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  • 7 Tips For Identifying Old Carpet Stains

    March 10, 2020
    old carpet stains

    Every 12-18 months you should have your carpet deep cleaned by a professional. Deep cleaning is the best way to remove carpet stains, old or new.

    On top of that, you may not know how to properly deep clean a carpet. A professional will do the job right the first time, and you can work on other things while they clean.

    If your carpets aren’t cleaned often enough you may end up with old carpet stains. When you find them you might not know where they came from or what they’re made of. Below we’ll review how to identify different types of old carpet stains.

    1. Knowing Stains vs. Spots

    A spot is a spill that has happened on your carpet within 24 hours. If left long enough a spot will turn into a stain. 

    A spot is on the surface of the carpet and has not fully entered your carpet. You should be able to easily clean a spot by blotting it with a towel and either water or some form of cleaner.

    Contrarily, a stain tends to be more permanent and deeper rooted in your carpet. They’re much harder to clean; you may need professional help removing such a stain.

    The color of your rug may be permanently changed when it’s a stain. When you touch where a stain is, your carpet is likely to feel as it did. A spot will make your carpet feel more textured.

    2. Figuring Out the Location

    When you’re attempting to identify the stain, think about where the stain occurred. The location plays a large role in what type of stain you might be dealing with. If the stain is in your dining or living room the stain may be food-related.

    At the same time, the stain may be in your entryway or near any entrance of your home. These kinds of stains could be dirt/sand, grease, animal excrement, etc.

    3. Smell the Stain

    When in doubt, smell the stain, it may unlock the mystery of what it is. Now, you may not be able to smell anything by sniffing your rug, so you may need to extract the smell.

    You can achieve this by wetting a towel and blotting the carpet. Next, you’d smell the towel to figure out the scent of the stain. This may not be an appealing option, and if you don’t have a great sense of smell it may not work.

    Figure out the Type of Stain

    No stain is the same, there are many different types. For example, a more organic type of stain (e.g. food based) will turn brown over time and become dull. Conversely, synthetic types of stains (e.g. paint, dye) will make the stain will look shinier.

    Below, we’ll review the different types of stains you could come across.

    4. Is It a Water-Soluble Stain?

    Water-soluble stains tend to be the easiest stains to clean. They’re considered water-soluble as the spills will dissolve in water. 

    You should be able to use detergent-based cleaners to remove the stain. Water-soluble and protein-based stains will be the most common stains you’ll encounter.

    Here is a list of some water-soluble stains:

    • Alcoholic Beverages (minus the wine)
    • Soda
    • Latex Paint
    • Food Dyes
    • Mud
    • Washable Ink
    • Jelly

    5. Is It a Protein-Based Water-Soluble Stain?

    This category makes up some of the hardest stains to remove. Protein-based stains will embed themselves deeper into your carpet fibers. This is especially true when these substances come in contact with heat or acid.

    When cleaning these stains make sure you use a cold solution. If you don’t, you may just make the stain darker. 

    Some protein-based water-soluble stains include:

    • White & Red Wine
    • Bodily Fluids
    • Dairy
    • Blood
    • Chocolate
    • Coffee
    • Mustard
    • Meats/Meat Juices
    • Feces
    • Vomit

    6. Is It a Fat or Oil-Based Stain?

    Fat and oil stains can be quite difficult to remove as the oils and/or fats will cling to the fibers of your carpet. Initially, you’ll want to use hot water to loosen up the fats/oils. This will make the clean-up easier.

    These stains are likely to have the strongest odor compared to the other types of stains. If you use the smelling method, you’re likely to identify the stain (especially if it’s gasoline). 

    Using water alone won’t remove the stain as fats and oils are insoluble to water.

    Fat and Oil stains can include:

    7. Is It a Non-Soluble Stain?

    You’ll need to use more creative methods to remove non-soluble stains. You can’t use a solvent to easily remove them. These stains have some form of particles/pieces stuck within them. 

    Unlike other stains, these types of stains are easier to identify as you can see parts of them.

    For some stains (e.g. sand) you’ll need to vacuum them first before you even attempt cleaning them. Vacuuming will help remove any loose particles. Then you can treat the location with some form of solvent.

    For other types (such as wax or gum), you’ll need to freeze the location to have an easier time removing the pieces. If the cold method doesn’t remove all the wax or gum, you may need to apply heat to the area to remove the rest of it.

    Some non-soluble stains include:

    • Sand
    • Metal shavings
    • Wax
    • Gum
    • Grit

    Do You Have Old Carpet Stains?

    Now that you’ve reviewed what old carpet stains could be, it’s time to figure out what your stain is. There are so many different types of stains, and the older they get the more they look the same. 

    If the stain has been there for a long time you may want to contact a professional to remove it. If you need help with your carpet cleaning in Winston Salem, NC schedule an appointment with us today. 

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