Does Your Process Get Stains Out?
One of the questions we get asked most often is whether or not our process removes stains. The best answer to this question is "yes," and…. "No."
Before we talk about getting stains out, we have to define what a stain is. For most of us, a stain is anything on the carpet that doesn't look like the rest of it. It can be anything from a bad traffic pattern to a soda spill, or even worse, bleach or kool-aid.
In reality, a stain is defined as "a foreign material (solid, liquids, etc.) that cannot be removed by standard cleaning methods." (A Comprehensive Guide to Oriental and Specialty Rug Cleaning, Amirkhan & GroseClose, Dallas: Master Rug Cleaner, 2008). A spot, however is defined as something that can be removed by standard cleaning methods. What is the difference? Simply put, if we go over it with our normal cleaning system and it comes out, then it is a spot. If it doesn't, it's a stain.
When we, as professional carpet cleaners, come in and see your carpet, we look for spots, but more important to us is finding the stains. Sometimes, the spot is just a symptom of the deeper, and more difficult to remove, stain. We will look for the cause of the spot, which usually shows up as a dark, for lack of a better word, spot, on your carpet. Spots are often found in groups, where there might be several spots clustered together, and look like something was spilled.
Spots are defined as something will come out with a normal clean
Spots may take weeks to appear- they are often caused by something that was spilled, dropped, or tracked in on someone's feet, such as food, soda, or oil. Over time, dust is attracted to the area, and the spot is born. In an attempt to clean the spot up ourselves, we may use some form of spot remover, and while the spot comes out, there is a residue that is left behind. This soap residue will then continue to attract dirt, and the spot comes back, often with a vengeance. A vicious cycle is born, and not only do we have a spot, we now have a stain on the carpet. Remember, a stain is anything that is hard to get out. The more soap is added, the harder the stain can be to get out.
Another common stain is acid dye stains. The dyes, often red, that are found in fruit drinks contain the same dyes that are used to dye the carpet in the first place. Depending on the type of carpet (6 Nylon is the most susceptible to this type of staining), the dyes may become part of the carpet, literally re-coloring the carpet. This, too, is a stain. We often can remove these stains, but they do require extra treatments and labor.Bleach spots
Bleach spots are another type of stain that is sometimes correctable, but involves re-dying the damaged areas. In cases where re-dying is not possible (the dye sites on the fiber are damaged beyond repair) patching the area may be the only option.
Urine can also be a big problem, even if you're pooch is small and cute! Urine can not only be a problem on the surface of the carpet, but can go down to the backing and into the pad of the carpet. The only way to effectively remove a urine spot is to flush the pee out completely, or to remove the pad. We have a very effective way of removing these stains, by first replicating the urine stain with our Zr Clean™. After letting the stain soak for a little, we will proceed to extract the urine out of the carpet. It is possible for urine to permanently stain the carpet, literally bleaching it to a yellow color, even though all of the pee itself has been removed.
Traffic patterns could also be considered a spot and a stain. Dirt and oils combine in heavy trafficked areas on the carpet to create a dark path where we walk the most. While it is possible to get the dirt and the oil out, this soiling can also cause permanent damage to the fibers, and the carpet will still "appear" to be soiled, even after thorough cleaning. This is due to scratches on the carpet fibers themselves, they are plastic after all, flattening of fibers, and loss of fiber. This dulling effect will look dirty, even though it is cleaned. Imagine your sunglasses after a couple of months, and even though they might be clean, those scratches on the lenses can sure make them look bad.
The best defense against any kind of stain is proper care of your carpet- make sure you have them professionally cleaned regularly, and that you have the fiber protector reapplied regularly. These two steps, along with regular vacuuming, will help your carpet stay looking fantastic longer. If spills do happen, it's best to use plain water to try and clean them up, as much as possible. Using a shop vac to help extract as much as possible is best. If water doesn't seem to get the stain out, try our Zr Clean™, which you can purchase from our technicians or on our online Cleaning Store. If that doesn't seem to be enough, we have our proprietary Zerorez Spot Remover. And if that doesn't work, give us a call, and we'll be happy to help you out!