Molly's Blog of Cleaning Tips, Ideas and Strategies

How To Remove Tar From Your Carpet

On a hot summer's day, the road surface and pavement outside your house can begin to melt.  Although the smell of hot tar is always evocative of summertime, the end result can be a sticky mess of tar trodden into your carpet from someone's shoes!  Fortunately, you can get rid of tar stains from your carpet relatively quickly and easily using products you'll already have in your kitchen cupboards.  Read on to find out how.

What you'll need

  • washing-up liquid
  • carpet cleaning solution
  • clean, colourfast cloths
  • paper towels

How to do it

The key to getting rid of any stain on your carpet is to act quickly.  You've a much better chance of removing tar residue from your carpet if it's fresh and before it's had a chance to dry out or soak too deeply into the carpet fibres.

  1. Use a clean cloth to blot up as much of the tar as you can.  Don't rub it as this can push the residue down into the carpet pile and cause the stain to spread out.  
  2. Run the vacuum cleaner over the area to pick up any particles of grit that are adhering to the sticky tar.  
  3. Make up a mild solution of washing-up liquid and warm water, and apply it directly to the stain using a clean cloth.  Work from the outside of the stain towards the middle.  This ensures that you don't cause the stain to spread further.  
  4. Rinse with cold water, and blot the area thoroughly using paper towels.   
  5. Next apply a small amount of a proprietary carpet cleaning solution to the stain, and allow it to soak in for a few minutes.  Blot the stain using paper towels to remove any excess product and soak up the tar residue.  It may be necessary to repeat this step a few times until the stain has completely disappeared.  
  6. Rinse the area again with cold water, and blot the stain thoroughly using paper towels.  
  7. Place a pile of paper towels over the damp area, weigh them down and leave them in place overnight to soak up any remaining moisture from the carpet.  
  8. The following day, run your vacuum cleaner over the area to lift the carpet pile.

This method should remove a tar stain from your carpet.  However, if the stain is old or proves particularly stubborn, contact your local carpet cleaning contractor.  A professional carpet cleaning firm will have access to industrial-strength cleaning products that should get even the most entrenched marks off your carpets.