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Whether it’s a coffee stain in the break room or soda spill in the cafeteria, regular spot cleaning is critical to the appearance of your facility’s carpet. Carpet cleaning procedures depend on the type of carpet and soil damage acquired.

Carpets can be plagued by spills, spots, or stains.

A spill is any unwanted liquid or substance affecting an area. A spill that has been ignored or left too long will become a spot or stain.

Spots are localized discolorations as a result of a recent spill that was left to dry.

A stain is the permanent result of a spill or spot that was ignored or improperly cleaned and has embedded itself into the carpet fibers.

The difference between a spot and a stain is TIME. That is why it is important to remove spots as soon as possible after the occurrence to prevent spots from potentially becoming permanent.

The removal of spills, spots, or stains is called spotting. Spotting as a part of routine carpet cleaning will extend the life of your carpet as well as reduce the frequency of deep cleaning.

Most carpeting “DIRTYS OUT” before it “WEARS OUT”.

Spotting Carpets

Preparing to Clean 

Gather the necessary cleaning supplies, equipment, and personal protective equipment.

Required Tools, Materials, & Equipment

  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Appropriate Spotting Chemical (All Purpose Spotter, Coffee Spotter, Odor Digester)
  • Blotting Cloth (towel, microfiber, any absorbent cloth)

Step 1: Identify the Type of Carpet

Your carpet material will determine the best product to remove the soil.

Carpets that are made from a large ratio of animal hair such as wool, cannot tolerate abrasive chemicals or extreme temperatures. On the other hand, if the carpet is made from synthetics such as nylon or olefin, it will have a larger tolerance for abrasive chemicals, high temperatures, and increased agitation.

In a commercial facility, over 90% of carpet is of the synthetic type.

Step 2: Identify the Type of Stain

Identifying the type of soil and the amount of time the soil has had to set, will guide you to what type of cleaner to select.

Use the location, shape, color, size, and odor to determine the soil.  

In general the longer a substance has had to dry, the harder it will be to remove.

If it is a recent spill keep the area moist with an all-purpose spotter until you can perform spot removal.

It is important to know the type of stain you are dealing with because using the wrong spotter can cause more damage to the carpet.

Step 3: Choose the Correct Carpet Spotter

Now that you know what type of carpet you are dealing with and the origin of the stain, you can make a decision on which commercial cleaning product will be the most effective at removing the stain.

Acidic soils, such as soda, require alkaline cleaners while alkaline soils, such as rust, require acidic cleaners. Organic matter such as urine, feces, or vomit should be removed with a Bio-Enzymatic spotter. If you were unable to determine the type of soil, use an all-purpose spotter.

For more information on how to choose the best carpet spotter, check out our post on How to Identify and Remove Carpet Stains by Choosing the Best Spotter.

Pretest the chosen chemical in a small inconspicuous area to ensure carpet compatibility.

Step 4: Remove Any Solids and Blot Excess Liquids

Remove any large debris from the area. If the stain is still wet blot excess liquid.

Tip: When working with stains always blot (tap) the area. Scrubbing or brushing the affected area will cause the stain to spread.

Step 5: Apply Spotter

Apply the chemical at the outer perimeter of the stain working towards the center.

Do not soak the area.

Agitate the area working from the outer edges in. Let the spotter sit for the recommended dwell time. Refer to the chemical manufacturer’s guidelines for the proper wet dwell time.

Step 6: Blot with Clean Towel

Blot the towel into the stain so that the towel begins to absorb the stain. We recommend using a white towel to prevent the transfer of towel dyes into the carpet.

Continue blotting until no more substance is being lifted. For old spots or stains, you may need to repeat steps 5 and 6.

Step 7: Rinse with Water

Lightly spray the area with water to remove any residual chemical and prevent spot reappearance. If any chemical is left behind it will attract debris and cause re-soil.

Step 8: Dry the Area

Use a clean cloth to blot the area dry.

To avoid wicking of older stains, weigh a towel down onto the stain overnight. This will allow any remainder of the stain to be absorbed up into the towel fibers.

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Final Thoughts 

Use spotting techniques as often as needed. If you find you have a reoccurring spot or persistent stain, it is time for a deep clean. Practice regular and proper cleaning techniques to reduce the number of stains, extend the life of a carpet, and safeguard your facility’s investment.

Imperial Dade has a wide range of commercial carpet cleaning products. If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact a Specialist today for an assessment of your facility to make sure you have the best products, tools, and equipment.