How to Clean Milk Out of Carpet

milk spill clean carpet stain

​Whether it’s a young baby ​drinking from a bottle, or a grown adult indulging in a late-night snack, milk accidents can happen to anyone. Drinking milk regularly might be beneficial for bone density and good digestion, but carpets do not enjoy the same benefits we do.

Not only does the spilled milk stain, but some types of carpet can trap small liquid particles and leave milk on your carpet and allow it to spoil. Read on to find ​out how to clean milk out of carpet.

​How to Clean Milk Out of Carpet

Have you ever noticed some rooms or cars smell funky? The floor seems to be clean, but you can tell there’s a strange smell around. This could be due to spilt milk that was left to dry or not properly cleaned from the surface. Dried milk on carpet fibers is a very distinct smell that only very powerful air fresheners can hide.

milk spill clean carpet stain

If you're wondering how to clean milk from carpet, t​here are a series of different steps you have to take​. ​Whether 1%, non-fat, or soy, all milk will behave (and stain) in the same manner. For starters, lets go over the materials you are going to need, regardless of whether it is a new or old stain.

Materials Needed

  • ​Clean Towel or Microfiber Cloth
  • ​Warm Water
  • ​Dishwasher Detergent
  • ​Corn Starch or Baking Soda
  • ​Vacuum Cleaner

​Cleaning Recently Spilt Milk

If you are able to treat the disaster as quickly as it happens, you are in luck. The sooner you are able to get to the stain, the easier it will be to take it out. So roll up those sleeves and get cleaning as soon as you see a spill!

​1. Dab the Stain

Use the microfiber cloth and carefully dab off as much of the liquid as you can. Do not rub the stain on the carpet as you may be driving liquid further down the carpet fibers.

Place the used microfiber towel in a bowl full of water to rinse out.

​2. Treat the Stain

Use a mixture of lukewarm water and dishwasher detergent in a bowl or spray bottle to spot treat the milk stain on your carpet. Use another clean microfiber towel and treat it with the cleaning mix to use over the stain.

Once again, try to dab and not rub the towel over the stain as much as possible.

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​3. Pull the Stain Out

Once that is done, you can move on to using the cleaning powder to chemically attract the last drops of milk out of carpet. Drop some powdered cornstarch or baking soda over the stain and leave it for 5-10 minutes.

These kinds of powders are good at attracting liquid in ways that no towel could ever dream of.

Related: The Best Spot Carpet Cleaner Hacks

​4. Vacuum the Stain

Pick up the powder with your vacuum cleaner and inspect the area. There should be little to no milky smells coming from the stain, and it should feel clean to the touch. Wait a couple of hours for the area to dry completely and repeat the process if necessary.

At this point, you should have a mighty clean carpet. However, that one particular spot may now even look cleaner than the rest of the carpet! This may motivate you to super clean the rest of it, and we very much encourage you to do so.


  • ​Dab the milk spill
  • ​Treat with lukewarm water and dishwasher detergent
  • ​Apply cleaning powder
  • ​Vacuum spilled area

​Cleaning an Old Milk Stain

As previously mentioned, spilling milk is worse than spilling soda or even wine. These other liquids might leave a darker stain, but milk is one of the few liquids that will crust, change colors, and begin to smell… bad. 

If you have a spill that happened a while back, you will need to take some extra measures. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the stain will be completely removed. However, there is still a great benefit to spot-cleaning an old milk stain.

​1. Pre-treat the Stain

Begin by pre-treating the stain with the same mixture explained above. Throw the mixture in a spray bottle and generously soak the surface. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes and then use a clean microfiber towel to soak up the liquid

You can do this several times if need be. Each time should be slowly loosening the stain up, even if its hard to tell.

​2. Scrub the Stain

If you have access to a shampoo machine, this will be the perfect time to use it. You will probably need to give the carpet a couple of passes before anything noticeable happens. Eventually, the stain will begin to look less obvious and any smells will be eliminated.

If you don’t have access to a carpet-cleaning machine, you can still remove the odor from your carpet. There are cleaning powders, such as Arm & Hammer Litter Carpet & Room Pet Fresh Odor Eliminator, that may effectively purge the odors from the carpet.

Additionally, a combination of lukewarm water and vinegar on the stain for 30 minutes might remove any remaining odors.

Related: How to Clean Carpet with Vinegar and Nothing Else

​3. Vacuum and Remove Odor

Once you're satisfied with getting the stain up, you can vacuum and work on removing the odor, following the same steps as above.

​Insider Tip: Keep a lightweight, easy-to-grab vacuum in a closet near your heavily trafficked areas. It will make it a lot easier to quickly clean a spill in the future. Here is our list of the best vacuums under $50 that can go in your closet.

Old milk stains are especially bad when they are from formula or breast milk. Sometimes, even the most effective techniques might be no match for these accidental spots.

If you are a new mom and are dealing with constant formula or breast milk spills, take advantage of the information found on forum sites. These are written by real people that have similar problems, and can help you find the answer to a specific situation you might be having.


  • ​Pre-treat area with mixture
  • ​Let soak
  • ​Vacuum with shampoo machine
  • ​Remove odor with cleaning powder


​How to clean milk from carpet starts with acting quickly. The faster you can dab the milk up, the better chance you have to completely remove the stain and odor.

Related: How to Clean Carpet without Carpet Cleaner

Even if you aren't able to act fast, you can still clean milk out of carpet. Utilize the mixtures we've recommended to soak up the stain. You will probably need to do this several times to remove it completely.

Additionally, you can invest in better appliances to clean your carpet and avoid having to work with towels or cleaning mixtures in the first place. If you do have some old stains that you want to take care of but haven’t found the will to do so, calling a professional might be the best route at ​well.

​If you​ enjoyed this article, make sure to check out our comprehensive cleaning guides:

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