How To Remove Tar From Carpet And Upholstery

It’s hot and sweaty work to lay down roof tar or pavement. Tar stains can be difficult to remove, regardless of whether you are doing home repairs or if you accidentally spill tar on your carpet. You will also need to get rid of the oil and resin that it left behind. You can use items in your home to remove tar. Do not dry tar-stained items in a dryer as high heat can cause permanent damage. To prevent inhaling fumes from wet tar, always wear gloves and a mask. Do not use home dry-cleaning products to remove tar stains.



Stain Type
Resin-based, oil-based

Detergent Type

Water Temperature

When should you call a professional?

Your garment that has tarnished should be cleaned only if it is labeled as dry clean only. You should not attempt to remove the stain on vintage or silk upholstery.  Healthy Carpets always recommends using a natural cleaning agent, maybe with citrus/orange peels.  Your going to want to call a professional like Healthy Carpets when and if the tar starts to bleed through the fibers. 

How to remove tar from upholstery

What you'll need to remove the tar

       Equipment / Tools


  • Scraper or dull knife
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Washing machine
  • Gloves
  • Mask for the face

Carpet and Upholstery

  • Scraper or dull knife
  • Cloths and white paper towels
  • Vacuum
  • Gloves
  • Mask for the face



  • Stain remover or laundry detergent that is heavy-duty
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: Oxygen-based bleach

Carpet and Upholstery

  • Ice cubes
  • Commercial dry-cleaning solvent

How to Get Rid of Tar Stains from Clothes

How to remove tar from carpets

At-home methods can be used to remove tar stains, but you may need to clean the clothes several times until the stain disappears.  Tar can be very difficult to remove and sometime may require a professional like Healthy Carpets to remove the tar from your carpets and or upholster.  Citrus is one of the main substances used to remove tar, Natural Force acts as a degreaser and breaks down the tar for easy removal. 

  1. The Tar should be hardened

    To harden the tar, place ice cubes in a plastic bag. Use a dull knife or the edge from a credit card to remove as much solid tar as you can once the tar has hardened.

  2. Use stain remover

    After you have removed the tar, treat the oily part of the stain using an enzyme-based pre-treater or stain removal . Use a soft-bristled brush to apply the stain remover. Allow it to penetrate the fabric for at most 15 minutes.

  3. Use Heavy-Duty Detergent

    Use a strong-duty liquid detergent with sufficient stain-removing enzymes, or a paste of powdered detergent water. Use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the stain. Rinse in hot water. The garment’s care label will advise to wash the fabric in the highest water. Tide and Persil are recommended detergent brands.

  4. Color Problems

    Combine a solution of organic-based bleach with cool water. Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach or Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach is recommended. For information on how much product you should add to a gallon of water, refer to the instructions. Allow the garment to soak for 8 hours. Wash as usual if the stain has disappeared. Repeat the process of soaking.


Do not attempt to remove tar when it is still wet. You will only make it more difficult to get into the fibers.

Removing tar from carpets and upholstery

How to Remove Tar Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

To avoid over-wetting your fabric, use as little solution as possible when removing tar from upholstery. Mold and mildew can be caused by excess moisture in cushion padding.  Contact us professionally to get the best carpet cleaning tips and get your carpets looking fresh and feeling soft again. 

  1. The Tar should be hardened

    To harden the tar, place ice cubes in a plastic bag. Use a dull knife or the edge a credit card’s edge to remove as much solid tar from carpet fibers as possible after the tar has hardened. All pieces that are not completely removed should be vacuumed.

  2. The Stain Must Be Treated

    Use a dry-cleaning solvent to remove any remaining stains. Use the solution to dampen a white towel or clean cloth. Start at the outer edge of the stain and work your way inwards, using the cleaning solution to sponge the stain. Blot the stain until no more tar is visible. Dry it in a dry, ventilated area.

  3. Blot

    To remove any residue of the cleaning solution, soak a clean, white cloth in water. This is important as any residue of cleaning solution can attract dirt. After blotting the stain with a dry, clean cloth, let the carpet air dry. Vacuum the carpet fibers to lift the stain.

Additional Tips to Handle Tar Stains

You can also add baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to a small amount of detergent to clean the stain. If you don’t have enough ice to harden the wet tar, you could use frozen vegetables from your fridge to apply to the stain. However, be sure to dispose of it after you are done. Use a baking soda paste to clean any tar that may have formed on your skin. Bandage and disinfect any areas of skin that aren’t healed. If the tar stain remains, you should be able remove it at home. However, if it persists, contact a professional to get more specific guidance.