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Irn-Bru stains on wool carpets

Jan 3, 2024
A WoolSafe Associate Carpet Manufacturer recently contacted WoolSafe for help and advise on how to address some specific staining on their carpets: one of their customers, a Scottish headquartered hotel group had a particular issue with spillages of Irn Bru.

The challenge was not only to remove the stains, but also to find a way to remove them without affecting the colour of the carpet and to put it in an instructional video for the customer.


I was more than happy to help.


I started by looking into the Irn Bru ingredients: “Sunset Yellow FCF”, “Ponceau 4R”, citric acid, etc.

Not only it contains azo dyes, but the presence of citric acid also creates an acidic environment ideal for permanent dyeing (on wool, nylon, silk, etc)


It was obvious that standard carpet spotters wouldn’t remove the foreign dyes, so the only option we were left with was textile bleaches.


Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) – by itself is very slow to react, so not a valid option in this case.


H2O2 accelerated by a UV lamp: this method works well on organic stains but, as expected, it doesn’t affect the Irn Bru dyes;


H2O2 accelerated by ammonia – it certainly works. If anything, it works too well! Its strong reaction has the potential to remove the carpet colours, so it is not a safe option to use for someone not trained in colour repair.


This left us with just the reducing bleaching agents to trial.


Bearing in mind our aim was to provide the customer with the safest method of removing the Irn Bru stains without affecting the carpet colours, I have started with a very light concentration of the mildest reducing bleach.


Several trials later, we found the fine line between removing the foreign dye and affecting the carpet colours. Success!

We also put together a step by step, easy to follow instructional video for the customer.

A shortened version of this video can by seen on YouTube @briocarpetcare.


The same sample of Wilton carpet was stained with Irn Bru again and again, and this process removed the stain safely every single time.

We even repeated the demo a couple of months ago on our Carpet Dyeing and Colour Repair Course in Otley.


The Tartan carpet sample is stain free once again, looking just as good as when the manufacturer sent it.


 If you’d like to learn more about colour repair and how to safely use textile bleaches, our next course is Carpet Dyeing and Colour Repair on the 11th and 12th of July 2024. Enrol on



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