How to Remove Tar Stains from Your Carpet: Step-by-step Guide for Parents‍

Did you know the average carpet can trap about 200 grams of dirt per square meter? And that’s just from natural everyday activities. 

Think about all those spills, grease marks, and pet stains your carpet experiences on a daily basis. 

Does this sound like your carpet? 

If so, then you need these tar stain removal tips right away!

We all have those days when time simply flies by. You might be one of those busy parents with so many things to do. Perhaps you’re just an unlucky soul who had a disastrous day in the office or at home. 

No matter what caused it, the result is the same. 

You now have a stained carpet…

What Is Tar, Exactly?

Tar is a refined form of petroleum found in natural crude oil deposits. 

When people talk about tar stains, they’re usually referring to asphalt. 

Asphalt is a sticky, black, viscous liquid that is the main constituent of tar. It’s a by-product of the petroleum refining process and is often used to pave roads. 

Asphalt stains are fairly common on carpets, especially in homes with small children or pets. 

Carpet stains are usually the result of an accident, such as an accidental spill. 

However, in some cases, the stain is intentional. 

For example, people may deliberately spread asphalt on their carpets to keep rodents away.

How Does Tar Get on Your Carpet?

Although there are many ways that tar can stain your carpet, the most common cause is accidental spillage. 

Other common causes include: 

  • Wiping your feet on the carpet after walking on a tar-paved surface
  • Deliberately spreading tar on the carpet to keep rodents away
  • Transferring tar from another object onto the carpet

No matter how the stain got there, it’s important to act quickly to remove it. The longer tar sits on your carpet, the harder it will be to remove.

How To Tell if It’s Tar or Something Else?

If you’re not sure whether you have a tar stain or something else, there are a few ways you can find out. 

First, smell the stain.

If it smells like a strong, pungent, oil-like smell, it’s probably asphalt. 

If it smells like an adhesive or a chemical, or if it’s just plain sticky, then it’s most likely some kind of adhesive. 

If you have a black stain or a stain that’s black with a touch of brown, there’s a good chance it’s tar. If the stain is primarily brown with a very little black, then it might be coffee. 

Once you’ve identified the stain as tar, you can try rubbing the stain with a clean white cloth. If the stain is coffee, the cloth will turn brown. If the stain is tar, it will rub off with the cloth.

3 Ways to Remove Tar From Your Carpet

If you’ve spilled tar on your carpet, don’t panic. There are plenty of ways to remove tar from the carpet, even if it’s hardened and old. 

Here are 3 ways to remove tar from your carpet:

Chemical Stain Removers

This is the most common way to remove tar from the carpet. Many carpet cleaning companies have special tar removal products that can help lift the tar from the fibers of your carpet. 

Turpentine/Goo Gone

If you’re not in a rush to remove the stain, you can also try a common household cleaning product. Turpentine, also known as paint thinner, can dissolve tar. 

Simply pour a generous amount of turpentine on the stained area and wait for it to work its magic.


An alternative to chemical stain removers is a small amount of detergent. Pour a little detergent on the stain and work it in with a clean white cloth or scrub brush. 

Let the detergent sit for a few minutes, then rinse the area with water.

Responsible-Parent Tips for Avoiding Tar Stains

Kids love to put all manner of things in their mouths. They also love to climb on furniture and explore as they discover the world around them.

If you have small kids or pets, take these tips to heart to avoid tar stains in the future: 

  • Use a Car Cover. If you have a car you don’t drive very often, you should cover it with a car cover. This will keep your car clean and any tar that drips off the road from getting on your car. 
  • Keep Sticky Things Out of Reach of Children. If you have small children, keep all sticky foods out of reach. If your kid’s sticky hand reaches up and grabs a wad of gum off the table, they are much less likely to put it in their mouth.
  • Regularly Vacuum Your Carpet and Upholstery. Vacating your carpet and upholstery regularly is the best way to avoid tar stains. This will remove any dirt, dust, or other particles that could potentially cause a stain.


If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve got a tar stain on your carpet. 

It’s not the end of the world, though. 

These tar stain removal tips will help you get your carpet stain-free in no time. 

Whether you’ve got hardened tar on your car tires or fresh asphalt on the soles of your shoes, these tips should help you remove tar from your carpet. 

Even if you’ve already tried removing the stain with no success, these tips are worth another try.

Call our team to get a free estimate.

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