Your home is a chunk of paradise for the most part, but sometimes small accidents happen. Your playful tykes trip on cables. And chocolate milk spills on clean carpets. Suddenly, you’re looking at a brownish wet mess.
If you don’t clean up the mess immediately, the spilled milk dries in, staining the carpet. Soon, your carpet starts giving off an unpleasant sour milk smell. It’s time you learned how to get milk out of carpet (instead of crying over it!).
Related: How to Get Slime Out of Your Carpet
The best time to clean up wet spills such as milk and juice is right after the fact. If you wait until the messy spill sets in and stains the carpet, it becomes harder to remove.
Here’s what to do if milk accidentally spills on your carpet:
Step #1: Grab a sponge, a dry towel, or paper towels, and get down to work. Sop up as much of the milky mess as possible.
The amount of clean-up work you have to do depends on the nature of the carpet. If it’s a short-pile or medium-pile carpet, a moderate amount of pressure should suffice.
But if it’s a thick-pile carpet, the milk seeps through the fibers to the base of the carpet. To absorb a decent amount of the spill from such a carpet, press the sponge or towel harder against it. You may need several sponges or towels if there’s too much of the liquid to absorb.
Step #2: Once done absorbing the excess milk, clean the problem spot with cold, soapy water. Here’s how to do it:
- Get a small bowl and pour in 2 cups of water. Then, squirt a few drops of dishwashing soap into the bowl and stir to a thoroughly mixed cleaning solution.
- Dampen a microfiber cloth or any other soft cloth by dunking it in the cold soapy water. Then, squeeze out as much water as you can from the sponge because you want it damp, not wet.
- Use the damp cloth or sponge to blot at the milky stain. Attack the stain from the outside working inward. Once you’ve corralled the stain, wipe it all away. Alternatively, use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck it up.
- Use a fresh clean sponge/cloth (or rinse the one you used in sub-step 3 above until no more soap comes out) to wipe the soap and milky residue away.
- Finally, dry off the treated spot with a clean dry cloth or sponge.
How to Get Milk Out of Carpets (Dried)
It’s not always possible to tackle wet spills as soon as they happen. The spilled liquid settles in and dries onto the carpet’s fibers. Soon, you notice a sour milk odor that makes you want to move to another state permanently. So, how do you clean up dried-in milk?
To clean up dried milk on a carpet:
- The first thing to do is scrape away any visible residue. You can use a dull tool such as a credit card or a butter knife to scrape away the solidified spill.
- Then, pick up the residue with your hands or lift it up with an appropriate vacuum cleaner tool. An upholstery tool should work just fine.
- Then, go to work on the stain. Mix clean water and some laundry soap in a spray bottle and get some of it onto the stained spot.
- With a toothbrush, work the laundry soap in using circular motions. Put in as much agitation as you deem adequate to break the carpet’s hold on the stain.
- Finally, grab a clean damp sponge/cloth and mop up the stain (and soap). Rinse the sponge if it becomes saturated and keep going until you absorb all of the mess.
- Afterward, dry off the stain-free area with dry paper towels or a cloth.
Sometimes, there’s a lingering milk smell even after you’ve done a meticulous job of ridding the carpet of the dried milk stain. If this is the situation you’re looking at, turn to diluted white vinegar or baking soda.
Here’s how to get that curdled milk odor out of your carpet:
- Mix white vinegar with clean/distilled water. Formulate a 1:1 solution by stirring these two liquids thoroughly.
- Pour the diluted white vinegar solution into a spray bottle.
- Spray the vinegar onto the smelly spot and let it stand for a couple of hours, or overnight if the smell is pretty strong.
- Lastly, blot up the vinegar before drying off the spot with dry towels.
- Mix baking powder and water in the right ratio. The recommended ratio is 4-5 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with ½ cup of water. Stir the ingredients thoroughly to form an effective cleansing paste.
- Apply the paste on the odorous area and leave it there overnight.
- In the morning, pick up the saturated baking powder with a vacuum.
- Repeat the process if you still notice the odor.
Your kids are really enjoying the ride in the backseat. And milk somehow ends up on the car’s carpet, as it often does. What do you do when this inevitable accident happens?
- If the spill’s just happened, blot up as much of it as possible with dry paper towels or an absorbent cloth. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t keep some dry paper towels or a cloth somewhere on the car, do you?
- Once you’ve mopped up what you can, soak the messy spot with an enzyme cleaner and let it stand for about 15-20 minutes.
- Finally, blot up the cleaner and dry off the spot with dry paper towels or cloth.
Rent a wet and dry vacuum cleaner from Home Depot and suck up the spill. Do this while out on the road and won’t be back home until hours later.
What if the mess has had enough time to absorb into the car carpet’s fibers and is now smelling like, well, rotten milk? Scrape the dried milk away and use baking powder or vinegar to get the sour milk odor out of the carpet.
And to get the best results, crack the car’s windows and leave the vehicle in the sun for a few hours. Getting the car to dry out completely prevents mildew growth. Mildew is what causes the curdled milk smell in the first place.
What if the weather is wet and humid? Turn the AC on and crank the heat all the way up for about half an hour. Doing this dries out the car’s interiors completely, stopping mildew germination before it happens.
You left a half-full glass of chocolate milk on the table and took a restful nap. Unfortunately, your lovely cat didn’t sleep. And she knocked the milk glass onto the carpet, spilling its contents and staining it.
A few days later, you learned that the spilled chocolate milk had dried onto the carpet. The carpet now smells like mildew, and no cleaning method seems to work. How do you get the gross, smelly chocolate milk stain off the carpet and have your apartment smelling nice again?
This happened to me a while back, and nothing I did helped. I used a carpet cleaner several times, but the smell wouldn’t budge.
I also tried working baking soda and soapy water into the spot, but this failed, too. I even steam-cleaned the carpet, but the dried chocolate milk smell still lingered.
After researching around for a while, I bumped into a little nifty trick that worked like magic. I purchased OxiClean, a product that contains hydrogen peroxide.
I mixed the OxiClean with warm water, poured the solution into a spray bottle, and spot-tested an inconspicuous area of the carpet. The result? This stain remover didn’t discolor the test spot.
Then, I squirted a liberal amount of OxiClean/warm water solution onto the problem area and let it sit for 1 hour. Next, I sopped up the OxiClean with a dry towel. Finally, I cleaned the trouble spot with a carpet cleaner, and the smell vanished.
Using a hydrogen peroxide-rich cleaning compound such as OxiClean is an effective way to remove dried chocolate milk stains and the resultant mildew-y smell. Remember: peroxide can bleach your carpet and discolor it, so ALWAYS spot-test.
The spilled milk seeps into the fibrous structure of the carpet, leaving a visible stain thanks to the fats/oils and protein in the milk. If you don’t sort out the mess immediately and the milk dries in, the occupants of the house or car’s passengers soon notice a fermented milk smell.
Milk odor on carpets goes away if you use simple odor deodorizers such as baking powder or vinegar. Treating the smelly section with an enzyme cleaner also solves the odor problem on household and car carpets.
Use a wet and dry vacuum cleaner to pick up the wet spill before cleaning the spot with a carpet cleaner. If this isn’t possible, use paper towels or a cloth to blot up the spilled milk. Once you’ve absorbed most of the milk, clean the area with soapy water and then rinse off the soap completely. Finally, dry off the cleaned area with dry paper towels. Also, lower the car’s windows or heat up the vehicle and turn on the AC for 30 minutes to fully dry the interiors, stopping mildew growth.
Take care of spilled milk on carpets and fabrics as soon as possible. If enough time elapses before you take corrective action, the milk stains the carpet. And the carpet soon starts smelling like rotten milk.
Fortunately, the guide above describes a bunch of simple cleaning methods that get spilled chocolate milk or milkshakes out of carpets in no time.