How to Get Tar Out of Carpet in 7 Ways
Author: Anne Cowart | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
As tar is a highly sticky substance, it's natural to worry about how you can remove it when it gets into your carpet. Luckily, there are many methods you can use to alleviate this mess and return your carpet or rug back to its fresh state. Let's see exactly how to get tar out of carpet.
The first step to removing tar is to pull and lift it out as much as you can by hand and scraping. To get rid of the tar stains and the tar that is still remaining on your carpet, you can use household cleaners like dishwashing liquid, dry cleaning solvent, rubbing alcohol, and so on.
You can also use commercial cleaners like commercial tar removers and WD-40 if household cleaners fail to do the job. Keep reading this article to find out how you can use these products to take care of tar stains in detail. We'll also discuss some misconceptions people have about removing tar from carpets. So, let's dive in!
Misconceptions About Removing Tar From Carpet
Before getting into the methods you can use, it's important to address some common misconceptions people have about it. Your hear some of the same incorrect rumors regarding getting glue out of carpet, too. Here's the advice you can ignore for the most part:
You Must Hire a Professional Carpet Cleaner
The first major misconception that most people have about getting tar out of a carpet is that they think it can only be done by a professional carpet cleaner. But that's not the case, as you can follow plenty of simple methods for tar removal from carpets.
Cutting Off the Carpet Fibers Stained by Tar
If you don't want to spend money to hire a professional cleaner, another bad piece of advice that you may often come across is to cut the carpet fibers that have been stained by tar. This advice also comes with the assumption that you can't remove tar stains from your carpet on your own.
And for that reason, you must cut the tar-stained area with scissors and throw it away if you don't select a professional cleaner for the job. But both of these ideas are wrong, as there are many ways to safely remove tar from your carpet without taking such drastic steps.
Of course, you can always hire a professional carpet cleaner if you don't want to do the job yourself. But more often than not, you can easily get the tar out of your carpet without any outside assistance.
First Steps in Removing Tar From Your Carpet
Now that the myths have been debunked let's get to what you came here for and discuss how you can proceed to get tar out of your carpet. Before treating the tar stains, you need to get as much tar out as you can to make the rest of your job easier later on when you remove the tar stain.
Remove the Excess Tar & Blot Softly
First, remove the loose clumps of tar that are easily coming off. Put them in a bowl and discard them. You can blot the stained area with a paper towel if the tar is fresh and not hardened yet. Pat the paper towel gently on the carpet while pressing it down, as you don't want it to be more embedded into the carpet fibers.
Using the Ice Trick to Stiffen Fresh Tar
Getting rid of fresh tar can be difficult, and if you're struggling to do it, you can use a cool trick. If you use ice on the tar, it'll turn into a solid, and you'll be able to scrape it off. You can wear protective gloves and place cubes of ice over the tar stain to harden it.
Gently Scrape Any Excess Tar Residue
Like getting rust out of carpet, your first move is to remove the bulk of it so it can't spread around. Once the tar becomes hard, you can scrape most of it. Butter knives, spoons, credit cards, and spatulas are all great tools that you can use to scrape off the tar.
Using ice to remove tar from the carpet is always a good idea as there won't be any fumes or harmful chemical reactions, and you'll also get most of the thick tar out of your carpet before moving forward with the stain.
How to Remove Tar From Carpet with Household Cleaners
Although you can get most of the tar out by freezing and scraping it, there'll be a dark black stain left behind on your carpet because of the pigmentation of the tar. You can use both home cleaners and commercial cleaners to remove the tar stain. Let's look at how to work with home cleaners first.
If you have a non-bleach dishwashing liquid, it can be effective in fighting tar stains on your carpet. To use it, mix equal parts dishwashing liquid and equal parts water and put it in a bowl.
Start blotting the stain with this dishwashing solution using a cleaning brush or a damp sponge. Do it in small motions, and don't put too much pressure on the carpet when you're cleaning the stain. Keep checking the stain as you blot the stain. It should get lighter with time and, eventually, disappear.
Dry Cleaning Solvent
Another effective method for removing a tar stain is using a dry-cleaning solvent. Take a clean cloth and pour some water on one side of it. Add a few teaspoons of the solvent to the wet side of the cloth and dab the stain gently.
Make sure that you put the wet side of the cloth on the tar where you added the cleaning solvent. Start from the outside and work your way in. The stain should start to fade and become lighter. If the tar has set into the carpet, you'd have to repeat the process multiple times to get rid of the stain.
While you'd be tempted to pour the rubbing alcohol directly on the stain, it's not recommended that you do so. If you pour too much alcohol, it'll go deep into fibers and can damage your carpet. So, pour a little bit of it into a piece of cloth and start dabbing the stain. Blotting is always critical in how to get tar out of carpet.
Rubbing alcohol is supposed to take care of tar stains, especially if it's a small one. Regardless of whether the rubbing alcohol removes the stain or not, you need to pour a few drops of water on a clean cloth and dab the carpet with it to remove any residue of rubbing alcohol. Otherwise, your carpet can get damaged.
Baking Soda & Vinegar
You can use vinegar and baking soda if you want an all-natural product to get rid of a tar stain. Start by applying white vinegar to a piece of cloth and leave it on the carpet so that the vinegar will soak into the carpet. But don't let it sit for too long, as it can saturate your carpet and cause discoloration.
After applying the vinegar, sprinkle some baking soda on the tar-stained area and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Vacuum the stained area after giving some time for the baking soda to set and see if the stain has gone away. Keep some white vinegar around because it'll help you in removing charcoal from your carpet among many other discoloring materials that get tracked inside on your shoes.
Tar Removal From Carpets with Commercial Cleaners
If the household cleaners didn't help you in getting rid of the tar stains, you can switch gears and use commercial cleaners to get the job done. Here are some great options for commercial cleaners to remove tar stains:
Commercial Tar Remover
There are products specially made to remove tar from different surfaces. These products are called tar removers. The only issue with using tar removers is that they can potentially cause discoloration in your carpet.
So, before applying it to the stained area, use it on a small portion of your carpet that's generally not visible. If there are no side effects, you can apply it to the stained area. You can directly apply it to the stain and dab it with a clean cloth.
WD-40 is a great commercial cleaner to take care of tar stains. You can spray it directly on the tar stain and let it sit around for at least ten to fifteen minutes. Once the WD-40 has seeped into the tar-stained fibers, blot the area with a clean cloth in gentle sponging motions.
Keep doing it until you lift the entire stain from your carpet. Once the stain goes away, you need to get the WD-40 out of your carpet. Make a solution of liquid dish soap and water and dap your carpet with it to get rid of the WD-40 remaining in your carpet.
That's How to Get Tar Out of Carpet!
As you can see, you won't necessarily need to hire a professional carpet cleaner or cut off pieces of your carpet to get rid of tar stains. Hopefully, by now, you know how to remove tar from carpet following the simple methods shared in this guide. If the household cleaners don't work, you can always use commercial cleaners.
Tar, sometimes called pitch or resin, is a dark, oily, viscous fluid, which makes it thick and likely to leave a stain. Combine that with the sticky attributes, and there's no confusing why it can stick to your shoes and end up tracked inside on the carpet.
It's all over the streets and gets everywhere during roofing work, and then on our shoes, on our cars, and more. The warmer it is, the stickier tar gets. You should clean it up, especially off of your body, as soon as possible to minimize your exposure to tar.
You should consider hiring a professional carpet cleaning company only when the methods mentioned in this article fail to do the job. You'll get excellent results using the above methods for the majority of tar stains, but professionals have tools and chemicals we don't and know exactly how to get tar out of carpet.