Spots and Spills

Stain Removal Chart You and Your Indoor Environment
Carpet Maintenance Basics

The following is a sample of the questions we are most frequently asked.

What's the first thing I should do when I discover the spot or spill?

After you have removed as much of the spot or spill by picking up the contents or by blotting the area with a dry white towel, you can then spray a little warm water from a spray bottle onto the area and continue blotting with a dry white towel. Try to get as much of the substance off the carpet with very little agitation. When you can no longer get any of the spill up with the warm water and dry white towel, you may then try a spot cleaner. Very little spot cleaning solution should be used. Test the cleaning solution on a small area and see if you get any spot transfer onto your dry white towel. If you are not seeing any transfer, then the cleaning solution will not work, even if applied heavily.

Note: The more detergent or cleaning solution that you add to the carpet, the more difficult it will be for you to get those chemicals out. Chemicals left in the carpet will attract soils and often make the carpet look dirtier as time passes. Never add moisture to dry materials. This usually spreads the problem and makes it more difficult to clean up.

Caution: Never scrub!!! Scrubbing the carpet causes friction and the heat will unravel the carpet fibers damaging it and causing it to look fuzzy.

Is there ever a time that I should not try to clean a spot or spill?

Once you have blotted up as much as you can with a towel, the volume of the spill may prohibit you from being able to get much else accomplished. When heavy volume spills occur, they almost always need to be rinsed out. Thatís because the spill goes all the way to the carpet padding and spreads. Sometimes a spill the size of a quarter will spread to the size of a dinner plate once itís reached your carpet padding. If such a spill exists it is often better to have us thoroughly rinse out the spill with our hot water extraction method. This is particularly true with pet accidents! There is also the risk of setting stains when improper methods are used to clean spots. When in doubt, call ACE and we will be happy to instruct you on what you should and shouldn't do for certain problems.

Why do I have a spot that gets clean and then reappears?

There are a couple of reasons this happens.

1. It may be that the spot is the result of a large volume spill that has spread out onto the carpet backing and floor. When spots like this are cleaned, the drying process can cause a phenomenon called "wicking". Wicking means that during the drying process, the moisture in the carpet works its way up to the surface of the carpet and leaves its mark because it has nowhere else to go. This can be treated with specific kinds of cleaning solutions that minimize wicking.

2. Sometimes a spot reappears because there is a "soapy" residue left in the carpet due to a spotting solution or a careless carpet cleaning experience that left cleaning residue behind. These areas will need to be treated with appropriate cleaning solutions and rinsed out thoroughly in order to eliminate this problem.

What should I do if I drop my potted plant?

Vacuum up the dry soil as thoroughly as you can. Adding moisture to dirt will create a muddy and more difficult problem. Some of the spill may be wet due to the water in the pot. It may be necessary for you to wait for some of this to dry so that you can vacuum up the dried soil. 

Notice: Some plant containers can cause staining when wet and resting on the carpet. Potted plants that get overfilled can also cause staining problems. When a significant amount is spilled, we encourage you to have us rinse out the areas as soon as possible with our hot water extraction unit. 

What should I do about beverage spills?

Beverages need to be blotted up with a dry white towel. Some beverages cause more problems than others. Some beverages have ingredients with dye qualities in them, such as teas, decaffeinated coffees, wines, juices, etc. If these beverages are spilled, blot carefully with a dry white towel. Try not to spread the spill by adding too much moisture or scrubbing the spot. Spills such as these may cause a permanent stain, and the sooner you have them rinsed out with a hot water extraction unit, the better.

For additional spills, please consult the spotting chart provided.

What are those dark lines underneath my closet doors and along my baseboards?

This is called "filtration soiling". Forced air causes atmospheric pollutants to move through the carpet face and yarns causing discolorization. The face yarns function like a filter on your heating or air conditioning system, allowing them to trap particle soils and accumulate oily soils present in this air. The areas most affected by this are under doors, especially if a room has an HVAC supply vent but no return vent. This type of HVAC configuration will cause a large volume of air to move into the room. But because the air's only means of an exit is under the door, the carpet will once again perform like a filter. Accumulated filtration soil is extremely difficult to remove because it is a very complex mixture of materials and conditions. The concentration of pollutants can cause staining and carpet damage. While we cannot guarantee that we can completely remove the soiling caused by filtration, we are generally successful in making significant improvements.

Back to Top

Breathe the Clean