The prospect of getting red Kool Aid stains out of carpet can be a nightmare for individuals with light colored carpets and accident-prone children. Fortunately, some simple tricks can help you remove Kool Aid stains effectively, preserving your carpet's color.
Carpets and Red Kool Aid
The dye in cherry, strawberry, fruit punch, and other red flavors of Kool Aid is a strong, bold shade that can stain fabrics and carpets very quickly. These stains can be especially difficult to remove from carpet where the Kool Aid has soaked in, staining fibers below the surface. It is possible to remove the stains, however, but it will require both patience and perseverance to completely eliminate the stain.
Instructions to Remove Red Kool Aid Stains From Carpet
A Kool Aid spill does not have to be disastrous for your carpet. When a spill occurs, use a white towel or paper towels right away to blot up as much of the Kool Aid as possible to minimize the spread of the stain. If you have a Shop Vac or wet vacuum, go over the spill area several times to remove as much Kool Aid as possible. This will not remove the stain completely, but it will minimize the damage so you can clean it more effectively.
To remove a red Kool Aid stain…
- Mix two cups of warm water with 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap. If you prefer not to use soap, plain warm water or a solution of 2 cups warm water and 2 cups ammonia can also be effective.
- Dampen the stained area of the carpet with your homemade cleaning solution. You do not want to completely soak the carpet, but it should be noticeably damp. If it is too wet, the fibers can become matted and the stain can spread.
- Lay a white towel or sheet over the stain, covering it completely. You may need several towels available in order to remove the stain completely.
- Use a clothes iron on low heat and press it lightly on top of the towel. Do not press down or you can damage or burn your carpet.
- Check the underside of the towel after a minute or two. It should be turning pink or red as the iron's heat breaks down the dye bonds and the stain wicks up through the carpet (this is why you need to use white or light colored towels).
- Rearrange the towel or use a fresh one as necessary to keep a clean part of the towel over the stain. Repeat this process until no more color is showing on the towel even after the iron has been applied. If the carpet is drying out, dampen it again and continue applying the iron.
- When no more color is coming up onto the towel, use another fresh towel and rub the area briskly to restore the carpet's fluff.
- Vacuum the entire area and stay off the damp area until it is completely dry.
While this technique can be effective for removing Kool Aid stains on carpet and upholstery, it may take several tries to completely eliminate the stain. Patience is important, because rushing the cleaning by increasing the heat or pressing the iron hard onto the carpet can cause damage and discoloration.
While using a simple cleaning solution and a warm iron can be effective against many red Kool Aid stains, how easily the stain is removed depends on the size of the spill, the strength of the Kool Aid, and the texture and depth of the carpet. These other carpet cleaning tricks may also be useful:
- Blot the stain with club soda to break down the dye bonds for easier removal.
- Soak a fresh, wet stain with salt to absorb the liquid, then vacuum the area before cleaning.
- Use heavy carpet cleaning chemicals only as a last resort; many will be ineffective against red Kool Aid stains.
Other Red Dyes
Not only can a simple cleaning solution and a warm iron work for removing Kool Aid stains, but the same technique can be used for any foods that contain strong red food coloring, such as:
- Popsicles or other frozen treats
- Frosting, icing, or sprinkles
- Jell-O or gelatin desserts
- Other red dyed drinks and juices
It does not matter if the stain is fresh or dried; the same technique can be used to lift the color out of carpet. A dried stain may take more time to remove, but the technique does not change.
Avoiding Kool Aid Stains
The best way to remove red Kool Aid stains is to avoid having spills in the first place. To minimize the risk of a Kool Aid stain:
- Make it a household rule that Kool Aid and similar drinks are not to be taken onto carpeted areas.
- Use cups with lids for young children so any spills will be minimized if they do drop or tip the cup.
- Avoid overfilling cups so they will be easier and safer to drink from without spills.
- Keep clean rags under couch or chair cushions so you will have materials nearby to blot a stain immediately if a spill occurs.
It can be time consuming to get red Kool Aid stains out of carpet, but it is not impossible. With just a few simple household items and the patience to use them as long as necessary, you can remove the stains and restore your carpet's non-red color.