I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but it i not always possible to remove every stain from a carpet. But why you may be asking? The answer is because some fabrics hold on to a stain and also because some stains can actually chemically change the carpet fiber itself. Lets examine these two areas and you will see what I mean.
Carpet can be manufactured from all sorts of different materials. Many commercial and domestic carpets are manufactured using synthetic materials such as nylon or polypropylene, others are manufactured from wool, cotton, silk or even viscose which is in itself a man made fiber however still natural in its composition. Synthetic carpets tend to have fibers which are impervious, which basically means they are not absorbent so water and stains sit on the surface of each fiber. Natural fibers tend to be absorbent which means each fiber acts like a sponge sucking up water and stains.
Therefore it is easy to see that it will be easier to remove a stain from a synthetic carpet than a natural fiber carpet. This does not mean it is impossible to remove stains from natural fiber carpets in fact I would say 95% of stains can effectively be removed. It also doesn’t mean that all stains can be removed from synthetic carpets however it is easier. In the Newton Abbot, South Devon area we tend to have more high quality wool carpeting in our homes, this is not a bad thing as wool carpets are quality hard wearing items, however they do require specialist care. Now lets have a look at what some stains actually do to carpet fibers.
The Stain itself
Well there are so many different types of stain it is difficult to list them all. Some stains are not really stains at all. Take the little black marks that seem to insidiously appear on your carpet. Quite often the little black marks are the result of small spills from sugary drinks. When you spill the drink it is often difficult to see if there is a spill at all however the sticky sugar coats the fabric and over time attracts dust and dirt giving the appearance of a black stain. Routine cleaning often removes this easily. The real problem comes when the items which are dropped on to a fabric are particularly acidic or alkali, take pet urine as an example.
Pet stains are literally a nightmare, they are acidic and this acidity can destabilize the dyes in a carpet permanently changing its appearance. No manner of rinsing or cleaning solutions can change this effect once it has happened therefore it is important pet stains are neutralized and extracted immediately before any permanent damage occurs. Another type of problem stain is the “tannin stain”. This can be caused by the tannin’s contained in the liquid which is dropped on the carpet or from the tannin’s in the carpet itself. Drinks like tea, coffee and wine contain tannin’s, this is the pigment which gives the drink it’s distinctive colour. Red from the grape skin, brown from tea leaves or coffee bean. and of course these stains tend to be acidic in nature so they can set themselves. The tannin with a carpet backing can also cause a tannin stain, we call this browning. This is when too much water is either spilled or applied to the carpet this in turn then soaks in to the backing of the carpet, if the backing is made from a natural fiber such a jute the tannin’s in the jute can destabilize and dye the facing carpet fiber. So what can be done about tannin stains.
Well the good news is Tea Coffee and Wine stains can quite often be removed with the proper cleaning solutions however sometimes they need to be bleached out as they may have permanently dyed the fabric. The bleaching procedure is a very delicate and is not for the faint of heart so should only be performed by a skilled professional.
There are so many alter factors involved in the removal of stains from carpet and upholstery I could write an entire book on the subject. What you are probably wondering is “What can i do about the stains on my carpet?” Well the good news is I have been trained in Advanced Spot and Stain Removal by the Cleansmart Academy so am able to tackle any stain you have a problem with. I also provide a free bottle of our spot and stain remover worth £9.95 with every clean so if a spillage needs immediate attention you have a product you can trust on hand.
Another thing you can do to protect your carpet from spots and stains is to have carpet protector applied. These product contain a fluorocarbon which coats the fibers creating an impervious shield around them. This means if you spill some tea on your carpet, rather than absorbing in to the fiber it will sit around each fiber making it easier to remove and lessening the likelihood of a permanent stain. The good news is under normal conditions carpet protection lasts for around 6 years, so your carpet will retain its appearance longer.
I hope this article has given you a small insight in to the nature of carpet fibers and stains. If you would like any advice with your carpet care please feel free to call us on 01364 653221 and we will do our best to help.
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