What’s that, you say? Susannah knocked over her cup of Kool-Aid on the living room rug? Oliver dropped his meatballs on the dining room floor? The new puppy forgot his house-training and left you a “present” in the back corner? …You get the idea. All of these incidences can cause problems for your carpet that are difficult to fix and can create embarrassment when you have to entertain guests in your home.
In this article, we’ll discuss what you can do to minimize the effects of some of the more common and frequent problems that you can encounter. For the purposes of this article and among professionals, a “spot” is defined as any substance that sits on the carpet fibers and needs to be removed, and a “stain” is any substance that actually changes the color of the carpet fibers themselves.
The most common spots & stains that we see and how to address them are:
* Food spills. Food will often leave behind some liquid or grease. Most spots are easily cleaned by blotting (not rubbing, as that will physically grind residue down into the carpet) with dry or damp towels. Anything still left in the carpet can be addressed at your next scheduled cleaning.
* Ink. Again, blot (don’t rub) with dry or damp towels until you don’t see any more ink coming up.
* Paint. Cover paint with Saran Wrap and call a professional ASAP. Do not try to remove paint from carpet on your own, as any method you use will spread the paint around and push it down into the carpet fibers, making it even harder to get out.
* Kool-Aid/Wine (and other colored stains, such as coffee). The dyes present in these can chemically bond to the carpet fibers and cause them to change color. Blot stains with dry or damp towels to remove as much as possible. If discoloration remains, you will need a professional stain remover that can remove the dye from the fibers.
* Pet urine. Pets can leave behind spots, which turn into stains, and an odor as well. Blot the area with dry or damp towels. Although this will remove much of the residue, the odor and discoloration may persist and will require professional attention to fully remove.
A further step that you can take to protect your carpet is to have a professional apply a carpet protectant. Professionally applied carpet protectant functions like a coat of wax on your car — it provides a barrier between the real world and your carpet fibers. This barrier makes it harder for dirt to stick to your carpet fibers so that when you vacuum you are able to get more dirt out, keeping the carpet cleaner longer, and it provides additional protection against greasy and oily soiling as well.
Most types of carpeting already have a protectant called an acid dye resistor applied at the time of manufacture. This resistor helps block stains — especially from substances like Kool-Aid and red wine — from discoloring your carpet. If these stains are addressed immediately, often the acid dye resistor can prevent any permanent discoloration. However, over time and after many spills, protectant will break down, so it should be re-applied with each professional cleaning.
Now, when should you call in the professionals after spots and stains? Honestly, to maintain the longevity of your carpet, it’s best to have every spot and stain dealt with professionally. Even the most thorough home-cleaning can’t rival the cleaning that a professional can provide. Think of stains in your carpet as if they were dings and scratches that have appeared on your car. Just as you would take the car to a professional to have those fixed, you also need a professional to properly clean your carpet after day-to-day spots and spills.
Consumer-grade spot removers will temporarily remove evidence of the stain, but they’ll leave behind a residue. Without thorough extraction and removal, this chemical residue will attract and hold dirt, actually making your carpet appear dirtier over time. Professional carpets cleaners use cleaning agents and systems that remove all residue, leaving the carpet truly clean.
At Quest Floor Care, we understand that calling a professional for every little spill seems like both a hassle and a budget-buster, and yet we care about the long-term health of your carpet. That is why we offer our “Spot and Spill Warranty.” For 1 year after a full regular cleaning, we will return to take care of any spots, spills, and stains at no charge. In other words, have your carpets cleaned with us at least once a year, and this “Spot and Spill Warranty” will remain in effect for the entire life of your carpet.