How to Remove Toner from Carpet


Jeff asked: How do I clean a toner spill from carpet? While changing a toner cartridge, a small amount of toner spilled and got into the carpet. I have tried carpet cleaners with little success.

Toner spills are common when switching out the cartridges. Cleaning them up is not always an easy task. The sooner you can treat the stain, the better chance that it will come out of the carpet completely. Over time, the toner stain will set and become much more difficult to remove.

You Will Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Soft cloths
  • Water
  • Dry-cleaning solvent
  • Dish washing soap
  • Towels

Steps to Remove the Toner:

  1. If a large amount of toner was spilled, scoop up as much as possible with a spoon. Vacuum the rest of it away (without the roller brush on). If it was liquid toner that spilled, blot up as much as possible with a clean, soft cloth.
  2. Once the loose toner is removed, you are ready to work on the stain that was left behind.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth with dry-cleaning solvent.
  4. Blot it onto the stained area.
  5. As you are blotting with a clean cloth, you will notice the toner transferring to the cloth. Continue blotting. Switch to a new section of the cloth or use a fresh cloth when the old one gets dirty to keep from reapplying the toner to the carpet.
  6. Moisten the cloth with dry-cleaning solvent each time. Do not pour the solvent onto the carpet or saturate the area.
  7. If the stain is not releasing, even with several repeated attempts, move onto the next step.
  8. Mix a few drops of dish washing soap with one cup of water.
  9. Dip a clean cloth into the mixture and blot it onto the stain.
  10. As before, blot with a clean section of cloth and repeat applications until the stain is removed.
  11. When the stain is completely removed, allow the area to dry.
  12. Place a towel over the area and press down to absorb any excess moisture that may have been absorbed by the carpet.
  13. Vacuum the area to restore the texture of the carpet.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Clean out the bag/canister of the vacuum after vacuuming up toner. The small particles can be redistributed into the air and/or the carpet if left sitting in the bag.
  • Avoid scrubbing the carpet as it can destroy the fibers and leave the area looking “rough” or worn.
  • Avoid using laundry detergents or dishwasher detergents. They can discolor the carpet and damage some carpet fibers.
  • Rubbing alcohol is effective in removing ink stains. Use it with caution on carpeting and do not allow it to soak into the carpet backing. The alcohol will break down the glue that holds the carpet together.
  • If the carpet is white or very light in color, hydrogen peroxide may work to remove the toner. Test a small area first as this can have a bleaching effect and will lighten darker colors.


  1. Cheryl says:

    I have been advised a couple of years ago by a photocopier engineer not to use warm/hot water to remove toner stains as the temperature of the water ‘sets’ the toner.

  2. Sharon says:

    We just had a toner spill yesterday on light-colored burber carpet (brown and tan). Another employee thought they would blend it into the carpet with their shoe. HUGE MISTAKE! DO NOT RECOMMEND! Another employee used Scotch tape over and over again, the whole time smacking the back side and rubbing their fingernails over and over again. Used a whole roll. TONER ALL GONE. You cannot even tell there was a spill. Share with the world.

  3. Robin says:

    Just tried the tape cure; packing tape seems to work good too. Thanks for the tip Sharon.

  4. Bruce says:

    It should be noted that the vacuum cleaner used to clean up printer toner should use a HEPA filter. There are some substances in the toner that should not be inhaled! Do not disturb the dust to the extent that it gets airborne. “Toners are generally a mixture of plastic resin and carbon black often with other additives. Carbon black is classified as a nuisance dust (i.e. is only mildly toxic in itself), but will contain impurities known to be carcinogens. Toners should be handled with care, protective gloves should be worn, and dust release minimized,” says the London Hazards Centre ( Also in that article, it is stated by Queensland University of Technology in Australia, “…very small particles of toner from a number of laser printers that can become airborne and penetrate deep into the lung.”

    Take care in the clean up of your toner spill to protect your health as well as all those in your office!

  5. Warren says:

    I just used a damp paper towel and blotted the toner up. It’s important to blot, not smear.

  6. Greg says:

    Toner for xerox laser machines can start setting at 40 degrees; don’t use hot/warm water. Also, as Bruce advises, do not use a normal vacuum, as technicians usually have a vacuum that is enclosed and does not exhaust air into the atmosphere and has a special filter.

    The sticky tape way may seem like a waste of tape but would be the best way to get the toner up without creating a stain.

  7. Stewart says:

    I did this at work today; I shall be blotting it up later!

  8. Robert says:

    Ok, mc561 replacing toner. Stupid me, I opened toner after shaking it and it spilled onto the carpet. I tried tape, but the powder went everywhere on the carpet; took too long. So, used our ducted vacuum cleaner with a 2.5hp motor that has the hose hole open on the handle piece because it sucks like no tomorrow and usually if it is closed, it sucks harder and drags on the carpet heavily, making you break out in a sweat, but in saying that, I had it on the highest setting. I later checked the Dacron filter in the garage and scraped the carbon ink powder off the filter. Too easy. I was using a Volta ducted vacuum cleaner. I have no affiliation with this company, but money well spent; I suppose you could hire an industrial vacuum cleaner to do the same or use the one plasterers use when sanding; it sucked deep into the carpet fibers and got them clean as a whistle. Don’t recommend you drag or smudge the carpet, just blot in a down and up and down motion and put tape around the end of stainless hose fitting so it won’t go black. Take the tape off when finished.

  9. Lupe says:

    We accidentally spilled liquid toner ink on our light color carpet. We used paper towels to absorb it, but the liquid ink absorbed into the carpet fast. We made the mistake of not calling a professional immediately and just let it dry out. Our cleaning crew (who clean carpets) tried their best, but with no success. We hired a professional carpet cleaner and they weren’t successful either. I’m very concerned because after so much scrubbing, the carpet fibers are getting damaged.

    Is there anything out there that we can do besides replacing the carpet? We just don’t have the man power to sit and go thru every spot, it will take a full day or two.

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