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Will Vinegar Bleach, Discolour Or Stain Your Carpet?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

cleaning carpet with vinegar

If you have been searching google about how to treat certain stains on carpet, undoubtedly at least one or two of them will have recommended using vinegar as a sort of stain neutralizer.

Sounds great, such a cheap product being able to clean so many stains, but could there be drawbacks and if you attempt to use it, will vinegar 'bleach' or discolour your carpet?

With so much misinformation out there, we thought we'd settle this one ourselves. In this blog post we will answer the question of whether or not bleach will harm your carpets and more.

So, Will Vinegar Bleach, Discolour or Stain your carpets in anyway?

Provided that you're using the right type of vinegar and in the correct manner, you will not bleach or discolour your carpets. Only use at most 2 tablespoons of vinegar with warm water in a spray bottle to use vinegar on most carpets. Do not let the vinegar sit overnight and you won't do any harm to your carpet. But just because it doesn't do any harm doesn't necessarily mean it will do much good either.

What kind of vinegar can you use on carpet?

There are two kinds of vinegar you can use when cleaning most carpets:

White Vinegar: White vinegar is safe to use because it doesn't have any colouring properties. Using other kinds of vinegar such as the kind you put on your chips or a balsamic vinegar will stain your carpets.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Like white vinegar, apple cider vinegar has no colouring properties. The added bonus of using this kind of vinegar is that it won't stink to high heaven!

How To Get The Vinegar Smell Out Of Vinegar When Cleaning Carpet

To get rid of that awful smell of vinegar when cleaning with it is pretty simple. You can add a few drops of lemon juice in your vinegar spray bottle. This will get rid of that god awful smell and actually leave a nice smelling aroma.

But wait, doesn't lemon juice stain carpet?

Lemon juice on it's own will certainly stain your carpet due to the sugar and lemon colour, however that's not what you are going to be doing.

A few drops of lemon juice inside a spray bottle of warm water and white vinegar will become completely diluted with no chance of staining or discolouring.

Will White Vinegar Actually Clean Carpet?

White vinegar does have some good cleaning properties, in fact, many cleaning products contain vinegar (or acetic acid as the geeks call it among other names).

That is not to say that vinegar can clean much on it's own though. Vinegar is more of a smell neutralizer than a cleaner. It won't do much good against biological stains such as urine, vomit or blood on it's own without mixing it with a biological cleaner.

Same goes for food colourings. You may have seen a Youtube video of someone using vinegar to clean a ketchup stain, but the likelihood is, that stain was fresh and would have been moved with warm water and soap all the same.

So, while you can use vinegar as part of a cleaning product, it won't do much on it's own.

Here are some great home remedies that involve vinegar to give you an idea about it's uses:

The common theme you will notice is that vinegar is only part of the solution and can't be used as a standalone product.

Don't Rely On Cleaning Chemicals, Buy A Steam Cleaner!

Having a steam cleaner is cheaper, easier and more effective than using vinegar as well as many other cleaning chemicals. Most stains can be removed with the power of heat!

We highly recommend:

Karcher SC2 Steam Cleaner £138.00 (Or £27 per month for 5 months)

Reasons For Buying:

  • Clean with just heated water

  • Cheaper overall than using anything else

  • Superior results

  • No need to worry about lingering bad odours

  • Can be used for multiple stains

Can you use vinegar on all carpet materials?

The short answer is no: you can't use vinegar on all carpets. Carpet made of natural fibres such as wool and silk shouldn't be subjected to vinegar use, it can damage and discolour the material so alternative cleaning methods should be used on these materials.

Can you use vinegar on your couch and other upholstery?

For the most part yes you can. There are exceptions to this rule however. Leather, suede and velvet couches can't have a vinegar product used on them since it's either too potent, or in the case of leather, it can strip the clearcoat.


While vinegar certainly isn't the wonder product it's made out to be in many parts of the web, it does have it's uses.

Always doublecheck your material type before using vinegar solutions and don't try to use it as a standalone product, if you value your time that is.

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