Why Do Carpet Stains Reappear after Carpet Cleaning?
You know how goes.
You call a carpet cleaning company to perform your yearly carpet cleaning. Everything seems to work great! Your stains disappear and your carpet looks as goods as new—and smells even better!
But then, after the steam-cleaned carpet dries, you see the stains that had disappeared begin to creep back to the surface. What happened? Did you spend the money to get your carpet cleaned for no reason? Did the carpet cleaning technician cut corners? Is it something that you’re doing?
Stains re-appear for many reasons. Here are the three biggest reasons that you are experiencing this problem and how you can solve it.
1. The stain ran deeper than you may have thought
In this situation, the stain may have disappeared but then immediately returned as soon as the carpet dried, after the cleaning.
Here’s why this happens: During the steam-cleaning, the stain on the surface of the carpet was removed, but the technicians did not pull the carpet back to investigate the padding. If the technician had done this, he or she would have discovered that the surface stain was just the tip of the iceberg, and that the surface spill had seeped into the padding and stained it, too.
This usually occurs when coffee or other dense liquids are spilled on the carpet. It’s also especially likely to happen in cases of pet accidents.
Once the clean carpet has dried, the stain in the padding rises to the surface of the carpet, resurrecting the stain in the exact same place where the surface stain had been. This zombie-stain effect is called wicking. If you call your carpet cleaner and tell them what happened—or specifically name the problem using its correct term—then they will be able to help you.
2. Too much moisture remained in the carpet after a cleaning
This issue happens for a reason similar to the previous one we listed: Resurfacing occurs because a deeper stain is hiding inside the padding. A thorough steam-cleaning will remove the stain from the surface and, if the stain in the padding is minimal or shallow, it can keep the stain away.
However, if the carpet has a slow dry time and the carpet fibers retain too much moisture, that moisture can soak into the padding and mix with the stain in the padding. After this mixture takes place and the drying process begins, the moisture (from both the cleaning and from the old padding stain) starts to evaporate. When the cleaning water evaporates, it can bring the stain in the padding to the surface.
But there’s another reason you might see a stain if the freshly cleaned carpet takes too long to dry:
Walking on the carpet with shoes on—even if you don’t think there is mud or dirt on them—can smear soil and dirt particles into the wet padding, mixing with the moisture and forming a new stain. Areas that have had stains in the past are more susceptible to getting stained again, so it may seem as if the disappeared stain has reappeared, when in fact a completely new stain has materialized in the same spot.
3. Pre-treated stains left behind a residue that attracted dirt
Sure you just had your carpet professionally cleaned, but that doesn’t mean that you wanted to live with the stains you had until then, right? Like most homeowners, at the sight of the first stain, you probably went out and purchased an at-home stain remover from your local supermarket.
And that’s great! We commend you for striving to keep your home clean and inviting between carpet cleanings. However, your attempt to remove your carpet stains may be the cause of that stain’s alleged resurrection after a cleaning.
This is what happens: People usually try to use the stain remover according to the instructions, and for the most part people succeed. It’s just when it comes to the rinsing process that things tend to go wrong.
You probably just used a washcloth soaked in cold water to “rinse” the solution out of your carpet, when what you should have done was pour a small amount of clean water of the affected area and then used a dry washcloth or towel to soak up both the solution and the water.
When the solution isn’t rinsed properly, it creates a sticky residue that attracts dirt. Similar to the second scenario listed in point 2, this residue actually collects new dirt in the same area where your old stain had been. You don’t even have to walk on the spot in order for this to happen. The dust particles in the air are attracted to this residue. Over time, that dust collects where the old stain had once been and makes it appear as if the old stain had magically returned.
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