Making Small Stains / Burns / Holes in Carpet As If They Never Happened




Even when we try our hardest to be careful, we are all bound to do some small damage to our carpets. I mean, come on. How can you actually expect something that covers the entire floor you walk on to stay spotless. The force of nature, gravity in this case, is quite literally working against you constantly and I think we all know that gravity always wins. As certainly as apples will fall from trees your carpet will get stained, burned, or cut at some point. Thankfully, these imperfections are usually small and can be easily fixed as I will demonstrate.

First off, a word of caution. This technique will not work for areas larger than about a square inch. This is for small, unsightly imperfections that detract from an otherwise good looking carpet. Also, it is highly advisable to attempt to remove a stain with stain remover first before attempting this fix.

I recently helped a friend move into a new place and there were a couple of burn marks in the living room carpet which I fixed and have documented one such fix here. The supplies you will need are as follows:

1) Small piece of extra carpet that matches the area to be fixed. I was fortunate to have extra carpet available from installation. If you are ever installing new carpet, always keep some scarps! If you don't have this good fortune you can use a utility knife to remove small bit of carpet from a hidden location such as a corner inside the closet or something.

2) A utility knife

3) A pair of scissors

4) Carpet stain remover spray

5) A scrub brush. Note that the bristles on the brush MUST be plain white (or in other words, have no colored dyes). If you use a brush with a stripe of blue, green, or whatever colored bristles you are very likely to stain that area of the rug that you scrub as some of the dye.

6) Super glue (I have used super glue for my demonstration and have had no issues in my experience. However, a better alternative as suggested by Tisu Tinker would be to use a silicone or latex based adhesive which can be purchased at any good hardware store. As Tisu explains in the comment section, super glue dries hard and can leave crunchy bits on the carpet around the fix if you are not very careful in making sure to keep it only on the back side of the plug. Silicone and latex adhesives are more rubbery and forgiving in this manner. Another point he made is that some carpets contain synthetics which can be partially dissolved by the solvent in the super glue. I haven't experienced any issue of this sort with carpet but I have definitely see the effect when using super glue on plastic pieces. In summary, either be very careful in making sure that your super glue does not get on your carpet fibers or use a more forgiving silicone or latex adhesive. Thanks for the great feedback Tisu! It seems to me that hot glue may also be another reasonable adhesive to use. I will try using one of these on my next fix!)

7) Paper towels

Of course I take no responsibility for any damages you cause by using these instructions. However, the process is very simple as you will see and gives outstanding results in my experience. Let's get started!

Step 1: Excise the Offending Area

The first step is to cut out the damaged area. Yes, things will get worst before they get better. Using your utility knife, cut as close to the edges of the damaged region as you can. You want the area of removed material to be as small as possible. Try to pull back the good carpet fibers as you make the cut. When you are done the hole should look about like the picture and the remaining carpet fibers will tend to fan over some of the excised region.

If you have padding under the carpet, DO NOT remove it from the cut area. We will be replacing the removed area with a plug of good carpet and we want to make sure that the plug is level with its surroundings.

Step 2: Cut a Plug of Carpet to Fit Your Hole

The next step is to cut out a small plug of carpet to fit our hole. Take your scissors and cut out a piece as close to the same size and shape as your hole. I suggest cutting the plug out of your scrap a little larger than needed and the trimming it down to size using your scissors. Pull off any loose fibers at the edge of the plug as you go. Periodically insert your plug into the hole to check the fit and make small adjustments until you are content.

Step 3: Align Your Plug and Glue It In

Once you have made your plug the right size we need to affix it in the hole. First, turn your plug over and look for the direction of the weave. Because of the way carpet is made, the fibers will have a tendency to lay in a certain direction. You want to match the weave direction in the plug to that of the carpet as well as possible to give the best final results. Usually, the weave directions will be aligned with the walls of the room, so align the weave direction in you plug to match this as I have shown.

Next, apply a generous amount of superglue to the underside of your plug. Smear it around a little with the tip of the applicator to get good coverage and then insert the plug into the hole using the correct orientation. Apply pressure to the plug for 20-30 seconds so that the underside is in good contact with the floor of the hole and the glue form a bond across the entire contact area.

Already your fix should be looking pretty good. Let the plug sit for 10-15 minutes to let the glue set up fully.

Step 4: Blend the Fixed Area to Its Surroundings

The last step is to blend the plug in with its surroundings. The first step here is to test you stain remover spray on your carpet. Pick an innocuous location like in the closet or somewhere out of sight and test you stain remover there following the manufacturer's instructions. You want to make sure that the spray is safe to use on your carpet before applying it to a prime location. Once you have made sure that that adversely affect your carpet (bleach, stain, ignite, etc.) you can safely use if one you're plug.

Spray the plug and its surrounding region with the stain remover. Use the scrub brush to work it through the fibers. First scrub left to right and then up and down. Also scrub in circles. The idea is to blend the fibers in both their direction and color. In my case, I used a small piece of new carpet which was a bit cleaner than the surrounding so the color was not a perfect match. This set will take care of that.

With the area blended you  should now use your paper towels to blot the area dry. Let the area dry and presto! Your carpet will be as good as new and even someone with their face a foot from the floor would be hard pressed to ever notice the fix.

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    13 Discussions


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks a lot! I know this info has served me well for many years and it was time to pass it on.

    Tisu Tinker

    5 years ago

    Due to my father & husband owning & operating a flooring business I've helped install carpet & flooring for just over 20 years now. I have to say this is a fairly good way to make a repair, but may I suggest you use something a bit more pliable than super glue. Something with silicone or a bit of latex would work better. (found easily at most hardware stores). Two reasons for this suggestion. 1. Most super glues will dry hard & you may end up with what feels like a crunchy/rocky spot. And 2. Many super glues can and will melt synthetic materials.. (which most carpets contain nowadays)

    2 replies
    DrRhodesTisu Tinker

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I am going to update the instructable to make this point so that those reading it will be more likely to see it and benefit than here in the comments.

    DrRhodesTisu Tinker

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, great suggestion! I have used this technique for a dozen or so with maybe 5 different carpets with no issue but making sure that the super glue did not get on the fibers was always a concern. I hadn't considered the solvent in the super glue dissolving parts of the carpet since it is only applied to the back side, evaporates rather quickly, and isn't a large volume to begin with. I certainly see your point though and I will absolutely try using some silicone based adhesive next time. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! Cheers!


    2 years ago

    Just a tip, for stains, always try plain water before you use anything else. anything you add to the carpet becomes a magnet for dirt. As for your instructable, great job!! Im sure there are many people with this problem. Thank you for sharing. Now, can you help me get a burn mark out of my wood floor. lol

    When I was young (a long time ago) I used to work with my cousin doing steam cleaning, fire damage and water damage repairs for carpet. When joining carpets we used a product that is paper backed with a hot glue applied to it. You then use what is essentially an industrial iron. It has a handle set back further and goes under the carpet and is flat. You pull that along the paper and it heats the glue and joins the carpet. I don't know the technical name for it but the long and short of it is this, you can improvise this yourself easily. Take a piece of packing paper banding (the sort you see with nylon thread through it not just the plain paper). Apply some hot glue to that. Place that in the hole (the piece should larger than the hole so fold it up and put it in there. Then take a hot iron (be careful not to burn your carpet) and iron over it until the glue melts. Viola! you have a professional seam. Also of note if before you try this fix you really should give the old crayon trick a try first. That is bleach the area, find a crayon that matches your carpet color or matches the best you can (test on the spare carpet you had) and then rub the crayon in vigorously, take an old toothbrush and really work it in (don't tear up the fiber but get it in there good). Take an iron and run that over it a bit to seal it in. If you do a poor job of that then patch it.

    1 reply

    Oh and by doing it the way I describe above the size is of no consequence you can do it as large an area as you want but if you are doing larger areas use a kick tool or an improvised version of that to tension the carpet so you don't cause wrinkles which will wear the carpet prematurely and likely break the seam or rip it somewhere else.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    I would love to use this, but the burn in my carpet is about the size of a baseball...

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    All I can say is that I've never fixed a spot that big. I've gone up to about an inch and a half diameter spot with good success. I don't know of any other way to fix a hole like that except to replace the whole carpet and even a slightly imperfect fix is better than a huge burn mark. Personally, I would give it a shot but since I haven't tried that big it's beyond what I can recommend. If you do it let me know how it works and be sure to align the carpet plug to minimize the appearance of any seam.