What to Do When Spots Reappear in Your Carpet

Have you ever had a spot that  starts out the size of a dime and ends up being the size of a small plate. Why does the spot go away and then reappear? How can it show back up even larger than it was last week?

Lets think about carpet cleaning in general. When the carpet is new there are no foreign substances present on the carpet surface. As the carpet is used things are dropped or tracked onto the carpet. Things that are dry can usually be removed by vacuuming. Things that are wet penetrate the carpet surface allowing absorption into the yarn. Because it cannot be removed with dry vacuuming the liquid is allowed to dry leaving a residue from sugars, starches, oils, etc. Soil begins to attract to the residue creating the dreaded “black spot”.

The first thing most people do is go to the Grocery Store or Discount Giant and begin to shop for car pet spot cleaning products. According to the labels all you have to do is spray the products on the carpet, brush it in and the spot is gone. Allow the residue to dry and you can vacuum the spot away. Sounds Magical doesn’t it? But within a few days the spot comes back, only slightly larger than it was last week.

So you get out the carpet spot cleaning product and repeat the process and before you know it the spot has grown again. This could go on forever and in some situations has gone on forever before the person becomes frustrated with trying to clean the carpet and hires a carpet cleaner who attempts to remove the spot by placing more cleaning agents on the carpet, failing to properly rinse extract the existing residue and contributing to the “lets make the spot bigger” syndrome.

So how do we stop these carpet stains from reappearing? Well lets think about cleaning in general. In the home how many surfaces do you spray cleaning agents on and not follow with a clear water rinse? Not many. Glass and metal are probably two of the few surfaces you can get away with using the one step cleaning process. Try putting a cleaning agent on your clothing or even your hair without a clear water rinse and right away you will know how your carpet feels. Sticky, oily, heavy and dirty. Proper cleaning of carpet is really about common sense. Whatever you put on the carpet should be removed with a clear water rinse.

So what should you do if you have black spots that are due to cleaning agent residue? The first thing you can do is remove the soapy residue. Saturate the spot with very warm water enough to wet all contaminated fibers and not penetrate below the backing material. Place 1/4” thick white paper towels (no colors) on top of spot and step on towels to ensure moisture transfer. Place a 9” glass pie plate on top of the paper towel and a phone book or two inside the pie plate. Allow to set for 24-48 hours or until the paper towel is dry. Once dry remove pie plate and weights and dispose paper towel into waste receptacle. If the spot reappears, repeat process until soap residue is removed.

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