Spills and Spots and How to Effectively Treat Them
Spills and spots are inevitable, but they don’t have to be permanent. There should be an immediate reaction to remove incidental spills, mud, oil, tar, etc., from the surface of the carpet. These contaminants should be removed as quickly as possible to prevent the spill on the carpet from becoming a permanent stain. Complete removal of many common spills may require the repeated use of a single solution or the use of a combination of solutions. Always use the spot-cleaning solutions in the concentrations recommended.
• Act quickly! The longer the delay, the higher the probability a spill will become a permanent stain.
• Gently scrape up solids that typically do not cause stains with a rounded spoon and vacuum. If a stain occurs, follow the procedures for removing spots and stains.
• Gently scrape up semi-solids that could cause stains with a rounded spoon and vacuum. If a stain occurs, follow the procedures for removing spots and stains.
• Liquid spills should be blotted with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or plain, white paper towels. Do not scrub the area! Continue to blot until the area is completely dry. If a stain occurs, follow the procedures for removing spots and stains.
Removing Spots and Stains:
• Apply water to the spill first. Especially if the spot is fresh, water may be all that is needed to remove the spill. If water doesn’t remove the spill, proceed as follows.
• Locate the spill on the spot removal chart and follow the directions carefully.
• Pretest any spot removal agent in an inconspicuous area to make certain the solution will not damage the fiber or the dye. After applying several drops to the testing area, hold a white cloth on the wet area for ten seconds. Examine the carpet and cloth for color transfer, color change, or damage to the carpet. If a change occurs, another cleaning solution must be selected.
• Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth and blot. Work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading.
Do not scrub! Blot, absorbing as much as possible, and repeat, if necessary.
• Continue using the first cleaning solution as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. It is not necessary to use all of the cleaning solutions if the first solution removes the spill. Be patient! Complete removal of the spill may require repeating the same step several times.
• Rinse the affected area thoroughly with clear water after the spill has been removed. Blot with a dry cloth until all of the solution has been removed. Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid soiling if the solution is not completely removed. Small extraction machines designed for rinsing after spot-cleaning are an excellent investment. Dry absorbent polymer can also be used to absorb and remove any residues lefts behind by the spot-cleaning agent.
• Place a one-half inch layer of white paper towels over the affected area to absorb all the moisture and weigh down with a flat, heavy object that will not transfer color. Continue to change paper towels as needed.
Caution! Read the following information carefully! Too often a carpet is damaged or bleached when home remedies or mixtures are used without consulting a professional source first. Many suppliers that sell cleaning and spot treatment products to professional carpet cleaners are willing to assist you in selecting the right agents and procedures for your situation. Be sure to always check with the carpet manufacturer to make sure what type of cleaning chemicals can be safely used on the carpet. Vacuum all dry spills. Pouring any liquid onto a dry spill may create additional problems.
The following are methods of spot removal. See the spot removal chart to find out which method is best for each kind of spot.
Volatile Solvent (A fast-evaporating dry cleaning fluid.) Exercise caution when using a solvent. A non-flammable spot removal solution is preferred. Never pour a volatile cleaning solvent directly onto the carpet. Volatile cleaning solvents will destroy the latex that holds the carpet components together.
Non-volatile Solvents – (Referred to as paint, oil and grease removers.) This type of cleaning solvent evaporates slower for more effective cleaning. Non-volatile solvents can leave residues that may cause rapid soiling. When using a non-volatile remover, always rinse the area thoroughly with a volatile solvent. See residue precautions.
Nail Polish – Use nail polish removers without conditioners.
Detergent Solution** – Mix ¼ teaspoon liquid, non-lanolin, hand dishwashing detergent with one cup warm water. Mix professionally formulated detergent solutions according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. NEVER USE A STRONGER CONCENTRATION. (Increasing the amount of detergent beyond the recommended level does not increase cleaning performance but makes the complete removal of detergent more difficult.) Always use a detergent with a pH of less than 10. Thorough rinsing is necessary to remove detergent residues that may cause rapid soiling. You may need to rinse with warm water several times to completely remove residues. (See residue precautions.) Care should be used in selecting a detergent. Never use a laundry detergent of any type because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber. Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy dyes. A professionally formulated, neutral detergent solution, specifically designed for use on carpet, should also be considered for consistent spot removal results. Small portable extraction machines designed for spot cleaning are also very effective.
Warm Water Rinse – Use lukewarm tap water in most cases to rinse the spotting agent from the fiber. Failure to completely rinse the solutions from the fiber may cause accelerated soiling. Wicking, or reappearance of the spot as the moisture moves upward from the backing on the carpet, will occur if contaminant is not totally removed. NOTE: Only use cold water when removing blood stains.
Vinegar Solution – Mix one cup of white vinegar (a 5% acetic acid solution) and one cup of water. This is used most often to lower the alkalinity caused by detergent solutions or alkaline spills removing residue. A professional solution may also be used (available from sanitation suppliers).
Ammonia Solution – Mix one tablespoon of household ammonia and one cup of water, or use a professional protein spotter (available from cleaning suppliers).
Spot Removal Kit – Available from most carpet retail stores and professional carpet cleaning suppliers. Follow directions closely! Some spot removals kits contain a detergent solution and a stain-resist solution. Use of the stain-resist solution prior to the complete removal of the spill may cause a permanent stain. (Other spot removal kits may have dry absorbent cleaning products for fast spot removal). It is suggested that a professional spotting kit be purchased and that a portable spot extractor be used.
Spot Removal Residue Precautions!
Although your detergent selection is important, it is even more important to remove all the detergent you put into the carpet. A detergent’s ability to bind to particles of soil and oil is what makes cleaning happen. However, the detergent residue continues to attract and hold soil even after drying. Increasing the amount of detergent beyond the recommended level does not increase cleaning performance but makes the complete removal of detergent more difficult. A small, portable extractor is recommended for efficient rinsing and spot removal. A solution of one cup white vinegar (5% acetic acid solution) to one cup water can be used to remove heavy detergent residue.
Never use any of the solutions in concentrations stronger than those recommended.
Avoid Over wetting – Prolonged dampness may cause discoloration, promote growth of mold and bacteria in the carpet, or cause separation of the backing. This can be controlled by a combination of proper equipment use and operator training.
Most important, if you are not sure exactly what are you doing, please consult us BEFORE you try any of the above mentioned spot or spill removal treatments. By doing so you will save time and most important your precious belongings. From our past experience we can assure you that in most cases where a permanent stain occurs is when someone tried to remove that specific stain/ spill and they did more damage than good.
For questions regarding spill or spot removal or any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact us anytime at 1-800-380-9152 or email us email@example.com
** Kindly note that Eco Carpet Service Inc. does not use any detergents in the cleaning process. The aforementioned information is for educational purposes only, and should be treated that way. No guarantees, warranties are made on any methods mentioned above. You should always consult your cleaning professional before attempting any carpet, upholstery, tile, and grout or window treatment cleaning.