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Baby bottle laying on carpet with a spill

How to Clean Spilled Milk on Carpet & Fabric

Regardless of the old adage about not crying over spilled milk, it does require attention, and the sooner, the better. The instant that milk has penetrated your carpet or fabric it begins to curdle and turn sour—and in addition to the unpleasant odor it creates, it can also cause staining which may be difficult to remove. Here are some tips from the experts at Molly Maid that can teach you how to clean spilled milk from a variety of surfaces, and leave your home looking and smelling its best. 

Blot It

If you are there to witness the spill, immediately grab one or more paper towels or a clean, white, absorbent cloth, and carefully blot the affected area. Keep working until the cloth or paper towels come away dry, to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. While this applies to both fabric and carpeting, there is a slight variation in the method of application:


Depending on how deep the pile is, the amount of the spill, and the length of time that has passed, the milk may have had time to absorb deep into the fibers and underlayment. If you suspect this is the case, apply pressure to the area to force the milk up out of the padding below and onto your cloth or towel.


If the spill occurs on your upholstered furniture, unzip the cover if possible, and place a second towel or pile of paper towels directly beneath the spill to absorb the liquid and prevent it from penetrating the cushion itself.

Once you have finished blotting the milk take a clean, white, damp cloth and wipe the area repeatedly, following up with a clean, dry towel to absorb any residual moisture.

Wash It

Grab a bowl and add one cup of cold water and several drops of a gentle dishwashing or hand soap and stir lightly to combine. Dip a clean sponge or soft, lint-free cloth into the solution and wring out as much of the liquid as you can until the material is damp, not wet.

Begin working from the outer edge of the spill towards the center, and gently blot and then wipe the stain. Rinse your sponge or cloth frequently until the water runs clear, and finish by rinsing one last time before drying the area with a clean, dry cloth.

Remove Residue

If you happen upon an old spill that has had time to set and dry, you’ll need to remove the residue before you can wash the affected area. Use one of the following methods for best results:


Use a tool such as a credit card, plastic utensil, or other blunt, flexible item, to gently scrape the dried milk from the surface of the fabric. Use slow, deliberate strokes to avoid harming the material, focusing your efforts on the dried matter and periodically sweeping it onto a piece of cardboard or paper before placing it in the trash.


Carefully scrape as much of the dried milk away as you can, and vacuum or pick up the residue and discard. Lightly spray the area with water and apply a paste of laundry soap with a toothbrush. Use a cool, damp cloth to rinse, and wipe the area dry with another clean, dry towel.

Control Odors 

Sour milk has an unpleasant smell, but baking soda is known for its odor-absorbing properties. Generously sprinkle baking soda onto the affected area whether it is wet or dry and leave it overnight. In the morning vacuum the area, using the upholstery attachment for fabric and the floor attachment for carpets.

Molly Maid has provided professional, housecleaning service in the U.S. since 1984. If you’re looking to take cleaning off your to-do list, please contact your local Molly Maid or call us at (800) 654-9647 today for a free estimate!