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Have you ever cleaned a spot on your carpet and had it return?
Have you had your carpet cleaned and had the spots just “come right back”? Why does that happen?             

There are two reasons that spots return: 

The first reason is wicking. Many times, the spot that is being removed has seeped into the backing of the carpet. This is common with pet urine, beverages, and anything that is spilled in “volume”. The material dries in the backing and the cushion (pad) of the carpet. When the spot is cleaned, only the material in the “pile” of the carpet is removed. However, moisture is introduced into the backing of the carpet. As the spot dries, the material that is in the backing of the carpet wicks back into the pile. 

Even traffic area soil that is embedded can wick back. This is especially common in glue down carpet that is heavily impacted with soil. When the carpet is cleaned, it looks good. When it dries, the spots and traffic areas come back. 

The good news is that if a spot actually wicks back, it can be removed. When spot cleaning, place a folded white terry cloth towel over the spot just after you clean it while the spot is still moist. Place a heavy object on top of the cloth.

When you have your carpet cleaned professionally, be sure to point out spots that have wicked back in the past, so they can be treated properly. 

The second reason spots return is re-soiling. Re-soiling is caused by a sticky residue that has been left behind. The residue may be from the spot itself, the cleaner that was used, or both. Some common residue causes are over-the-counter carpet cleaners purchased at the grocery store.Try to avoid using these cleaners altogether.

Carpet cleaning tips, stain, & spot removal guide. 

Step by step advanced treatment recommendations see bottom for spotting solutions. 


BLOOD: 1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply cool ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 5.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution. 6.) Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide may be necessary. 

BUTTER AND MARGARINE: 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot until dry. 3.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 4.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

CANDLE WAX: 1.) Scrape away as much wax as possible with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply dry cleaning solvent. 3.) Apply POG, blot 4.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. *Refer to general recommendation for hot iron treatment of wax. 

KETCHUP & TOMATO SAUCE: 1.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot dry. 

CHOCOLATE: 1.) Scrape away as much as possible with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply cool detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 6.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 

COFFEE: 1.) Apply detergent solution, blotting frequently. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Cover with dry towels until dry. 

CRAYON: 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

FOOD COLORING: 1.) Apply detergent solution, blotting frequently. A dried stain of food coloring will most likely spread when wet. Repeat until color is no longer transferred to towel. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 

FURNITURE STAIN: 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Unfortunately, a furniture stain is nearly impossible to remove completely. 

GRASS: 1.) Apply amyl acetate if available to remove chlorophyll, blot. 2.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot. 4.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 5.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Bleaching or professional stripping may be necessary. 

INK (Ballpoint): 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution. 

INK (India): Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

It is generally not recommnded to try to remove ink on your own. When applying the solvent the ink may run resulting a bigger spot. It is best to have ink removed by  professional carpet cleaner


JAM & JELLY: 1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot. 4.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

LIPSTICK: 1.) Scrape off excess with spatula or dull knife. 2.) Apply POG, blot making sure not to reapply stain into fabric. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Apply detergent, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 7.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. Try to avoid wet cleaning on wool. Use POG and dry-cleaning solvents as long as possible. 

MILDEW: 1.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot. 4.) Apply solution of oxidizing bleach (chlorine or perborate) Do not use chlorine bleach on wool or silk. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 

MUD: 1.) Brush or scrape away as much excess mud as possible. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 5.) If stain remains, apply POG and dry-cleaning solvent alternately, blot until dry. 

MUSTARD: 1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 4.) If stain remains, rust remover (Oxalic acid solution) or bleaching may be necessary. Do not use ammonia or alkalies. 

NAIL POLISH: 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply amyl acetate if available or nail polish remover - PRETEST INCONSPICUOUS AREA FIRST. 3.) If stain remains, apply detergent solution, blot until dry. 4.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 5.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 6.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

PAINT (Oil based): Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 3.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 4.) Apply POG, blot. 5.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 

PAINT (Water based): Check label on paint or specific thinner or solvent OR 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent, blot. 4.) Alternate steps 2 and 3 until stain is removed. 5.) If stain persists, weight down the stain with towels dampened with dry-cleaning for several hours to loosen, blot with solvent. 6.) Apply several drops of detergent solution and work into the stain, blot. 7.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 8.) Alternate steps 2 and 3 and 6 until stain is removed. 9.) Rinse thoroughly with warm water, blot until dry. 

SHOE POLISH: 1.) Apply dry-cleaning solvent. 2.) Apply POG, blot. 3.) Apply dry-cleaning solution, blot. 4.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 5.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 6.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 7.) If stain persists, bleaching or professional stripping may be necessary. 

URINE: 1.) Blot as much as possible if still wet. 2.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 6.) If stain remains, apply rust remover or oxalic acid solution. 7.) Bleaching with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate might be necessary. Urine stains may cause permanent dye removal from fibers. 

VOMIT: 1.) Blot as much as possible. 2.) Apply enzyme detergent, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 5.) Rinse with water, blot until dry. 

WINE: 1.) Apply detergent solution, blot. 2.) Apply vinegar solution, blot. 3.) Apply ammonia solution, blot. 4.) If necessary, bleach with 3-5% hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate. 5.) Rinse thoroughly with water, blot until dry. 


Spoting Solutions 

AMMONIA SOLUTION - Mix one tablespoon of clean household ammonia with one-half cup of water. 

BLEACH - Use hydrogen peroxide or sodium perborate (present in Snowy or Clorox II). DO NOT use chlorine bleach. 

DETERGENT SOLUTION - Mix one teaspoonful of a colorless, mild detergent or dishwashing liquid in a cup of lukewarm water. 

DRY-CLEANING SOLVENT - Volatile dry spotter or a commercial spotter such as Thoro, Carbona, Energize, K2R. Use in small amounts...can be harmful in sizing, backings or stuffing material. DO NOT use gasoline, lighter fluid or carbon tetrachloride. 

POG - Can be purchased from a carpet cleaning supply store, or I can provide it
Why do my spots keep coming back??
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