How To Get Laundry Detergent Out Of Carpet

While laundry detergent is a lovely way to clean your clothes, it is a nasty sticky situation if you spill it anywhere — especially on the carpet!

The soapy laundry detergent will seep into the carpet’s thick fibers, making it a nightmare to get it out!

Now you find yourself in a situation where you need to learn how to get laundry detergent out of carpet.

Don’t fret; we’ve done a little research to help you out. 

Follow the steps below to get that laundry detergent out of your carpet ASAP!

What You Will Need:

Step By Step Instructions For How To Get Laundry Detergent Out Of Carpet

1. Assess The Carpet

Is this carpet a rug that is able to be run through the wash?

If yes, put it in the washing machine with some white vinegar and wash as you usually would.

The vinegar is essential to reduce the amount of suds, especially if you had a large laundry detergent spill.

Too many suds in this circumstance will hinder your attempts to remove the laundry detergent from the carpet.

If the carpet is unable to be removed and put in the washing machine, continue to complete the steps that follow.

2. Remove any Excess Laundry Detergent

On a wet and fresh spill of laundry detergent on a carpet, use paper towels to absorb any of the excess detergent.

Get up as much as you can, but do not rub the laundry detergent into the carpet.

3. Treat With Hot Water

Once you have removed as much excess laundry detergent from the carpet as you can with the paper towel, using a spray bottle, spray the carpet with warm or hot water.

Continue applying the warm water until the carpet feels sudsy when you run your hands through it.

4. Vacuum The Spot

Next, use a wet/dry vacuum to clean up excess water.

The carpet will still be wet even after this step.

Let the carpet sit for a couple of minutes and repeat the vacuuming until most of the laundry detergent is out of the carpet.

Adding Ammonia Solution

Between vacuuming with the wet/dry vacuuming, you can also spray a mix of one tablespoon of ammonia with one cup of cold water.

We recommend using Austin’s Lemon Scented Ammonia, which gets great reviews on Amazon and will give a refreshing lemon scent to your carpet and room.

Let it sit and then resume using the wet/dry vacuum.

5. Use Towels To Soak Up Laundry Detergent

As the carpet is still wet, use some dry towels to soak up some of the extra laundry detergent from the carpet.

I like to use these microfiber cleaning cloths because of how easy they are to squeeze clean and reuse.

6. Steam Clean Method (For Old Set In Stains)

Rent a steam cleaner and fill the machine with the cleaning solution it comes with.

If it doesn’t come with a cleaning solution, try Carpet Miracle – The Best Carpet Cleaner Shampoo Solution for Machine Use.

It gets excellent reviews on Amazon and won’t break the bank if you have to go with the steam cleaner route.

Run the steam cleaner over the stained spot in the carpet.

Continue cleaning with the steam cleaner until the carpet begins to feel like normal carpet texture. You should feel no suds. 

Optional White Vinegar Solution

If you choose, you can also add a solution of white vinegar and water to the steam cleaner’s tank once the suds are gone.

This can be used as a final rinse. 

7. Pour Salt Over the Stain

If you are still noticing there are some suds in the carpet fibers, you can pour table salt over the stain.

Leave the salt on the spill for an hour.

Take a cloth and pull up the solid salt.

Pour warm water over the stain and press down to ensure there are no more suds.

Blot with the towel and let the carpet dry. 

8. Contact Professional

If you still are unable to get all the laundry detergent from your carpet, get in contact with a professional carpet cleaning professional.

These companies will have more advanced steam cleaners and cleaning solutions to address the problem better if the above steps do not work. 

Video Instructions

If you are still not 100% sure on how to remove laundry detergent from carpet, specifically the salt method, follow this video tutorial to lend you some clarity:

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I use ammonia to clean the laundry detergent out of the carpet?

You can, but you need to check if your laundry detergent contains bleach.

If your laundry detergent contains bleach, omit any steps or solutions that include ammonia, as it is dangerous to mix the two. 

Can I use a cleaning solution in the wet/dry vacuum and steam cleaner, or will that cause more suds?

Yes, you can certainly use a cleaning solution, but you will need to pay attention to ensure that the amount of suds are not increasing.

Also, empty the tank more often as the suds may spill out and make their way back onto the carpet.

Can I use white vinegar to treat the laundry detergent spill?

Avoid using white vinegar on the laundry detergent itself.

Once a majority of the laundry detergent is out of the carpet, you can use white vinegar with water as a rinse.

Can I use cold water?

Coldwater will create fewer suds and, at times, may work better to remove the detergent’s residue.

Warm water will work best when initially treating the carpet to separate the detergent from the fibers of the carpet. 

What do I do for any laundry detergent stains that are old and dried?

If the laundry detergent has dried on the carpet, there are different steps you can take.

First, you can attempt to scrape up the old spill with a plastic scraper.

This way, you can remove a majority of the laundry detergent.

Next, you will re-wet the stain with a damp cloth.

Once you have done this, you can complete the steps above to remove the laundry detergent stain from your carpet.

If you’ve ever run into detergent stains on your clothing, check out our related article on how to remove laundry detergent stains from clothes.


Have you enjoyed learning how to get laundry detergent out of carpet?

Spilling any amount of laundry detergent can be very frustrating due to its soapy nature, but that frustration gets compounded once you spill laundry detergent onto your carpet. 

When that happens, make sure you follow the correct steps and use the proper cleaning agents to get that laundry detergent out of the carpet!