Did you just clean your carpet, and it looked perfect while it was still damp, but now that it’s dry, that stain you thought had disappeared came right back?
This is a common post-cleaning situation known as reappearing or wicking stains. It’s caused when matter from a prior spill has dried deep down at the base of the carpet pile and is especially common after do-it-yourself cleaning attempts. So, after cleaning, you may have had the visible area looking spot-free, but the old problem was still lurking at the bottom – now free to rise to the surface.
Once the matter in the base of your carpet becomes wet during a thorough cleaning, it travels back up the surface fibers, right to the top. This can be caused by several factors, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
You can take use these follow-up steps yourself to remove most or all this reappearing stain. Just lightly moisten the surface and blot with an absorbent white towel. The best way is to mist it, cover it with a towel, and then put something heavy on top. After about half an hour, remove the towel to see how it turned out. Repeat as needed with a clean towel until it’s completely out. Remember, if it becomes too wet again, it may rise to the surface, and you’ll have to start over.
An alternative is to use a carpet spot remover solution. Any time you purchase a cleaning solution to use on your carpet, make sure to test an inconspicuous area to make sure it doesn’t do any damage. If everything looks good and it hasn’t changed the color of your carpet in the test area, use it as directed for the stained area. Remember, some carpet spotters claim to remove most stains, but many times that’s because they use harsh chemicals that not only remove the stain, but also the color from your carpet as well.
Certain types of carpet fibers allow for more aggressive cleaners. For example, if your carpet is made from SmartStrand fibers or polyester, not much can damage the color. Other carpets like those made from Nylon can still be cleaned well but might be more susceptible to color loss from using the wrong product. You should be especially careful if you’re trying to clean natural fibers like wool, sisal, or cotton. These fibers can stain easily and be damaged from improper cleaning methods or products. For these natural fibers it’s usually best to do what you can with a drop of dishwashing detergent in warm water and blotting rather than going straight to a carpet spotter purchased from your local hardware store.
It’s usually best to call a professional carpet cleaner that knows the right cleaning solutions, water temperature, and techniques to get the best results. The carpet cleaning machine you can rent at the local grocery store doesn’t have the power that a truck-mounted machine can provide. Not only will a professional machine provide the hot water necessary for proper cleaning, but the powerful vacuum used in the process can keep your carpet from being over-wet, minimizing chances that any stains will reappear.
Even if you live in an apartment and the professional carpet cleaner will need to use portable equipment to do the job, it’s usually many times stronger than what’s available to most consumers. Usually having the job done right by a professional can save time, money, and headache.
If you have any doubts about trying to clean your own carpet and removing post-cleaning stains, be sure to contact Ayoub N&H for a deep cleaning done by trained technicians in Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia.