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Tackling Tough Carpet Spots

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Spots on the carpets are one of the clearest signs that a facility has let its floors go. If you’re a facility manager, being able to identify and take care of spots properly is essential.

Spots vs. Stains

People outside of the cleaning world may use these words interchangeably, but for facility managers, there’s an important difference between a spot and a stain. Spots are, according to the IICRC, “the result of a material adding substance or texture to a surface or fabric.” Stains add color (minus texture) to a surface or fabric.

Spots are easier to remove than stains from carpet fibers. When filament absorbs color, stains become a part o the carpet’s very structure. Removing the stain without removing dye from the carpet can be challenging.

Common Spotting Removal Issues

Have you ever been sure that you tackled a spot, patted yourself on the back for a job well done, only to see it reappear within a day or two? This infuriating cycle is called “wicking,” and it happens with soil moves from within the carpet’s pile due to capillary action. Typically, we only get rid of the spot that sits on the carpet’s surface. The wicking process reveals a greater problem.

Think about it this way: Picture a spot on the carpet about the size of a golf ball. That’s the area you can see with your eyes. Now, imagine peeling back the carpet to reveal a spot the size of a softball. When spills hit the backing of the carpet, they spread out, creating a larger spot than is seen on the surface.

How can you avoid wicking? Extract or blot the carpet as much as possible during the cleaning process, then use an air mover to completely dry it. The chances of spots wicking back up to the visible surface of the carpets is reduced the faster you dry it.

A spotting extractor is the most useful tool for rinsing and getting rid of any residue from a spot. These tools help clean the area most thoroughly, and they also limit the wicking effect by allowing you to recover soil, detergent and water more effectively. Using a respray, like Spartan SSE Carpet Prespray and Spotter, can also help emulsify the spot and reduce the likelihood of wicking.

Have a spot that you just can’t seem to get rid of? Contact our team today for more recommendations on how to avoid wicking and use our janitorial products in Boston to banish them for good!