How to Remove Dark Soled Shoe Stains from Carpet


Millie asked: How do I remove a dark stain on the carpet made from dark-soled shoes? It is in front of my husband’s chair. He wears black-soled flip flops. The carpet is short nap beige with dark brown threads.

These dark stains from shoes can be from a couple of different problems. If the carpet is wet either from moisture in the air or moisture from the shoes, it will pull the dirt out of the soft-soled shoes more easily and absorb it into the fibers of the carpet. This results in a deep-carpet dirt stain that can be tough to remove completely. If the stain has been developing over a long period of time, it could also be that the rubber from the soles of the shoes has worn off onto the surface of the carpet. The later stain is more difficult to remove, but both stains can be lifted with the steps below.

Removing Tough Dirt Stains

You Will Need:

  • Carpet stain remover
  • Shaving cream
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soft cloths
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Scrub brush

Steps to Remove the Dirt Stains:

  1. Start by filling a bucket with warm water.
  2. Add a small amount of detergent to the water and agitate until suds begin to form. Keep in mind that laundry detergent is concentrated, so a small amount will go a long way.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth with the soapy water and blot it onto the stained area.
  4. Once the stained area is moist, allow it to set for a few minutes. This gives the detergent time to soak into the dirt and grime that has built up and makes it easier to remove.
  5. Scrub the area with a soft scrub brush to remove the dirt from the carpet fibers. Avoid scrubbing too hard as this can damage the texture of the fibers.
  6. Blot with a soft cloth moistened with the soapy water. You should begin to see the stain transferring to the cloth.
  7. Continue blotting until the stain is removed.
  8. If the stain lightens, but still remains present, a stain remover can be applied to tackle the remaining dirt.
  9. Carpet stain removers such as Resolve are useful, but household items such as shaving cream and rubbing alcohol have also been found effective for removing stains.
  10. Once the stains are removed, blot the area with soft cloths moistened with clean water to rinse the area.
  11. Continue rinsing until all of the soapy and residue from cleaning products is removed. Residue from these products can make the surface attract dirt more quickly and result in new stains developing.
  12. Once the area is rinsed, press with a clean cloth to remove as much of the moisture as possible.
  13. Allow the area to air dry completely.

Removing Rubber Stains from Carpet

You Will Need:

  • Mineral oil
  • Turpentine
  • Old, soft cloths
  • Water
  • Soap or carpet shampoo
  • Rubber gloves

Steps to Remove the Rubber Residue:

  1. Removing rubber from the carpet fibers takes time and requires chemicals. ALWAYS test the chemicals first to ensure there is no damage to the color or texture of the carpet.
  2. Mineral oil is used to break up the rubber so that it can be removed.
  3. Apply a small amount of mineral oil to the soft cloth and dab it onto a small hidden area of the carpet. Allow it to set for 24 hours. Check to ensure there was no damage or discoloration to the area.
  4. If the test area went well, it is safe to proceed to the stained area.
  5. Moisten the cloth again with mineral spirits and apply it to the rubber-stained area.
  6. Scrub the area with a scrub brush to break up the rubber bits further.
  7. As the rubber detaches from the carpet fibers brush it away.
  8. Once the rubber is removed, there will likely be a dark stain remaining. This will be removed with turpentine.
  9. First, test a small hidden area, by applying turpentine using the same methods as in step 3.
  10. If the test area goes well, moisten a cloth with additional turpentine and blot the stained area.
  11. Blot the area with a clean cloth and continue to switch to a clean section as the stain is transferred to the cloth.
  12. When all of the stain is removed, clean the area well to remove all traces of the chemicals.
  13. If a carpet cleaner is available, that will be the quickest. If not, simply wash the area by blotting thoroughly with soapy, warm water.
  14. Follow this by blotting with a clean cloth to dry.
  15. Allow the area to dry completely before vacuuming the area.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • To avoid future stains, consider placing a decorative rug in front of the chair to provide protection for the carpeting.
  • Mineral spirits and turpentine are chemicals that should be used with caution. Provide adequate ventilation in the room and protect your hands with rubber gloves.
  • Using detergents and stain removers without dyes prevents adding another stain to the area. Sometimes colored detergents can leave a second stain as they turn the area a light shade of the dyes used to add color to the liquid.
  • Vacuuming the area after it has dried will help to restore the texture of the carpet fibers.


  1. Hi. Thanks for this.
    Mineral oil and mineral spirits are two very different things. Are you referring to mineral spirits, as in paint thinner?

  2. I agree with Dan’s post. Please confirm that you meant to say mineral oil in steps 2 and 3. And mineral spirits in step 5. Finally turpentine in steps 8-9-10.
    Or is paint thinner used in the process?

  3. Actually, both mineral spirits and mineral oil can both be used to break down rubber, but mineral spirits will be easier to remove from the carpet once the rubber stain is removed.

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