Removing Stains From Carpet and Upholstery
3 Primary Categories of Stains:
Category 1. Petroleum based stains. Petroleum derivative- example: gum, grease, tar, ink, adhesive, oils, etc. 80-90% success rate.
Category 2. Synthetic based stains. Stains containing man made dye- example: kool-aid, fruit punch, colored candy, cough syrup, etc. 50% success rate.
Category 3. Organic stains. Stains from a plant or an animal source. Example: Wood, furniture stain, mustard, coffee, mold, tea, urine, blood, vomit, inks, etc. Unfortunately these have only a 75% success rate.
This will give you some idea. Keep in mind, the longer the stain has been in the carpet, the more likely it can be permanent. Fresh stains are easier to remove.
The percentage is the estimated likelihood of removal
Yellowing (50%) – Yellowing can be as simple as neutralizing the spot or area by spraying a solution on it, or it can be impossible to remove. There are many unknown causes for yellowing. We use a mild acid to attempt yellowing removal. Yellowing on light colored carpet is often difficult to remove.
Filtration soiling (70%) – (black lines around baseboard)– This is usually located in hallways around air conditioning units, or where the carpet meets the baseboard. We can usually get some of the filtration soiling out, but it almost never comes all the way out if it’s bad. Filtration soiling is when carpet “filters” soil going through cracks and crevices. *There is an extra charge to do filtration soiling. We will do up to 6 feet for free. Filtration soiling requires very labor intensive work. The area must be manually scrubbed and extracted.
Urine Stain (70%) – When urine is fresh, the chances are good. If the urine has been there a long time, or attempted to be removed with an improper over the counter spot remover, the chances are slim. However, urine will continue to deteriorate the carpet, so it is extremely important to remove the urine deposits even if the spot does not come out. Every day we remove urine spots and every day we find urine spots that will not come out, so it’s unpredictable. Very important to know however, is that our general prespotter is one of the best on the market to remove urine. It has a small amount of enzymes that will eat up urine. The ph is adjusted to counteract the stain for removal.
Vomit (50%) – Same as urine (If red from cat food, see red dye removal).
Blood (75%) – If blood has not been cleaned, and if hot water or alkaline cleaning products have not been used, chances are good, but no guarantee.
Rust (90%) – Chances for rust removal are excellent, however never a guarantee. We use oxalic acid.
Red dye (5%) – (wine, crayon, make up, kool-aid, cat food throw up, fiberglass insulation)
Red dye is almost impossible to remove unless conditions are exactly right. If the carpet is new, chances are better. In many cases the only way to remove red dye is with a heat transfer process in which we apply a product to the spot, lie over a wet cloth and apply an iron to it to cause the spot to transfer into the white towel. The spot is then rinsed thoroughly. This is a last resort procedure and may remove some of the carpet dye as well. We can perform a red dye removal heat transfer at a small additional cost.
Lipstick (50%) – Chances are good that we will be able to remove it with solvents, however some lipstick may be in the red dye category, which give it slim chances for removal.
Furniture stain (20%) – Almost impossible depending on the type of carpet.
Coke and Soda (95%) – Usually not a problem. Red or blue soda may be a problem.
Drink Spills in general (75%)-Unless it has a dye, it should remove. Drinks can go into the padding and resurface after the carpet dries if an entire glass was spilled.
Juice (80%) – Apple, orange, banana, and any non-red juice is usually no problem. Grape juices and other red juices can often be permanent.
Tea (75%) – Tannin spots can sometimes cause a permanent stain, other times they can be removed by a mild “bleaching solution” (not chlorine based).
Coffee (70%) – Same as tea, however, coffee is often spilled when very hot which can make it more difficult.
Food (80%) – Most food spots rinse out with no problem. However, there are a few that have dyes that can stain carpet if left in the carpet too long, including anything with a red, blue, or yellow dye.
Ketchup (75%) – Ketchup can go either way. Sometimes it comes out easily, other times it enters into the red-dye category.
Mustard (25%) – Can be very difficult at times. Not always impossible.
Paint (enamel) (20%) – Although we have removed a lot of enamel paint, there has also been a lot that we have not. Case by case basis, there is no guarantee. Large amounts may be impossible.
Paint (latex) (20%) – Usually fair results if in small amounts, however colored latex can permanently stain carpet, and hardened latex can be impossible. Can be impossible if large amounts are spilled.
Crayon (50%) – We carry excellent solvents, but can go either way.
Water rings (70%) – We use acid rinse for water rings, and have good success overall, but still sometimes doesn’t come out.
Mildew (50%)- Sometimes can be removed, other times it is permanent. Often the mildew stain can be growing from the backing of the carpet, which makes it difficult to remove.
Ink (75%)- Most ballpoint inks are easily removed. Most non-permanent markers are easily removed. Permanent markers, toner, and some ink can be difficult.
Grease and Oils (90%) – Food, grease, motor oils, etc. Usually not too much of a problem unless there is a massive quantity. Very light colored carpets may leave a stain behind.
Dye or Bleach (1%) – Will often be permanent, however, spot dyeing is helpful if the carpet is wool or nylon.
Excessively Dirty Traffic lanes– (80%) If a carpet has gotten to the point that the traffic lanes look bad, there is damage already done to the carpet fiber. Carpet should be cleaned before it looks very soiled. If the fiber is light colored, there is a good chance that there will be some permanent discoloration. If the carpet is dark colored, we can often drastically improve and sometimes completely correct dirty traffic lanes. *We give an extra prespotting of our traffic lane cleaner, and rinse over high traffic lanes 2-3 times.
Here’s how we remove your problem stains:
Our IICRC certified technicians are thoroughly trained and experienced. If there’s any possibility of removing stains from your carpet and upholstery, we can do it.