Cleaning Guides

6 Methods to Clean Spilled Milk Out of Carpet and Get Rid of the Sour Smell

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From all the persistent stains the Universe throws at your carpets from time to time, those from milk are among the most difficult ones to clean. It takes a lot of patience and knowledge to take care of them, especially the leftover rotten milk smell which is notoriously difficult to get rid of.

For your convenience, we have gathered the most popular and proven methods on how to clean milk stains from carpets and successfully take care of the sour smell as well.

So, if you:

  • Have accidentally spilled milk on your carpet;
  • Are struggling to get rid of the stain;
  • Are looking for ways to remove the odour of spoiled milk,

Read on! This article is for you.

Bear in mind that depending on the “age” of the stain, the smell might take a little longer to disappear along with the stain itself. If you are not sure of the exact origin of the stain or how old it is – the best course of action would be to turn to a professional carpet cleaner.

But before we begin with the cleaning guide, let’s look at…

Does milk stain the carpet permanently?

Yes, milk could create a permanent stain on a carpet. This is because the proteins and fat that it contains are very quick to penetrate your carpet all the way to its fibres. Also, a milk stain is a nurturing food source for all kinds of bacteria that stick there in seconds.

Once there, the microorganisms develop a colony which leads to a sour smell. This is also the reason why sometimes you will notice that even after you managed to get rid of the stain, the smell is still there. Most milk stains are invisible or light at first but over time they turn yellow and get darker.

That’s why immediate action is the best action.

Good to know

  • The level of damage a milk stain can cause mainly depends on whether the milk is skim or full fat. A stain from full-fat milk needs to be taken care of immediately. A skim milk stain is not as urgent.
  • If the spilled milk is flavoured, you should treat it as a normal full-fat stain, but still, be very cautious. Flavoured strawberry or chocolate milk, for example, could contain dye, so to remove it you will most likely need professional help.
  • The odour of a stain is highly dependent on the temperature of the milk. The smell is more unpleasant if the milk is hot.
  • We have a detailed guide on how to effectively remove milk stains from your sofa if you are struggling with such a problem as well.

How to get milk out of your carpet

Whether you are dealing with fresh or dried milk stains on your carpet, there are a variety of cleaning methods you can try, mainly involving easy-to-find household products.

Clean milk out of the carpet with simple dish soap

Tools and supplies

  • Mild liquid dishwashing detergent (non-alkaline)
  • Clean washcloths
  • Ammonia
  • Protective gloves
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Cup
  • Bowl
  1. Mix 2 cups of lukewarm water with one tablespoon of mild dish soap.
  2. Moisten a white cloth with the solution.
  3. Soak up all the remaining milk from the carpet using a dry cloth.
  4. Blot the area until the stain is gone.
  5. If the stain is still visible, mix two cups of warm water and one tablespoon of ammonia.
  6. Apply the mixture with a sponge onto the stain.
  7. Continue blotting until the stain is no longer visible.
  8. Use a sponge dipped in cold water to blot the carpet and rinse it.

You can also use the dish soap cleaning method to remove tea stains from your favourite rug.

Lifting milk stains with the help of cornstarch

Tools and supplies

  • Cornstarch
  • Clean washcloths
  • Sponge
  • Vacuum cleaner
  1. Blot the stain with a dry sponge or a cloth as soon as it appears.
  2. Take a damp cloth and gently scrub the stain.
  3. Sprinkle cornstarch all over the affected area. Let it sit for at least half an hour.
  4. The cornstarch will soak up any remaining milk and when the time is up, you only have to vacuum it.

If you’re dealing with a chocolate stain on your sofa or carpet, cornmeal can help you get rid of it, too.

Remove milk from carpet with powdered laundry detergent

Tools and supplies

  • Powdered laundry detergent
  • Sponge or paper towels
  • Clean washcloths
  • Toothbrush
  • Water
  1. Blot the milk from the carpet using a dry cloth, sponge or paper towels.
  2. Mist the area with water to prevent the stain from drying out.
  3. Make a smooth paste by mixing powdered laundry detergent and water.
  4. Dip a toothbrush in the solution and gently scrub the stain.
  5. Rinse the spot with cold water.

Struggling to get rid of the milk stain and smell? We offer a quicker and easier solution in the form of professional hot water extraction cleaning. Learn more about prices and cleaning methods here.

Get the milk stains out with isopropyl rubbing alcohol

Tools and supplies

  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  • Sponge or dry towel
  • Clean washcloths
  • Dull knife/spatula
  1. As always, blot the stain carefully with a dry towel, cloth or a sponge.
  2. If you were late to see the milk stain and it’s already dry, remove as much as you can with a dull knife.
  3. Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol to the area by using a terry cloth. Do it in blotting motion. The stain should relocate from the carpet to the cloth.

You can use rubbing alcohol to remove wax carpet stains or to get grease out of your area rug.

Eliminate milk stains on carpeting with hydrogen peroxide

Tools and supplies

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Sponge or dry towel
  • Clean washcloths
  • Dropper
  • Protective gloves
  • Hydrogen peroxide and borax (optional)
  • Vacuum cleaner
  1. Take a bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide. The higher percent will damage your carpet.
  2. Use a dropper to apply it to the stain.
  3. Blot it up after the foaming stops.

If this doesn’t help you:

  1. Make a paste by mixing peroxide and borax
  2. Spread it on the milk stain and leave it to dry.
  3. Don’t rinse the area after. Vacuum the residue.

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective remedy against wine stains on your textile floor covering, too. See how it’s done in our handy post on how to get red wine out of carpet.

Clean dried milk stains from carpet with washing powder and vinegar

Tools and supplies

  • Washing powder
  • Clean washcloths
  • Dull knife/spatula
  • Water
  • Toothbrush
  • Vinegar
  1. Take a dull knife and remove as many flakes as possible from the stain,
  2. Whatever is left there – spray it with water. A moist stain has a bigger chance of disappearing.
  3. Dip a toothbrush in some washing powder and rub the stain.
  4. Rinse with cold water.
  5. If there is any leftover smell, you can try and remove it by spraying an equal solution of vinegar and water and blotting it up after.
Learn more about:
Cleaning Guides
How to Clean a Carpet: Easy Step-by-step Guide


  • If you are using a commercial product, be sure to always wear protective gloves during the whole cleaning process.
  • Always try to blot as much of the spill as possible and start rubbing when you are sure all the liquid is removed.
  • Before you start cleaning the whole carpet, always do a test on a small inconspicuous area to see how the material will react.


  • Avoid using warm water when cleaning. High temperature helps the stain set and increases the bad smell.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia. It’s extremely dangerous and the resulting fumes are toxic.
  • Carefully read the ingredients of every detergent to make sure that it does not contain bleach. Bleach may cause discolouration to the fabric of the carpet.

Getting sour milk smell out of a carpet

Rotten milk odour is like a punishment from some angry ancient deities. Sometimes you spend so much time trying to get rid of a stain and when it’s finally gone it turns out that the milk smell is still very much “alive and well”.

Luckily for you, we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves to help you neutralise the rotten milk odour for good. We suggest you take advantage of them because it is unlikely for the bad milk smell to go away on its own.

Remove the stale milk smell with baking soda

After you have taken care of the stain itself, take some bicarb soda and pour it over the spot. Leave the soda overnight. If you are living with other people, especially if you have kids, make sure to surround the area with something. You don’t want anyone to step on it while going on a midnight walk to the fridge.

The morning after, loosen the soda with a brush or with your hand (using gloves of course) and vacuum the whole area. In addition, this method can reduce or eliminate the smell of a freshly cleaned carpet or a brand-new rug which still gives off VOCs.

Get rid of the sour milk smell by placing a bowl of vinegar

This method you can use only after you’ve already done your best in removing the actual stain. Fill a medium-sized bowl with vinegar, no matter which kind, and place it near the spot. It needs to stay for a couple of days. Again you have to be careful not to spill the bowl onto the carpet.

Another smell remover trick with vinegar is to spray it directly onto the stain. It’s best to dilute the vinegar with an equal part of water to prevent fading. Let it stay for a while and blot it with a clean cloth when it’s done. The vinegar smell should disappear gradually in a couple of days and you will have an odour-free carpet.

Take care of the rotten milk smell in carpet with coffee grounds

If you are wondering what to use instead of baking soda, this is a very simple method to try. The only thing you need to do is to sprinkle fresh unused coffee grounds onto the stain. Leave them for a few hours to soak up the sour milk odour and vacuum after. Most likely the coffee odour will replace the milk one but it should also fade away gradually in time.

Eliminate the bad milk smell by using commercial products with Enzymes

Your local supermarket is the place where you can find most enzyme-based products. They are usually located in the pet isles. Created to remove smells like cat pee, they will work just as well on the milk odour due to their similar protein nature.

Just follow the instructions on the label and you will be able to take care of the smell. Enzymatic cleaners can also be used to clean sick out of carpets.

Get rid of the milk stench with shoe odour “crystals”

These so-called “odour eaters” are usually used by different trainers who want to prevent the sweat and its smell to soak in the carpet. The crystals are made from charcoal which is a highly odour-absorbing material.

You only need to put them over the stain and cover them with a mat or a terry towel. Leave the crystals until they eliminate the smell and vacuum the area.

If everything else fails, you can always count on a professional!

We know that it sounds very tempting to take care of a stain yourself, whether it’s milk or something else. Still, whatever you do may not be enough to completely get rid of a milk stain or the smell that accompanies it. So whenever you need a professional to help you out, you can always count on Fantastic Services to do the job properly.

The carpet technicians are familiar with all the different types of stains and know how to treat each one of them and assure quality results. One of the cleaning methods we perform is hot water extraction deep carpet cleaning. It takes care of household spills, pet stains and helps you get rid of unpleasant odours and even dust mites.

Want your carpet fully cleaned and disinfected?

Let us handle this for you.

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  • You should try and clean full-fat milk stains right away.
  • Hot milk stains will have a worse odour.
  • You can use household ingredients to remove most milk stains.
  • Blot out as much of the liquid as possible before cleaning.
  • It’s unlikely for the sour milk smell to go away on its own, so better take measures to banish it for good.
  • Baking soda and vinegar can be effective in neutralising the nasty sour odours.

Whichever method of cleaning or smell removal you choose, remember to always do a test on a small inconspicuous area. Depending on the size, nature, and age of the stains, some of them might be impossible to remove. We cannot take responsibility if any of the above-mentioned methods do not work on your carpets and their specific stains.


Did you find this article useful? Do you have any tips on removing milk stains from a carpet? Share them with us in the comments!

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