Why has my rug gone yellow?

Have you ever noticed an unsightly yellow patch on your rug? Maybe, unfathomably, it’s appeared after cleaning; perhaps it’s slowly developed over time; or you might know exactly who the culprit is, as even well-trained pets can have little accidents.

There are several reasons why yellowing can occur on a rug.

Here are seven of the most common and how to avoid them:


Everyday Carpet Stains

When dust, dirt, debris, and even pet urine accumulate on your rug or carpet, yellow stains can appear and be difficult to remove if left untreated.

In terms of dirt, a vacuum is your rug’s best friend, especially in high-foot-traffic areas where particles become more ingrained.

Whereas, liquid spills should be soaked up immediately with an absorbent chamois

Urine damage, however, requires specialist treatment at a purpose-built rug cleaning facility like Premium Rug Cleaning, to eradicate the non-water soluble uric acid crystals that bond to rug fibres and are to blame for those pungent recurring odours.


Sometimes, stains absorb deep into the rug fibres. When you steam-clean your rug at home, you’re only able to clean the top layer because of the limitations imposed by the rug’s thickness and size. After a few days, the dirt in the underlying fibres can travel up and the stain will reappear on the same spot — this is called wicking.

Only off-site cleaning with industrial equipment such as a Tornado Water Bath can fully immerse rugs to eradicate these deep stains.

Chemical Yellowing

Certain chemical detergents and spot cleaners can react with the composition of rug fibres. Any detergents with high amounts of alkaline or pH can result in yellow stains. 

Avoid this by only using products that are specifically for rugs like Wonderspot Cleaner.


This occurs when rugs or carpets are overexposed to sunlight or off-gassing (airborne chemical release) from home furnishings. Over time, the carpet fibres degrade and a yellow stain forms.

Also, most rugs and carpets have a high quantity of yellow dye in them and exposing them to sunlight can cause the other colours to fade, therefore revealing the yellow tint that can become more obvious after cleaning.

Stain-resistant Finishes

Some stain-resistant finishes used to include silicone — a polymer that degrades and oxidises when exposed to heat, light, and chemicals. As the silicone protector is exposed to all these elements, oxidation occurs, and it turns yellow.

Carpet yellowing is especially common in stain-resistant nylon carpets with silicone protectors.

Household Products

Products like furniture polish, insecticides, household bleaches, and even indoor plant fertilisers, can react with your rug and turn it yellow. This is because some of these products contain benzoyl peroxide, which creates a yellowish stain, sometimes with an orange ring around it. In blue carpets, the stain can be pink or whitish.


Smoking indoors can lead to permanent yellow stains on furnishings due to sticky tar buildup. Nicotine stains are challenging to remove and can ruin the carpet fibres altogether.

What to do if it’s too late?

If the damage is done, the best way to restore your rug is with a trip to the professionals at Premium Rug Cleaning, in Onehunga, Auckland. Either drop by or utilise their free pick-up service for an expert damage assessment and revival plan to clean up those cowardly yellow stains. 

Final thoughts

If all else fails, Premium Rug Cleaning‘s complementary business Premium Carpet Dying can endeavour to dye your rug back to its original colours or apply a darker shade to mask any yellowing that can’t be removed. Feel free to call them with any questions. 

Better still, minimise damage and fading, by treating your rugs and carpets with Premium Surface Protection’s Mircoseal or Fiber ProTector products. 

All of the above services are offered under the Premium Rug and Carpet care banner, by owners Brad and Guna, who together, care for your furnishings as much as you do.


If you are looking for a rug cleaning pick-up service near you, and you are in Auckland, click to book or request a quote