Replacing carpeting for a whole room, or worse, a whole house, can be very expensive. That’s why it’s very important to properly maintain existing carpeting. Other than traffic wear, the biggest danger to carpeting is stains.
Using the wrong product on a stain can permanently damage the carpet
For example, many over-the-counter stain removal products contain bleaching agents. They might remove the stain, but they will also discolor the carpet fibers. Most of these products warn users to test in an inconspicuous area, but the problem is that some will discolor over time. There’s no surefire way to tell how a product will react with a particular carpet.
For that reason, the best stain removal product of all is plain water. Immediately after a spill occurs, simply take a clean white rag and blot up any excess liquid. Then take another clean white rag and wet it with warm water. Gently wipe at the stain in a circular motion, working from the outside in to avoid spreading the stain. This method will take up the majority of the stain without any risk to the surrounding carpet.
If a stain doesn’t come up with water, or has been sitting for a while, you might have to go with a stain remover. Follow the instructions on the bottle very closely. Also, it is vital that all traces of the chemical are removed from the carpet. After cleaning the stain with a chemical, wipe the whole area thoroughly with a wet cloth several times until there is no trace of cleanser residue coming up on the cloth.
Whether cleaning with a stain remover or plain water, never scrub the carpet
Scrubbing damages the carpet fibers, breaking them apart and causing wear. This shortens the lifespan of the carpet. Additionally, scrubbing at a wet spill can force the liquid through into the carpet pad, where it can never be removed. Worst of all, having liquid in the pad can lead to mold and mildew.
Most spots and stains can be removed by a professional carpet cleaning service. Avoiding damaging chemicals and scrubbing means the chances of removing the stains actually goes up. Dirt and food stains are the most likely candidates for successful stain removal, and a good technician can get up most rust, glue, and gum. Paint, nail polish, and tar, however, along with colored juice stains, are generally permanent.
The most effective stain removal technique of all, though, is prevention. After cleaning the carpets, a professional carpet cleaning technician can put down a protective coating on the carpet. This coating helps prevent stains by keeping spills beaded up on the carpet surface where they can be easily wiped away.
This coating also extends the life of the carpet by reducing traffic wear, another type of staining. Traffic wear is the stains that appear in front of doorways, couches and other seats, and in areas where people often walk. A black or gray stain appears that often cannot be removed even by professional cleaning. This occurs because the fibers of the carpet get broken open and dirt is forced into the fiber itself. The protective coating keeps the carpet fibers bound tightly together so this damage occurs more slowly.
Keeping carpet well-maintained is key to keeping a house looking clean and new. Of course everyone tries to prevent stains on their carpeting, but accidents do happen. When they do, the first thing on everyone’s mind is removal. It’s important to pay attention to the chemicals used on a carpet, and generally to avoid them whenever possible. Though not everything can be removed, professional cleaning and carpet protector is the best way to deal with stains.