I am a mom of two small boys who behave and play exactly how stereotypical small boys play. In a word, they are messy! I’m talking grass stains, sweat stains, sandy pockets, and muddy shoes on a regular basis. I am glad that my boys like to play hard, but I am equally glad that I know how to get mud out of carpet.
If you are also battling mud stains in your home due to active kids, pets, or others, keep reading for the best ways to get mud stains out of carpet and upholstery.
How to Get Mud Out of Carpet
Let it Dry
It is true for just about every type of stain that you will have the best results when you tackle the stain as soon as it occurs. One exception to this rule is mud. With a mud stain, it’s best to wait for the mud to dry first then tackle the stain.
If you add a carpet cleaning solution to wet mud, then you run the risk of helping that mud penetrate further into carpet or upholstery fibers. By leaving the mud alone until it’s dry, you have a better chance of that mud remaining on the surface of your carpet.
Once the mud is dry, now it’s time to scrape, loosen and vacuum as much dirt as possible. Use your hands to pick up any dry clumps of dirt from the surface of your carpet. Follow up with a soft brush (like a clothes brush) to loosen the dirt that remains.
Once the dirt is loose, grab a high powered vacuum to suck away as much dirt from your carpet as possible.
Treat Mud Stains
Once the mud is dry and you have removed as much dirt as possible, it’s time to treat whatever stain is left behind. There are a number of methods to choose from when treating mud stains, below are three of the most effective.
Remove Mud Stains with Detergent
The type of detergent you choose to treat mud stains on your carpet is up to you. You can opt for a commercial carpet cleaner or make your own solution by mixing one of the below detergents with 1-2 cups of water:
- Liquid laundry detergent: ⅛ tsp per 2 cups water
- Liquid dish soap: ⅛ tsp per 2 cups water
- Powdered laundry detergent: ⅛ tsp per 2 cups water
Apply your stain removal solution to the mud stain with a white cleaning cloth (do not risk dye transfer from a colorful cloth!). Dab or scrub gently then repeat until the stain lifts.
Once you remove the stain, follow up by blotting the area with a cloth dipped in clean water until all of the detergent has been lifted as well.
Lastly, blot the area with a dry cloth until as much moisture has been removed as possible.
Remove Mud Stains with Vinegar
Mix equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Give the bottle a good shake before spraying it on the mud stain. Using a white cleaning cloth, blot at the mud stain. Repeat until the mud stain starts to lift.
Next, blot the area with a clean cloth dipped in water until any remaining vinegar has lifted from the carpet as well.
Finish by blotting with a dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible.
Remove Mud Stains with a Steam Cleaner
Perhaps the most effective way to remove mud stains is with a carpet and upholstery steam cleaner. These handy machines use the power of steam to lift tough stains from fabric that is otherwise tricky to clean. You can use a steam cleaner to spot clean stains or to clean entire rugs and upholstered pieces of furniture.
If you are curious, here is my list of the best carpet and upholstery steam cleaners on the market.
How to Prevent Mud Stains
Now that we have established the most effective ways to remove mud from carpet, let’s talk about how to prevent mud stains from happening in the first place.
Invest in a Boot Scraper
If muddy shoes are a constant battle for you then consider a boot scraper. Boot scrapers are not to be confused with doormats. A doormat is best for brushing off dry mud or dirt. A boot scraper is great for removing most of the “muck” from the bottom of shoes or boots.
Boot scrapers tend to have extremely stiff fibers designed to remove dirt and mud from the bottom and sides of your boots or shoes. They are not designed to be walked on like a flat doormat, but they can be set alongside a doormat for use on particularly muddy days. If you’re considering one, here is a list of the best boot scrapers and boot brushes on the market.
Clean Your Doormat
If you want your doormat to help mitigate the amount of dirt or mud that enters your house, then it’s important to keep your doormat clean. A dirty doormat can actually do the opposite for you!
Take the time to shake out your doormat once a week. If you can, drape it over a fence so you can hit it with a broom or other tool that will help shake dirt and dust loose from the fibers of your mat. Once you shake away loose dirt, give it a rinse with your hose and let it hang in the sun until it’s dry.
Shoes off Policy
Perhaps the most effective way to mitigate mud stains is to enforce a shoes off indoors policy. Offer guests a place to sit to remove their shoes, as well as a clear shoe storage solution near your front door. These serve as signs to guests that your family doesn’t wear shoes inside of your home.
It might also be helpful to install hooks or set up a coat rack in your entry so your family and your guests have a place to hang wet, muddy outerwear before sitting on your furniture.