on a clean cloth and blot it with the same strokes described in step 6. Repeat until the stain is removed.

Looking for additional information on how to remove stains? Our team compiled tips and tricks on how to remove set in stains for some of the toughest stains you may encounter, and they give you three ideas on how to remove each stain! You’ll find steps for carpet stain removal, using carpet cleaning machines, home remedies and BISSELL stain removers. You can find that interactive Stain Removal Guide here. Happy cleaning!

*Don’t use BISSELL products on velvet, silk, vinyl, or leather upholstery.