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Cleaning Stains From Carpets (Part II)

By Luke Armstrong

Even after a good and thorough cleanup, stains still remain on carpets and reappear. This happens when there is too much residue even after cleaning the area. The residue is usually leftover from the cleaning agent, which is a sticky alkaline and there is soil sticking onto it. You can imagine what happens to your hair when you are washing it and you only manage to rinse half of the shampoo. It’s the same that happens to your carpet after you’ve treated it with cleaning detergent. Any residue acts like a magnet to dirt, grime, dust and hair and the carpet gets even more buildup, thus becoming dirtier much quicker.

Cleaning CarpetWhen you see a nasty stain on the carpet or you cause a spill, your first thought is to use a powerful alkaline cleaner – ideally in a spray bottle. You spray the area with too much product (thinking more product equals faster and better results), the stain starts to fade and soon it’s completely gone. You are happy that you have saved your carpet, but what you don’t know that the cleaner is still on your carpet. The product residue is a great enemy to every carpet and the way it looks and feels. It penetrates the fibers and when it’s too much it simply starts damaging the entire texture of the carpet. A big problem is spilling too much soap and water on a carpet and not rinsing well after. The soap residue has a bad effect on the carpet.

There are some solutions for this common problem. When there is a small residue spot on the carpet, the number one rule is to use the right cleaning solution. Don’t experiment with new products and don’t try mixing two products. One of the ways to ruin a carpet is by using an ineffective cleaning solution and using a lot of it. There are different kinds of stains and they are combination of various chemicals, which need specific treatment. When using an alkaline stain remover you need to rinse the carpet well afterwards. Don’t forget to neutralize the area with an acidic solution too. Mix half a cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of warm water and pour the solution over the area you’ve been cleaning. Blot to dry with a clean cloth and then rinse well.

If there has been a large spill of soap over the carpet, you need a more powerful solution. The best result you can get is with a steam cleaner. Rent a portable one and use the hose attachment for upholstery cleaning. Mix a gallon of water with two cups of white vinegar, then fill up the machine tank and spray over the “soapy” area. You have to do these multiple times until the soap starts coming out of the carpet. The soap will foam up the steam cleaner quickly so keep adding a little amount of vinegar.

If there is residue from carpet cleaner after a professional cleanup, make sure you call the carpet cleaners and ask them to fix the problem as soon as possible. The solution is pouring vinegar or another neutralizing product on the area.

One of the good solutions for stains reappearing on the carpet is wicking. If the stain is already deep into the fibers it gets quite hard to clean it completely. Even if you manage to clean the visible part, there will still be a hidden stain underneath. If you want to get rid of a large spill, use a white cotton rag to place on top of it while it’s still damp. Place some heavy books on top of the cloth – this way the stain will wick through the fibers and onto the white cloth. This procedure often has to be done multiple times.

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