Why Do Carpet Stains Come Back?
One of the most common complaints customers have when it comes to carpet cleaning is: "Why do the stains come back?"
In this article we are going to discuss a few of the most common reasons a stain might reappear after the carpet has been cleaned and is thoroughly dry.
First of all, a stain is not a spot. A stain is where the carpet fibers have actually been dyed a different color. Kool Aid stains are a good example of this. Here is a good article about the difference between carpet spots and stains.
So this article is actually going to cover the reappearance of spot and stains.
Why Do Stains Come Back?
In most cases stains do not come back. Spots are what usually come back but, for the sake of this article, we'll cover both as if they are the same thing.
The number one reason why spots/stains reappear after the carpet dries is because they were not completely cleaned out to begin with.
If what was causing the spot or stain was thoroughly rinsed from the carpet; there would be no chance the spot/stain could come back!
But here is what usually happens with reappearing spots and stains.
Let's say there was a spill of soda in your carpet. In almost all cases this is going to be very easy to see from the top of the carpet, but not so easy deeper down in the pile.
The carpet cleaner sees the spot/stain and proceeds to clean the carpet and it appears the spot/stain has been cleaned out of the carpet.
But has it really been cleaned out of the carpet?
In most cases the spot/stain has been cleaned from the top half of the fibers, but not the bottom half. And this is where reappearing spots and stains come into play.
There is usually just enough moisture to get down to the base of the carpet, but not enough to totally rinse the spot/stain out of the carpet. So when some of the moisture mixes with the soil in the carpet it has a tendency to wick to the surface during the drying phase.
When the carpet was initially cleaned it appeared the spot/stain was completely gone, but after the drying phase is completed the deeper down soil has wicked to the surface, and you have a reappearing spot/stain.
This is very common.
Can it be avoided?
Yes, in most cases. But there are cases where wicking of soil is very difficult to stop.
The easiest way to stop spots/stains from reappearing is go aggressively clean them out of the carpet in the first place. But, as mentioned, it is not always easy to do.
This leads to the second reason spots and stains reappear.
The spot or stain is not seen from the top of the carpet. The reason for this is that when the spot/stain initially entered the carpet it was cleaned up. It might have been cleaned from the top of the fibers, but it was not cleaned deeper down.
Some of the spot and stain remained in the carpet AFTER spot/stain removal was attempted and it did NOT wick to the surface.
So now the carpet cleaner comes into the home, or place of business, and inspects the carpet and DOES NOT see the spot or stain that is deeper down into the pile.
They have no idea there is even any spot/stain in the carpet because it is not visible to them.
They proceed to clean, but because they have no idea there is even a spot/stain in that area, they are not as aggressive with their cleaning as they would be if they knew there was that spot/stain deeper down in the pile.
The carpet cleaner manages to get some moisture to the spot/stain but not enough to rinse it out. And now that water AND the spot/stain proceed to wick to the surface during the drying phase and you have a spot/stain that appears - when it appeared there wasn't even a spot/stain to begin with!
These are the types of spots/stains the keep cleaners awake at night.
This is one reason why it is important for the carpet cleaner to ask the customer about any known spots/stains or any areas where the customer had a spot or stain but tried to clean it up themselves.
The third reason for reappearing spots/stains is actually NOT that a spot/stain reappears. It is because the area that was treated for spots/stains was NOT rinsed properly of the cleaning agents that were used on the spot/stain.
This is very common and a sign of poor carpet cleaning.
All cleaning agents should be thoroughly rinsed from the carpet. If not, many times the remaining cleaning agents can actually leave a sticky residue that attracts soil. In just a matter of a few days the area that was not rinsed properly can attract soil and make it appear a spot/stain reappeared.
The spot/stain did NOT reappear! It is new spot or stain.
And the fourth reason you might be reappearing spots/stains is a combination of the first three causes of reappearing spots/stains.
So here is how to GREAT reduce the chances of reappearing spot/stains:
1. Communicate with the cleaner problem areas you have had in the carpet, even if you can no longer see spots/stains there.
2. Use a carpet cleaner that uses rotary jet extraction. Instead of making 30 cleaning passes a minute, a rotary jet extraction tool makes over 600 cleaning passes a MINUTE!
The chance of the carpet being rinsed thoroughly is much greater with rotary jet extraction.
3. Make sure the carpet cleaner is willing to come back if you have any issues with recurring spots/stains. Most are willing to come back and reclean the area, but not all.
The bottom line is this:
All carpet cleaners that have ever lived have had an occassion, or two, when spots/stains reappear in the customers carpet. Sometimes it is their fault, other times it is not their fault. It just something that happens at times.
But the carpet cleaner should be willing to come back to your home, or place of business, and address any issue you have.
That is just part of good customer service and a good carpet cleaning company.
Linton's Carpet Cleaning
For the absolute best carpet cleaning in Vancouver, Washington, and the surrounding areas, please give us a call today.
We will be happy to schedule a carpet cleaning that is convenient for you and/or answer any questions you have about our carpet cleaning service.