Carpet deterioration can be sorted into two categories: wear patterns and stains. Wear patterns occur when foot traffic grinds dirt into the carpet fibers causing them to degrade. Alternatively, stains occur when foreign material is spilled onto the carpet and allowed to dry. Stains present an additional challenge because the cleaning process depends on the composition of the foreign material. In this article, we will explain how to clean many types of stains and how to approach a stain if you don’t know what caused it.
There are a few things to know about stains. First, only some stains can be removed. Some stains that include pigments, for example, may be difficult or impossible to remove. Second, time makes a difference. The longer a spill stays on the carpet, the more difficult it is to remove. If sooner you attempt to clean a stain, the better. Keeping a carpet stain removal kit ready for quick access is a best practice.
Extracting the solution from the carpet is preferred over blotting. A portable carpet spotter extractor with a detail tool, like the Trident MS2, can improve results and make stain removal easier. As an additional benefit, spotter extractors can also help clean upholstery and curtains.
If it is impossible to use an extractor, you must blot the stain. Blotting is a specific technique you will use to remove a stain. First and foremost, don’t rub a stain. Rubbing a stain will drive the soil deeper into the carpet. To blot a carpet, start with a clean rag. Gently press the stain, starting from the outside edge and working towards the center. Stain removal is lifting foreign material up and out of the carpet. Avoid anything that might spread the stain to a larger area.
Further down this page, you will find a table with step-by-step instructions for over forty types of stains. Towards the bottom of the list, you will see instructions for “Unknown Spot (wet)” and “Unknown Spot (dry),” which you can use if you’re not sure what was spilled. Each product we recommend has specific use and safety instructions on the label. Review those instructions before starting to clean a stain.
These procedures follow a few basic principles.
Start with Hillyard Double Down for water-soluble stains. Double Down combines the cleaning power of Hydrogen Peroxide with encapsulating polymers, which mix with the stain and lift it away from the carpet fiber.
Start with Hillyard Liquid Gum-Go for oil-based stains. Liquid Gum-Go will effectively loosen oily materials from the carpet fiber. Scrape away gum with a bone knife and blot oily stains with a clean white rag. Be sure to work from the outside edge of the stain toward the middle.
For some stains, we recommend a Heat Transfer step. Place a towel over the stain and use a hot iron to pull the stain from the carpet fiber into the towel.
After each step, rinse with clean water and extract the stain using a carpet spotter and a detail tool. If you must blot the stain, remember the goal is to lift the stain out of the carpet, so keep the area as small as possible and transfer the stain to a clean rag.
Dry the carpet after stain removal and restrict traffic in the area. Use an air mover to quickly dry the wet area where the stain used to be. Allowing foot traffic on a wet carpet is a sure way to introduce new soil.
You can remove or minimize a stain’s appearance with proper technique and chemistry. By following these procedures, you can make the best out of a bad situation and prolong the life of your carpet. Hillyard has account representatives throughout the United States that can help you develop a complete carpet care system. They can recommend the best products and procedures and help train your staff. Use the “I’m Interested” form below, and one of our representatives will contact you.
Trident MS2 Carpet Spotter
Carpet Debrowner II
Soft Surface Sanitizer
Take Down - Fresh Linen
Rust Spotter Gel
Bodily Fluid Disposal Kit
Apply the treatments in the order shown below and rinse after each step
Download this chart (PDF)