How Carpet Cleaners Handle Stains



Often times when professional carpet cleaners are called upon to take care of stains or spots in carpets the first question will inevitably be “can you get it out”? If the first response out of the tech’s mouth is a resounding “yes”, then you might want to look into hiring someone else. The truth of the matter is not all stains are removable. The person you hire should always tell you that up front. The better response would be  “let’s take a look at it and if it can be removed, we have what it takes to get it out”.

Most dark colored, brown or black, spots are sugar or oil based. These can be removed 90% of the time. Stains in this category include colas, tea, coffee, and non-red juices. With cola stains a traffic lane cleaner is usually the way to go and will take care of the problem almost always. Tea and coffee are sometimes a little more difficult and may require an acid rinse in conjunction with the traffic lane cleaner. Juices like apple or orange are relatively easy to get out. The problems occur when you get into the red juices such as grape or cranberry, especially on light carpets. Red juices fall into the red dye category and sometimes the only way to get those out is a heat transfer dye process. This process is usually reserved as a last resort and even then there are no guarantees.

So what about stains such as blood, vomit, and urine? Well these, like all stains, need to be addressed quickly. The sooner you get them removed the better. The trick with blood is to not clean it with hot water or alkaline cleaning products. You might think you’re helping the carpet tech out by trying to remove some of the stain yourself but these treatments will actually set the blood into the carpet. Your best bet is to leave it to the professional. Vomit and urine are similar in that they are removed through a process. And it is very important to get urine up as soon as possible. The longer it stays the more it will continue to deteriorate the carpet. These types of spots are usually removed by utilizing a pre-treatment that breaks down the stain. Then the spot is thoroughly extracted. These steps will be repeated as necessary and afterwards an enzyme is sprayed that will continue to break the spot down.

Sometimes you can get stains through no fault of your own. These would include stains from yellowing, water rings, and filtration soiling. Yellowing is one of those stains that can either be easily neutralized or impossible to remove. It is very common and can be treated with citric acid or an acid rinse. Water rings are also sometimes hit or miss. They are treated with traffic lane cleaner or an acid rinse. Filtration soiling is usually found in hallways near air conditioning units or where the carpet meets the baseboards. These are black lines that are caused by the carpet “filtering” soil. Getting rid of these stains requires using a special spotter and manually scrubbing the area with a towel. Due to the extra labor involved, this process may cost a bit more than you would like. 

The bottom line is that there are no guarantees with spot removal. What seems like an easy to remove stain could prove terribly difficult, and vice versa. But if approached correctly and in a timely manner your odds of getting rid of that nasty spot can increase greatly.