Why do stains keep coming back in my carpet after I have them cleaned?
Have you ever went through the frustration of having the same spot or stain return just within a short span of having your carpet cleaned? Maybe you spot cleaned it yourself or hired a professional carpet cleaning company, but the stain just keeps coming back.
After cleaning a spot or stain from your carpet there are times where it will return just shortly after the carpet dries. This is most often a result of "wicking" which will be discussed below. At other times the spots and stains come back after the passing of a few weeks. This is most often referred to as "rapid resoiling". In either case, it can be very irritating to see spots and stains re-occur on a carpet that you just cleaned yourself or had professionally cleaned. If this is your situation then, you are not the only one. Recurring spots and stains are very common and there really is a logical answer to why this happens.
The two primary causes of re-spotting are wicking and rapid resoiling.
The first one starts in the pad or backing of the carpet underneath the carpet fiber, while the other one starts in the fiber of the carpet themselves from soap residues that have been left behind.
Stains that reemerge because of wicking start beneath the carpet itself. If you just recently cleaned a spot or had a professional out and the spot was removed but then came back after the carpet dried, the reason for this is - wicking. To give you an example of how wicking occurs, suppose you spill a cup of coffee or perhaps you found a pet urine accident on your carpet by your family pet and immediately you grab your favorite cleaner and a rag and the spot comes right out. That seems to be the end of it right? Not necessarily. Often times what happens is that the liquid works its way past the carpet fiber, down to the backing of the carpet and often times even into the cushion itself. The Stain is now trapped under the carpet surface and can be very difficult to get out. When you clean the carpet fibers the stain that is trapped below will keep wicking its way back through the carpet over and over again.
Solutions for wicking
There are a few solutions you can follow to remove contaminates that has found its way into your carpet backing or pad.
1. Perform a heat transfer using a vinegar and water mixture, white terry-cloth towel, and common household cloths iron. Follow this link for instructions.
2. Soak the area with a cleaning agent and water, enough to get down into the carpet pad, then apply pressure with a white terry-cloth towel to absorb the liquid from underneath.
3. Pull the carpet back, remove the carpet pad, install new carpet pad and clean the backing of the carpet.
If you feel the area is too large or is located in an area to difficult to replace the pad yourself, you may want to contact your local carpet care professional to complete the task. Often times they have the proper equipment, experience and cleaners to make the job easier and can achieve more effective results.
2. Rapid Re-soiling (Residue left behind)
Rapid resoiling is a result of using an over the counter carpet cleaning product or soapy detergent that has left a residue behind that is not easily rinsed out of the carpet. Not a lot of carpet cleaners that are sold at your local department stores have the purpose of taking the stain out and keeping it out. Most often these types of cleaners are not free rinsing and only add to the problem. The carpet stain comes out easily enough but the residue caused by store bought cleaners or detergents will attract dirt because of its sticky nature.
If you had your carpet cleaned recently and seems they are getting dirty just within a few weeks there is a good possibility the carpet cleaner you picked used a detergent based carpet cleaner to clean with. It doesn't make since but carpet cleaning companies are under no regulations what so ever and can use any cleaning product of choice. Just like the store bought cleaner analogy, there are some carpet cleaning companies who's only concern is getting the carpet clean, not how long it will stay clean.
Solution for Rapid Resoiling
1. When spot cleaning your carpet use a non-residual carpet cleaning spotter that is not detergent based as soon as the stain occurs. One such product you can purchase is Procyon Carpet Cleaner. There are others on the market to choose from, just be sure to do your research and remember a non-detergent cleaner is the way to go.
2. Have your carpet cleaned by a professional carpet cleaning company that uses detergent free products. To get a good start on maintaining your carpet yourself consider hiring a professional to give your home a good once-over. First make sure they use detergent free products. Second, make sure they have the proper kind of carpet cleaning equipment that will thoroughly rinse your carpet clean after removing the carpet stains.
These are the two most common reasons for why a spot or stain will keep coming back after cleaning your carpet. Let us know about your experience by leaving a comment below. What type of stain did you have difficulty with and how did you resolve the problem?
Carpet Renovations, Inc. | Carpet Cleaning Service | 11672 E 51st Street Tulsa, Oklahoma 74146 | (918) 437-1956 | Website: www.carpetrenovations.com
Hey, I just read out your blog, it's quite interesting and informative thank you for sharing it, if you can search rug doctor detergent, you can buy from Express cleaning supplies they supply a range of carefully selected cleaning & hygiene products at affordable prices.
Hey Paul - thanks for another great blog post! I appreciate how you made a point for a customer to be aware of what kind of cleaning products their carpet cleaner is using. Agreed that detergents do leave behind residue that can cause dirt and grime to accumulate more rapidly. It's best for customers to request a fresh water rinsing of their carpet after the service, as you mentioned at the end of your article. Looking forward to more of your posts, thanks a ton again Paul!