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Why Do Carpet Stains Come Back After Steam Cleaning by National Carpet Care

Sometimes, Stains Come Back

Removing carpet stains is tedious, and even if you use the best carpet stain remover and a steam cleaner, sometimes the stains come back! Why does this happen? No one wants to have to scrub a carpet stain more than once, but unfortunately, the phenomenon of returning stains is genuine. Here, we will explain the reasons behind this problem and give you some solutions. The first thing to know is that there are two common reasons for returning carpet stains: wicking and rapid re-soiling.

a person cleaning carpet

Understanding Wicking

So, what is wicking? Think about the elementary school science project we all did, where we put a candle wick, piece of cloth, paper, or even celery into a cup of water with food coloring. It was pretty interesting to watch, wasn’t it? The liquid would travel up to the top of whatever it was that you had placed in the cup, and you could watch the fabric (or paper, or celery) change colors as it absorbed the liquid. While this may be exciting stuff in third grade, it is far less appealing when it’s happening to your carpet.

Wicking and Your Carpet

What does this have to do with the carpet? Consider what happens when you spill a cup of coffee on your carpet. You grab some carpet stain remover and a rag, and you immediately set to work removing the offending beverage from your favorite shag. To your delight, the stain comes right out, so you breathe a sigh of relief and go get a new cup of coffee. However, that’s not really the end of the story. Many times, even though you think you have removed all of the liquid, it has actually worked its way deep down, through the carpet fiber and into the carpet backing, or sometimes even the pad. Now it’s trapped in the carpet, under the surface, waiting for the carpet fibers to wick the liquid back up to the surface and cause the stain to reemerge. Sometimes, before you’ve even finished that second cup of coffee, the ghost of your first cup is peering back up at you from the carpet. Other times, it will stay down on the carpet for a little while, rising up to haunt you the next time you clean the carpet.

In fact, sometimes cleaning the carpet will make a stain worse! If you are cleaning a liquid out of the carpet using another liquid, the cleaner itself will soak into the carpet backing, taking the staining liquid with it, and causing the stain to spread. This can even happen when you use a steamer for cleaning. If you think you can eliminate stains by using your steam vacuum cleaner or your trusty portable steamer, you may be in for a bit of a surprise.

Rapid Resoiling

The other problem that can cause reoccurring carpet stains is rapid re-soiling. This happens when you use an over-the-counter, detergent-based carpet cleaning product that leaves behind a residue. If that sticky residue is left to sit on the carpet, it will attract dirt and create a new version of your old stain.

Solving Your Recurring Stain Problems

So, how do you solve the problem of carpet stains that return, zombie-like, to possess your carpet?

If Your Problem Is Wicking:

  • Use liquid carpet cleaner sparingly.
  • Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove liquid from your carpet.
  • Try a heat transfer, using vinegar and water solution, a white towel, and a clothes iron.
  • Soak the area with a carpet cleaner and water, all the way down to the pad, then use a white terry cloth towel to absorb the liquid, applying pressure to the towel to make sure it gets all the liquid under the carpet.
  • Pull back the carpet, remove the pad, install a new pad, and clean the carpet backing.

For a Rapid Resoiling Problem:

  • Use carpet cleaner that is not detergent based.
  • Choose a carpet cleaning company that uses detergent-free products.

Trust the Carpet Care Experts at National Carpet Care For Effective Cleaning the First Time

Of course, the best way to get stains out of your carpet and make sure they stay out is to have professional steam cleaning done by the experts. Orlando’s leading carpet, upholstery, tile, and grout cleaning company, National Carpet Care Inc enjoys a reputation that is second to none. Having served Orlando and the Central Florida Area since 1984, we have cleaned more than 1.5 million homes and are committed to providing the most outstanding service experience possible. Our trained technicians are ready to handle any job, large or small, courteously and professionally. Licensed, bonded, and insured, we provide same-day service, specializing in carpet cleaning, furniture cleaning, tile and grout cleaning, carpet repair, area rug cleaning, and pet urine, stain, and odor removal. We even provide emergency service, 24 hours a day, so you are not stuck with a catastrophe, trying to manage it on your own. For more information about our services or to schedule an appointment, call (512) 461-4836 or contact us through our website.