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Written by Bob Seibel Nov 22, 2018

5 Difficult Carpet Stains and How to Remove Them

Carpeting adds many things to a building.  Whether it is retail, commercial, hospitality or residential the carpet adds to the beauty and functionality of the interior.  It provides insulation and acoustic dampening to enhance the occupants’ experience.  It also presents many challenges on the maintenance side of things.

There are several factors you need to consider when maintaining the carpeting.  And it is not just removing those pesky spots and stains on a regular basis although they need to be addressed.  Consider the following points.


Preventative Maintenance

Keeping the “like new” appearance starts with daily tasks.  Removing stains becomes difficult if not impossible if the carpet is not maintained.  Daily vacuuming reduces the soil load and removes contaminants from the surface.  Entrance matting is one of the best approaches to maintain the interior of any building.



Attacking spots and stains should be done as they occur…not on some arbitrary schedule.  Foreign substances remaining on the carpet for an extended period of time lessens the chance of satisfactory removal.  Dyes of natural and synthetic origins pose real problems.  Here are a few to be aware of:

Food Dyes

Think of Kool Aid.  But many liquids are colored artificially by the manufacturer.  These need to be addressed quickly.  There are many commercially available “spot removers” that indicate they are for such stains.  The process will always be the same, blot do not rub.  Having plenty of clean white rags is essential.  Heat is often needed with the use of a steam iron.  It should be used on low steam setting.  Make sure you have the white towel on top of the spot. Periodically check that the spot is being absorbed into the towel.  Move the towel to a clean section. There may be a yellowish residue that may be removed with normal extraction cleaning.


This one of the most difficult of the natural dyes.  This will take a bit of finesse and experience.  Treat this spot with a good alkaline cleaning agent like COMMAND.  Blot up as much moisture as possible.  Then create a paste with sodium percarbonate (a powdered oxidizer) with the COMMAND.  Apply this to the spotted area only.  Activate the paste with low steam setting iron.  See the procedure above.  Once again use the white towel to protect the carpet.  Always test an inconspicuous area first and proceed with caution until you have gained experience in the procedure.

Natural Colors (Wine, Fruit Juice)

I cannot emphasize enough about “blot do not rub”.  We are trying to transfer the spot into the towel.  Using a general purpose spotter may do the trick.  On some carpets and especially lighter colored carpets a hydrogen peroxide based spotter (like H2O2 Contempo spotter) may yield very satisfactory results.  Again, always test first.

Coffee and Tea

Don’t grab that tannin spotter just yet.  Coffee and teas leave behind an oil film.  So treating these spots with an alkaline cleaner to remove the film first.  Then it is time to apply the tannin stain remover to eliminate that brownish color.

Pet and Foul Odors

It is always a good idea (best practice) to have in your arsenal a good bio-enzymatic product.  Pet urine and other organic substances can be “attacked” with this category of products like CONSUME.  Products like these are not fast acting…they require patience.  The biological events that occur result in the by-products of a little carbon dioxide and water.  Moisture needs to be present for the process to continue.  Cover the area treated with plastic to keep in the moisture.  Depending on the severity of the stain/odor will dictate the length of time for the area to be covered.


Final Thoughts

Carpet spot cleaning like all of cleaning is not magic.  It is equal parts science and art with a great deal of practical experience. It is relative easy to find out what you “can do”…a bit more challenging to know what you “can’t do”!  And remember these rules

  • Vacuum (remove dry soil while it is still dry)
  • Test
  • Blot do not rub
  • Proceed with caution in unfamiliar situations
  • If you keep blotting and getting transfer of the spot into the towel STAIN ABSORBING POWDER is a real time saver

Topics: Floor Care

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