How to Get Common Yellow Stains Out of Carpet

No matter how much you try, you can't always avoid yellow carpet stains. So, what causes the yellow stains on carpet and rugs?

  • Everyday carpet stains
  • Photo oxidation
  • Smoking
  • Chemical yellowing
  • Household products
  • Carpet wicking
  • Bleaching agents

We shall cover the causes of yellow carpet staining and, most importantly, how to fix them.

mysterious yellow stain on carpet from dog urine or other household spill

What Causes Yellow Carpet Stains?

There are varying causes of yellow stains, including smoking, carpet wicking, photo-oxidation, everyday carpet stains, chemical yellowing, household products, loom oil, and bleaching agents.

Everyday Yellow Carpet Stains

Under high traffic, stains such as pet urine and feces, dust, vomit, debris, and bile can cause yellow stains in your home and are extremely difficult to remove.

Photo Oxidation

Too much exposure to atmospheric fumes and sunlight causes carpets to turn yellow, especially those with yellow dyes. The yellow tint gets exposed while other colors fade. This is why it's really important to apply carpet protector every time after you have your carpets cleaned.


Cigarettes contain nicotine and sticky tar, which causes carpet (teeth and finger) stains. Removing nicotine stains by yourself could damage carpets, as they're challenging to remove.

Chemical Yellowing

Chemicals with a high pH or alkaline detergents react with carpet fibers' composition, resulting in chemical yellowing that causes yellow stains after carpet cleaning, for example.

Furniture sitting on carpets containing butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) blocks breathing due to a lack of oxygen in the carpet fibers, causing yellow carpet stains. BHT is a slow-evaporating preservative used in rebound pads and other plastics.

Most yellow stains on carpets under throw rugs, low-lying furniture, and closets result from poor air circulation. This is a common winter problem for homes using gas heat or fossil oil. Most new carpets don't have BHT, as manufacturers have stopped using it.

Yarn Lubricant, Mill Oil, and Loom Oil

Tufting machines use lubricants called loom oil. Loom oil sometimes gets into the carpet's face during the tufting process. Since manufacturers don't die solution-dyed fibers, mill oil isn't rinsed out, causing yellowing.

Close up of a glass jar of mustard with a mug of yellow beer in the background

Household Products

Insecticides, furniture polish, and household products, such as cooking oil, turmeric, beer, bleaches, coffee, curry, mustard, and indoor fertilizers that contain benzoyl peroxide, cause yellow stains on carpets.

Bleaching Agents

Applying acne medicine and chlorine bleach strips the red and blue dye from carpets, exposing the yellow one.

Carpet Wicking

If the carpet turned yellow after carpet cleaning, the dirt and moisture underneath must have moved up the carpet fibers (carpet wicking), resulting in the reappearance of the yellow stain after the carpet dries. In only a few minutes, you can learn how to get rid of wicking stains on carpets from our easy-to-follow guide.

How to Get Yellow Stains Out of Carpet

There are various ways of getting the yellow stains out of the carpet (and other surfaces, as discussed in our carpet spotting guide), including:

  • Professional deep cleaning
  • DIY cleaning
  • Carpet dying
  • Exposure to sunlight

Method #1: DIY Carpet Cleaning

You can clean the carpet all by yourself to get the yellow stains out of the carpet.

Here's what you need to clean it.

  • Water
  • Vacuum
  • Spray bottle
  • Ammonia
  • Paper towels
  • Soft scrub brush
  • Mild dish soap
  • Soft cotton cloth
  • Gloves

Determining your carpet type is paramount because it determines whether to use mild soap or ammonia. You should use mild soap and water to clean wool carpets and ammonia and water for non-wool carpets. Follow the following steps to get yellow stains out of the carpet:

Step #1: Make the Solution (Non-Woolen Carpets)

Wear gloves. Add 1 tbs of ammonia to 1 cup of clean water. Put the solution in a spray bottle, shake it, and directly spray it on the yellow stain.

Use your fingers to ensure the solution penetrates the carpet fibers to remove the stain.

Wool or Wool Blend Carpet Solution

Put 1 tbs of mild dish soap and 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the stained area to make it wet, not soaked.

Wear your gloves and use your hands to work in the solution to remove the stain.

Step #2: Scrub Gently

Use a circular motion to gently scrub to prevent the stain from spreading to other areas. Dab the excess solution using at least 2 - 3 paper towels laid over each other and firmly press the carpet downwards to soak up all the stain removal solution.

Step #3: Dry and Vacuum

Wait a few hours for the cleaned area to air dry. Clean and dry your hands, then check if the carpet is completely dry. Vacuum the previously stained area if it is dry.

Method #2: Carpet Dye

Treating an old yellow stain is difficult, mainly if it the result of photo-oxidation. You can dye the carpet to permanently fix the discoloration. Avoid lighter colors when dyeing the carpet; a darker or matching dye gives excellent results.

Avoid exposing your carpet to direct sunlight after dying and consider applying a Premium Fiber Protector to your carpet.

A Zerorez Zr Wand cleaning up a yellow stain on white carpet

Method #3: Professional Deep Cleaning

How you fix the yellow stain is determined by what caused it, so it's a good idea to call in the experts. Commercial carpet cleaning tools and solutions are more powerful than what you use at home, guaranteeing great results quickly.

Zerorez® has been in the cleaning industry for a long time, and they have the expertise and equipment to fix carpet yellowing.

Zerorez uses a proprietary hot water extraction carpet cleaning method to remove chemical residue and dirt trapped under the carpet fibers. You can schedule a service online at any time.

Method #4: Exposure to Sunlight

Ironically, the same sunlight that can cause yellowing can also reverses the problem. This is only ideal if the carpet yellow stains can be lightened by the sunlight, like is common with yellow stains caused by organic matter like pet urine or food spills.

Exposing the carpet to direct sunlight has one major disadvantage: It can also worsen the stain if you expose it to direct sunlight for an extended time.

But if it's the only option remaining, keep the carpet under direct sunlight for a limited time. Keep monitoring the carpet so that if you notice that it is beginning to get worse, you can take it indoors.

Close up of the front of Zerorez Zr Wand cleaning a white carpet

Do You Need Help Removing Yellow Stains?

Yellow carpet stains are a common problem in most households. Getting the yellow stain out of carpets isn't as easy as 1,2,3!

Some yellow stains take hours to remove or won't come off at all if you don't have the necessary tools and equipment, and sadly some may be permanent.

Zerorez, the Experts in the Science of Clean™ guarantees excellent carpet cleaning results.

Why risk damaging your carpet or wasting your resources on cheap store-bought detergents that may not work while Zerorez is only a call away? Get professional help by calling us at 866-937-6739.

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez Today!