Brake fluid can transfer to the carpet in a vehicle, home or business from a wide range of sources, including contaminated shoes or clothing and leaky storage containers. Although brake fluid stains at first glance might seem like a tough task to tackle—especially on light-colored carpets—removing fresh or old brake fluid from carpet typically isn't difficult, as long as you use a carpet or upholstery shampoo and a wet-vacuum cleaner to break up, dissolve and clean away the stains.
Things You'll Need
Carpet or upholstery shampoo
Wet vacuum cleaner
Regular vacuum cleaner
Oil remover (optional)
Place a dry, lint-free microfiber cloth on the brake fluid stain if fresh. Lightly press on the cloth to try to absorb as much of the fluid as possible.
Mix the carpet or upholstery shampoo with water to make a solution, per the cleaner manufacturer's instructions.
Apply the solution to another lint-free microfiber cloth. Pre-treat the brake fluid stain with the solution by lightly blotting the stain with the cloth.
Vacuum the stained area using your carpet or upholstery cleaner, using the wet vacuum cleaner. Press the spray trigger on your cleaner to lightly spray shampoo solution on the stained area, brush the carpet with the soft-bristled brush to help break up the fluid, then vacuum the solution and brake fluid into the cleaner.
Run the wet vacuum cleaner back and forth over the carpet to pull as much water as possible from it, then allow the carpet to air-dry completely. Wait at least 12 hours and then dry vacuum the entire carpet, using the regular vacuum cleaner, to remove any dry solution residue potentially trapped in its threads or surface.
If you have difficulty removing the brake fluid, treat or remove the stain with an oil remover product and then repeat Step 4 and 5 to clean the stained area and carpet.
Always spot test your carpet when using a stain or oil remover to confirm that the cleaner won't cause carpet dye fading or bleeding.
Never rub a brake fluid stain harshly, as you can push the brake fluid deeper into the carpet, potentially causing damage to the floor beneath. Brake fluid contains ingredients that can dissolve carpet adhesive, floor paint and sealants.
Never saturate your carpet with the carpet shampoo solution, as too much water can spread the brake fluid into clean areas of the carpet or the floor beneath. In addition, water can damage carpet and carpet padding or cause mold if the carpet doesn't dry quickly.