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How to Get a Ketchup Stain Out of Carpet

Written by Kaylee Barber |

how to get ketchup out of carpet

Does your carpet have a ketchup stain that you’re struggling to remove? Here’s a simple cleaning method for removing ketchup stains without damaging your carpet’s fibres.

How to Remove a Ketchup Stain From Carpet

Removing ketchup stains is usually straightforward if you know the right method. While there are multiple options, we prefer to use a combination of washing up liquid and water.

Step 1: Remove Any Excess Ketchup

Before you start cleaning the stain, it’s important to remove as much of the ketchup as possible. The longer the ketchup is allowed to set in the carpet, the harder it’ll be to remove any trace of the stain.

An easy way to remove the excess ketchup is with a plastic knife or a spoon. Use the tool to gently get underneath the ketchup and lift it up, rather than spreading it like butter on toast!

Be gentle with the carpet, don’t push the ketchup down into the fibres, and avoid pushing the ketchup around, as this will increase the size of the stain. Make sure you have a bowl or plate nearby to deposit the ketchup without dropping it on the floor.

Tip: If you’re treating an old stain then you can skip this step, as there likely isn’t any excess ketchup to remove.

Step 2: Blot the Remaining Ketchup

If the stain is new, then you’ll also want to blot up as much of the remaining liquid as possible.

You can do this with a clean white cloth or a paper towel. Carefully blot the wet ketchup (don’t rub the carpet) starting from the outside and working your way inwards. Repeat until there’s no more ketchup coming away on the cloth or paper towel.

For dry stains that have been there a while, we recommend vacuuming the area to remove any loose or dried debris.

Tip: Blotting means gently pressing the cloth onto the stain, letting it soak up the liquid, and removing it, before moving to the next part of the stain. It’s different from rubbing the stain, which can spread the ketchup and push the stain deeper into carpet fibres.

Step 3: Clean the Stain With Diluted Washing Up Liquid

Washing up liquid is a brilliant tool for cleaning carpet stains – especially as most people already have it in their cupboard.

  • Mix a tablespoon of washing up liquid with 500ml of cold water.
  • Use a fresh clean cloth to sponge the washing up solution onto the stain.
  • Allow the washing up solution a few minutes to sit in the carpet. For stubborn stains, you may need to wait up to 15 minutes.
  • Blot up the cleaning solution with a clean cloth. This removes both the washing up liquid solution and ketchup that’s been pulled out of the carpet fibres.

Important: Make sure you always test new cleaning products for discolouration on a small patch of inconspicuous carpet before using it on a larger area.

Step 4: Repeat Until the Stain Has Been Removed

For light stains, a single application of cleaning solution may be enough. But for more stubborn stains you’ll probably need to repeat step three multiple times.

You’ll know when this technique has reached its limit when either the stain isn’t visible or ketchup is no longer being absorbed by the clean cloth.

As we mentioned, make sure you’re always blotting rather than rubbing at the stain. Repeatedly rubbing a patch of carpet fibres can cause damage and discolouration.

Step 5: Rinse With Cold Water

As a final cleaning step, use another clean cloth to gently sponge the previously stained area with cold water. Then use a dry cloth to blot the area dry.

This removes any remaining washing up liquid and leaves the area clean. Make sure you blot up as much of the water as possible, however, as you don’t want to cause a damp or musty smell from the carpet.

Step 6: Allow to Fully Air Dry

Once the stain has been removed and you’ve blotted up any excess liquid, the area should be allowed time to fully air dry before you place any furniture or rugs back on it. You should also try to avoid walking on the area during this time.

When the patch of carpet has dried, vacuum the area using a vac with a brush bar to restore the carpet fibres back to their previous fluffy appearance. This also removes any remaining loose debris that might have been left in the carpet.

What Should You Do if Washing Up Liquid Doesn’t Remove the Stain?

Washing up liquid and water may not be enough to remove all of the stain – particularly if it’s an old ketchup stain that has had time to set.

In this case you could try using a shop-bought carpet cleaner. As always, test this on a small hidden patch of carpet before using it on the stain, as you don’t want to accidentally discolour your carpet’s fibres.

For particularly stubborn stains, you may need to hire a carpet cleaning machine or contact a professional carpet cleaner.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Possible to Remove Ketchup Stains?

Yes, it’s often possible to remove ketchup stains from carpet. The faster you remove the stain and clean the area, the greater the chance of success.

If the ketchup has had time to set, then you may need a stronger cleaning product than washing up liquid.

How Can I Remove Glue Stains?

Glue stains are tricky to remove, but you can usually get rid of them with an acetone-based cleaner. Read our guide to cleaning glue from carpets to learn more.


Ketchup stains in carpet can be difficult to remove, but a combination of washing up liquid and water can often do the trick. As with all stains, cleaning ketchup stains quickly after they happen greatly increases the chances of success.

If DIY methods fail to work, then you may need to hire a carpet cleaning machine or contact a professional carpet cleaner. A carpet cleaning machine is much more effective at deep cleaning fibres and removing stains.

Do you have any questions about how to get a ketchup stain out of carpet? Please let us know in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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