getting stains out of carpet

Carpet Cleaning – Why You Have Carpet Spots

It seems getting stains out of carpet is a popular mystery. I was standing in line at a local grocery store today where there was a lady in front of me talking to the cashier about carpet cleaning. Her items included several carpet cleaning products, a bottle of vinegar, and a very puzzled look on her face.

She was explaining that she was trying to get some pet stains and odors out of her carpet. Both of them were passing tips back and forth that they had heard were good ways of cleaning carpets. It was obvious that they were both confused by all of the so-called “advice” that had been given. Not one to miss out on an opportunity to help, I jumped into the conversation with both feet and explained to them what was really going on. About 20 minutes later, they both thanked me for the information and the lady who was buying the products even followed me into the parking lot, continuing to ask questions.

There are many carpet cleaning methods. But, it is amazing to me how many people do not understand the basics of carpet cleaning. Here are some things to keep in mind if you are dealing with getting stains out of carpet. These will work for you whether you are a homeowner, trying to clean up pet stains or clean carpets for a living.

The world of carpet cleaning is a crowded space. There seems to be no shortages of services, equipment and methods. Homeowners and businesses alike, spend millions of dollars each month in an attempt to maintain and clean carpet. All that money spent, in most cases, goes to waste. Instead it, creates health hazards, safety issues and worst of all, dirtier carpet.

Getting Stains Out of Carpet

Everyone is looking for the quick fix to maintaining carpet but in reality, there isn’t one. Carpet cleaning is not a one-time event, but should be viewed as an ongoing process of maintenance and up keep.

Carpet Cleaning Chemicals – Too Much and Too Many

The first mistake most make when cleaning carpet, it to use too many or too much carpet cleaning chemical. This is because there are so many.

There are probably twice as many carpet cleaning chemicals on the market than there are types of carpet. Everyone has been taught that you need to use pre-spray, de-browner, extraction cleaner, neutralizer, de-foamer, brightener, sanitizer and then a de-odorizor. Then you can apply a stain fighter or carpet protector, but when that fails you need several more chemicals to address specific stains and spots too.

That is a lot of chemical to pump into what is basically fabric! Most of those chemicals are sticky, even when diluted. After you have carpets cleaned, they are wet, right? Put your hand on that wet, clean carpet. Now let your hand dry and tell me what it feels like. Tacky? That’s how your carpet is too.

The over use of chemicals are viewed as a short cut to removing dirt, but in fact, they will cause the accumulation of even more dirt. This stickiness stays with the carpet, covering over or even removing the stain fighting abilities that are built into carpet at the mill. The carpets may appear clean at first, but in a very short amount of time, the dirt begins to accumulate much quicker than it did before.

Even worse, when you need to clean them again, you will be battling the sticky residue. These are left from the last time you cleaned along with the dirt that it is holding.

Carpet Cleaning Chemicals – Are You Using The Wrong Ones?

The other mistake that is made is the wrong chemicals are used. You must know what you are dealing with before you can select the proper chemical to remove it. Take the popular problem people have with pet stains, mainly dog and cat urine. The stains that are a result of Fido’s accident are not caused by the urine itself. The stain comes from the liquid moving soil that is already in the carpet. Try it for yourself. Take a glass of water and pour it on your carpet all in one spot. The water is clean, but when it dries, there is a ring where the water stopped spreading.

The other factor in the stain comes when urine dries. Since the urine is alkaline, it is sticky, just like the carpet cleaning shampoo. This is where vinegar actually works. Because it is acidic, the vinegar neutralizes the alkaline urine, which then releases the urine to be rinsed away with water. If you do not rinse and remove this mixture, you will end up with odor, which is another issue entirely.

Getting stains out of carpet isn’t really all that difficult as long as you don’t just rely on carpet cleaning chemicals. Less is always better.

9 replies
      • Constantin
        Constantin says:

        I bought the Little Green the day after we adpoted a puppy. Although it does a sufficient job suctioning accidents out of carpeting, I would not recommend it. Positives: Good at absorbing spills or other liquids from carpeting Compact and easy to store Negatives: Dirty water pools in the bottom of the unit under the tank that collects the dirty water. The unit then leaks the dirty water out the bottom while using it. It is extremely difficult to clean. The dirty water never seems to be fully emptied even after taking the entire unit and dumping it upside down. It smells horrible! Even emptying it immediately after every use has not prevented it from smelling awful while using the machine. I think this is because the dirty water is never fully emptied. Hot, soapy water suctioned up after a clean up has not helped to remove the lingering smell.

  1. Broderick
    Broderick says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this write-up plus the rest of
    the site is also really good.

  2. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    I believe it’s a common mistake to use whatever you have at home in your trials to clean the fresh stain, without thinking about the quantity you use. I used to that too. As it happens in most cases, as simple the product is, as better it works.

  3. Barb
    Barb says:

    As Bald Guy Clean said, most carpets are dirty because we clean them. We use magic concoctions that make the carpet look clean, but mostly just cover the dirt. And leave brighteners and whiteners to make it look pretty. And leave a sticky residue that grabs any dirt coming by. And the carpet gets dirty again. Fast But, hey, makes for good repeat business, as the salesman told me as he eulogized his chemicals.

    I’ve found the easiest and best way to clean a reoccurring spot (or a whole carpet) is put plain water with a little TSP (tri sodium phosphate) (about ¼ – ¾ cup to several galleons) on the spot and remove it with the old faithful towels, or better, with an extractor – even a wet/dry vacuum. (Experiment with quantity of TSP, need depends on the dirt. )

    TSP is simply a water softener that will remove whatever cleaning concoctions (and the dirt they have been grabbing) the chemists before you used. Most of the time, as Bald Guy Clean said, the real problem is caused by whatever was used on the spot. It sits there, gathering dirt and laughing at the those passing by and commenting about the spot.

    Since you probably already have assorted cleaning compounds in the carpet, that have already cut the original grease or dissolved the dirt that dirtied the carpet in the first place, all you need is softened water to lift the gunk up and away.

    I saw a lady who’d never cleaned a carpet in her life go over it several times with the magic solution and turn a yuck brown carpet into a very nice gold carpet.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Dirty water does not mean the floor or carpet is clean. Prove it to yourself. Get a bucket of clean water, then add a few little dashes of dirt to it. You will see that it does not take much dirt to make the water dirty. This goes for mopping, scrubbing and carpet cleaning. […]

  2. […] struggle to understand what is really going on when carpet is cleaned. In my last post, I discussed carpet cleaning chemicals and why more is really not better. With the chemicals being addressed, now lets take a look at one […]

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