coal on carpet

How to Get Coal Out of the Carpet

Sitting in front of a roaring coal fire on a cold winter’s night is idyllic. That is until some coal magically finds its way onto a stretch of carpet!

Coal can leave an unsightly mess on a carpet, particularly a light-coloured one.

So, how do you get rid of coal from a carpet? Simple. With a little elbow grease, a dash of patience and by reading on, you can discover how to get coal out of a carpet.

Follow the steps below to remove coal from your carpet. Keep in mind that you should always test your chosen cleaning tool(s) out before you use them to clean an entire surface.

Coal stains can be removed, but to remove them you often need patience and elbow grease.

Removing coal from a carpet can often be a testing time, and at times it may seem like the mess will never go away. But if you work through the steps above slowly, and you don’t rush and brush the coal deeper into the carpet’s fibres, you should be able to rescue your carpet!


How to Get Coal Out of the Carpet

Step 1: Make sure nobody steps on it

stepping on carpet stain

Do not walk over the area because you’ll push the coal deeper into your carpet’s fibres. As a result, the coal may be harder to remove. 

So, make sure nobody steps on the area of carpet with coal on it. If you can, keep everyone out of the room while you’re cleaning, pets included!


Step 2: Vacuum clean the area

vacuum on crevice tool to clean carpet

Grab your vacuum cleaner and take off its brush head. Either pop the crevice tool on or just use the pipe itself to suck up the loose coal from the carpet.

Don’t drag the pipe/crevice tool along the carpet because you’ll just stuff the coal deeper into the carpet’s fibres. Instead, hold the vacuum cleaner’s pipe/crevice tool a centimetre or two away from the carpet and suck up the coal like this.

Try and gather up as much loose coal as you can as this will make your cleaning task a lot easier.


Step 3: Blot the stain

blotting carpet stain

In a bowl mix a tablespoon of washing up liquid with two cups of cold water. Dip a white cloth into the water, wring it out, and start blotting at the coal stain.

A white cloth is preferred as there’s less chance of you dying your carpet in the treatment process. You’ll also be able to see how much dirt you’re picking up.

Repeat this process until the entire stain has been lifted away. And remember to use a new, clean patch of cloth each time you blot. This will stop you from putting dirt back onto the treated area.

When the stain has gone grab a new clean cloth, soak it in water, wring it out, and then dab the treated area with the damp cloth to remove any soapy residue. If the carpet is free from coal, you can leave it to dry (move on to Step 6).

If not, move on to Step 4.


Step 4: Apply an absorbent if needed

bicarbonate of soda on carpet

Sprinkle the coal-stained area with bicarbonate of soda and it will absorb the stain.

You’ll need to spread the bicarb over the entire stain and leave it to dry, which could take a few hours, depending on how wet the carpet is and how big the stain is. When the bicarb has dried you can hoover the carpet.

You may need to repeat the process above a few times to remove all of the coal.

Tip: As an alternative to bicarb, you can use another absorbent like baby powder. Apply the powder in exactly the same way, wait until it dries, and hoover it away.

When you’re done inspect your carpet, and if it is free from coal you can move onto the drying phase (move on to Step 6). If not, move on to Step 5.


Step 5: Apply a stronger chemical if needed

carpet stain cleaners

If you’ve still got a coal stain and you’ve tried all of the above it might be time to turn to a tougher product: Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol.

Note: There’s a chance that these products may discolour or cause some damage to your carpet. Use with caution.

Hydrogen peroxide

Pop some protective gear on. Then in a bowl mix half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water.

Dip a clean, white cloth into the solution and wring it out slightly. Take the cloth over to the coal stain and blot at it with the damp cloth.

The area should be completely covered in the solution.

Leave the solution to sit on the carpet for about 10 minutes. Then grab a clean damp cloth that’s been soaked in fresh clean water, and start blotting the area clean.

Check to see if the stain is being lifted away from the carpet. You should see the cloth changing colour.

If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to add some more solution to the area. So, dip your original cloth in the water/hydrogen peroxide mix, wring it out slightly and start blotting the stained area again.

You’ll need to re-rinse the area and keep blotting until the stain is gone. When you’re done, you can move onto Step 6.

Rubbing alcohol

Make sure you’re wearing protective gear before you start working with this product.

Tip some neat rubbing alcohol onto a clean white cloth, then start bloating at the coal stain with this cloth. Continue to do this until the entire stain is covered.

When you’re done, leave the rubbing alcohol to rest on the stain for about 10 minutes.

Start blotting at the treated area with a clean, damp cloth. If you see that the stain is being lifted away, you can continue to blot the area.

If not, you may need to add some more rubbing alcohol to the patch. Continue to repeat these steps until the stain is gone. 

When the stain is gone you can move onto Step 6.


Step 6: Dry the carpet

cleaning carpet with vacuum

When you’ve applied your treatment, and you’ve removed the coal stain from your carpet, you need to leave the carpet to dry.

You shouldn’t walk over the carpet during this time, and you should leave plenty of natural light and fresh air into the room.

When the carpet is completely dry, you can hoover it for a final time. This is to make sure that all loose debris has been collected and the carpet is clean.


Specialised Stain Removal Products

carpet stain removal products

If you don’t fancy trying some of the products listed above, you can, of course, pick up some cleaning products to help you out. Check out some examples below.

Note: There are mixed reviews on how effective specialised cleaning products are when it comes to removing coal marks from a carpet. So, keep in mind that you may have to try a product more than once. Or you might have to try a selection of specialised cleaners to see the result you want.

  • Rug Doctor 70034 Oxy Power Stain Remover can be used to lift some of the toughest stains that plague carpets because it has the power of bleach. It’s safe to use in busy homes and it comes in a 500 ml spray bottle, so you can squirt the spray onto the stained area with ease.
  • HG Stain Remove Extra Strong Carpet & Upholstery Stain Spray also comes in a 500 ml spray bottle and can take out ingrained stains. It’s also very simple to use and can get to work breaking down stains in mere minutes.


Hire a Professional If Needed

professional carpet cleaner

If you’re not having much luck removing the coal from your carpet, and you’ve tried the method and products listed above, it may be time to call in a professional carpet cleaner.

Professionals often have access to different tools and cleaning agents, so they should be able to use these different cleaners to remove the coal.

You can find a local carpet cleaner by doing a quick online search.

Just remember to:

  • Pick a reputable company.
  • Read plenty of reviews. (Try and find reviews from people who’ve had the same issue).
  • Ask plenty of questions.
  • Find out what you’re paying for.
  • Ask if you need to do anything before the carpet cleaner comes.

In addition to this, you could also rent a carpet cleaner machine for the day. For example, a Rug Doctor or a Karcher. The higher-spec equipment and specialised cleaning ingredients might be able to lift your stubborn coal stain!