Returning Spots After Carpet Cleaning a Manufacturing Issue?
Returning spots after carpet cleaning is a common complaint often heard in the carpet industry. A homeowner or business owner purchases a carpet that is advertised as stain resistant and with use spots get on the carpet. The consumer either cleans the carpet or has it professionally cleaned. As the carpet dries or days later they have returning spots after carpet cleaning. Should a carpet have returning spots after carpet cleaning?
First lets look at the definition of stain resistance. Def: Stain resistance is the ability inherent in a fiber, or a chemical finish applied to the fiber and/or surface that inhibits specific stains from adhering to or dyeing carpet and fabrics. Returning spots after carpet cleaning have little to do with the carpet fibers ability to resist stains.
Why Are There Returning Spots After Carpet Cleaning?
Returning spots after carpet cleaning are rarely a manufacturing issue. Here are the four common reasons for rapidly returning spots after carpet cleaning.
Wicking is one of the most common result of returning spots. These type of spots usually start out as a spill, splash of soda, coffee or other sugary beverage. The liquid is able to penetrate low into the carpets face yarn, sometimes into the back of the carpet and at times even into the carpet pad. When the carpet is cleaned the spot appears completely removed from the face of the carpet. Often though the spot remains at the base of the fiber, in the pad or back of the carpet. Carpet dries starting at the top and as it dries the moisture moves up from the bottom and with the moisture comes the residue still at the back and thus you have a returning spot after carpet cleaning.
Even with professional cleaning we see a considerable amount of wicking. A technician who is either in a hurry or does not fully understand wicking will run the cleaning equipment over the spot and the spot magically comes out only to return later. Wicking is also the result of the technician using too much moisture to clean the spot. The excessive moisture forces the spot deeper into the carpet, often into the carpets back or the pad below. If the spot is not dried quickly such as with the use of fans the residue wicks back up and again a returning spot after carpet cleaning.
The solution for spot cleaning returning spots is to Applying the spotter to a towel instead of directly to the carpet, re-clean the area using less moisture. Followed by quick drying by using a fan.
Another common reason for returning spots after carpet cleaning is residue in the carpet. Common residues from food and beverage that is dropped, dripped, spilled on the carpet are a major cause of spots. Some carpet spot cleaning solutions, especially homemade from soap leave a residue and cause spots.
When the carpet is cleaned the spot appears to have come out but the sticky residue was not fully removed. Household dust and dirt adhere to the sticky residue which is not fully removed by vacuuming and over time the returning spot keeps getting darker and darker. Oily, sugary, soapy residues will all picks up soil and the result is often dark returning spots after carpet cleaning.
The solution for this type of returning spot is to use a spot cleaning product that leaves minimum residue. If you are not sure of what you should use, purchase the spotter at a janitorial or carpet cleaning supply house. It can also be helpful to neutralize alkaline spot cleaners after. Use a solution of vinegar and water. Mix 2 parts water to one part white vinegar and mist the solution onto the carpet after spot cleaning. Blot with a clean white towel and repeat. The vinegar which is acid will neutralize the spotter which is usually slightly alkaline.
Repeated or Heavy Use
Returning spots after carpet cleaning are often not returning spots. In actuality they are new spots that are similar appearing. This often occurs in areas with pets, children or heavy use such as a family room or employee lunch room.
The solution for spots created in areas of heavy use, may be to offer the area a bit more protection such as using an area rug to protect the wall to wall carpet that notoriously gets spotted.
We love our pets, but like kids, those that we love can be pests. If you have a new puppy or older dog that you are still trying to housebreak or an older dog that drips urinates on the carpet, the residue from the urine will attract soil. You clean the spot and it reappears. Often it is not the same urine for dogs and other pets often urinate in the same area creating a new spot.
When pet owners or their children give their dog treats, left over meal scraps or a bone with a bit of meat or fat on it, the dog may carry it onto the carpet. The grease, oil, sugar or other sticky residue in the scrap of food transfers to the carpet. The residue from the dogs treat is not a treat for the carpet owner as it results in spots that may just become the next returning spots after carpet cleaning.
The solution for pet short of not having any is not feed them on the carpet, potty train dogs, make sure they have plenty of outdoor time and treat any spots just like other returning spots after carpet cleaning.
Hint from Shaw Carpets Technical
Thorough removal of both the stain material and the detergent residue is critical to prevent re-soiling. Water extraction is the best way to accomplish this. Many cleaning equipment manufacturers offer small extraction machines specially designed for spot cleaning. These are small, lightweight and highly portable. They do an excellent job of rinsing after spot cleaning. They are also an excellent way to deal with body fluids on the carpet. Place several layers of white towels on the spot to draw out any remaining moisture. Weight them down with a heavy object that will not transfer color, such as a plastic jug of water.