How to Remove Hairball Stains from Carpet


Dee asked: How to remove stains from a carpet when the stains have been there for some time? I have stains on a light colored carpet that are from cat hairballs and wine. They have been there for some time. I’m wondering if there is any way to get them up now?

Cat lovers everywhere sigh when they hear the dreaded gagging followed by a pile of yuck on your carpet. Hairballs tend stain less than cat vomit, but prompt removal is key. Follow these steps to remove any possible marks from your floor.

You Will Need:

  • Rubber or latex gloves
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Spot cleaner such as Resolve
  • Paper towels or soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Begin by picking up the hairball in a clump of paper towels. Be careful not to rub or push the hairball into the carpet as you are picking it up.
  2. Next, blot the area with a wet cloth followed by a dry cloth.
  3. If there is still a spot, dab a small amount of mild soap on the area and blot with a clean cloth.
  4. Rinse the area thoroughly by blotting with a cloth moistened with clean water.
  5. Allow the area to dry to see if any stain remains.
  6. If a stain is still present, spray the area with a carpet spot remover such as Resolve and blot with a clean cloth.
  7. Rinse the area thoroughly with water and blot with a clean cloth.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • While most want to remove a hairball immediately, it may be helpful to allow it to sit for a minute and firm-up. It may make for easier removal.
  • If there is excessive moisture with the hairball, remove the hairball and cover the wet spot with salt. Allow it to dry and vacuum it away.


  1. I have two cats who have a lot of hairballs, and I haven’t had much luck with the above method. The problem, I think, is the cat food that comes up with the hairball from the cats’ stomachs. I think it contains some kind of dyes to make it look meaty or something (like the cats care) and it leaves really bad stains. I’ll try anything, but so far, nothing works very well on my off-white carpet. :-(

  2. Cat foods can contain all kinds of dyes and colorings. A couple of cleaners that have worked well to battle these stains are Scrubbing Bubbles (without bleach of course), Spot Shot (available at Wal-Mart, Target, etc., and Resolve for Pet Stains. Blot the cleaning product onto the stained area and blot away with a clean cloth. It may take several repeated applications to remove the stain completely.

  3. The red dyes found in some cat foods and many cat treats can be especially difficult to remove. They use the same dyes that are used in Kool-Aid and other red foods and drinks. Removal tips for these stains can be found in the How to Remove Kool-Aid from Carpet article in the Carpet section. Good Luck!

  4. I have found the ‘ miracle’ solution after two disastrous big stains on my new beige carpet. It’s this simple: pick up and dispose of the solid bit. Then, without rubbing, pour a little plain, cold water onto the stain and dab it up with a non-colored cloth. Voila! It disappears. If there is still a slight mark left, try again. The next morning, when it’s dried, you won’t be able to see where it was. I can really say this works. I was so excited I had to share.

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