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How to clean brown stains after carpet cleaning

Updated February 21, 2017

You may notice brown stains on your carpet after a thorough carpet cleaning. These stains occur if there is too much cleaning solution and water used during the cleaning process. Another reason these brown stains occur is that dirt that is usually deep down in the carpet resurfaces as the carpet dries. This is called wicking. If these problems occur, clean the areas again with as little water as necessary.

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  1. Purchase a low pH acid cleaner from a janitorial supply store. You need a low pH acid cleaner of about 2.0 to safely remove the brown discolouration from your carpet.

  2. Use a wet vacuum to suck up the water and cleaning solution left behind from the previous carpet cleaning. If the spots are dry, skip this step and move on to Step 3.

  3. Spray the low pH acid cleaner on the brown spots. Do not over-spray; you do not want to over-wet the affected area again.

  4. Scrub the area with a cleaning brush to get the cleaning solution deep down into the carpet fibres.

  5. Blot the stain with paper towels to absorb excess cleaning solution on the carpet surface. Repeat this process until you can no longer see the brown stain.

  6. Remove any excess moisture using a wet vacuum.

  7. Use a box fan to expedite the drying process. Point the fan toward the affected area. The brown stain was due to over-wetting, so thoroughly drying the area is important.

  8. Tip

    Before using a low pH acid-cleaning product, read and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Some cleaning solutions require a clean water rinse after use.


    Some cleaning products can ruin your carpet. Test the cleaning solution on a small portion of the carpet before using it to be sure the cleaning product will not harm your carpet.

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Things You'll Need

  • Low pH acid cleaner
  • Cleaning brush
  • Wet vacuum
  • Paper towels
  • Box fan

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