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How To Remove Stains From Carpet Using a Commercial Carpet Extractor

How To Remove Stains From Carpet Using a Commercial Carpet Extractor

When you have people constantly walking through your facility, stains on your commercial carpet are unavoidable.

Stains in your carpets affect your building’s appearance and the way your guests perceive the cleanliness of your facility.

Thankfully, there are ways to fully remove stubborn, unsightly stains that have not responded to regular cleaning and maintenance procedures.

Stains are the result of a spill or spot that wasn’t cleaned properly or was left for too long of a period of time. When you’re trying to remove carpet stains, a commercial carpet extractor is the best equipment to clean and remove tough stains from the carpets in your facility.

Commercial carpet extractors not only help remove stubborn stains but when used as a part of regular maintenance can help:

  • Maintain the appearance and value of your carpet
  • Manage contaminants and improve indoor air quality
  • Contribute to occupant comfort, productivity, and quality of life
  • Extend the life of the commercial carpet

In this article, we’ll explain how your janitorial staff can use a carpet extractor to remove stains and spots from your facility’s carpet.

What Is A Carpet Extractor?

A commercial carpet extractor is an important piece of carpet maintenance equipment that uses pressure, water, and suction to extract deeply embedded dirt and stains from your carpets.

Carpet extraction is used to remove deeply embedded stains and trapped soils. It is performed during the periodic and restorative deep cleaning of your carpets.

A carpet extractor is the key piece of equipment used during the extraction process to revive and bring back the appearance of your carpet and lengthen its life.

How To Use a Commercial Carpet Extractor to Clean Carpet Stains

Without the right steps and tools, you may find that you’re not getting stains and embedded soils out of your carpet, or you might actually be creating a bigger problem.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is an organization that educates the industry with information on carpet care and maintenance, including how to create a comprehensive carpet maintenance program.

The CRI 204 Commercial Carpet Standard for Maintenance and Cleaning outlines the standards for deep cleaning commercial carpets. We’ll review the steps and best practices below.

Everything you need to know about carpet extractors including types, sizes, specs, & more!


Preparing to Clean

It’s important that you have everything you need to complete your cleaning task.

To properly use a carpet extractor to deep clean your carpets, you will need:


  • Goggles
  • Gloves

Cleaning Supplies/Tools:

  • Carpet Pre-Spray
  • Pump-up Sprayer
  • Carpet Spotter
  • Carpet Extractor Rinse


  • Vacuum
  • Carpet Extractor

To deep clean your carpets, follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Vacuum Floors
  • Step 2: Mix Pre-Spray Cleaning Solution, if Necessary
  • Step 3: Apply Carpet Pre-Spray
  • Step 4: Allow to Dwell
  • Step 5: Extract Using a Carpet Extractor
  • Step 6: Apply Carpet Spotter, if Necessary
  • Step 7: Extract the Stained Area
  • Step 8: Allow Floor to Dry
  • Step 9: Fully Drain the Recovery Tank
  • Step 10: Thoroughly Rinse Recovery Tank
  • Step 11: Let Fully Dry

Step 1: Vacuum Floors

You should always vacuum before completing any carpet cleaning procedures.

If you don’t vacuum to remove dry soils from your carpet, the water from the carpet extractor will create a muddy solution, which will be much harder to remove.

As the carpet begins to dry, the dirt in the carpet will cause wicking.

Pro Tip: What is wicking? Wicking is the result of an improperly cleaned stain. As the carpet begins to dry, wet soil that was not fully removed from the carpet backing as a part of the extraction process can be drawn up to the top of the carpet fibers. This “wicking” action causes recurring stains.

Step 2: Mix Pre-Spray Cleaning Solution, if Necessary

Before you can begin the carpet extraction process, stains must be treated with a cleaning solution.

Pro Tip: Never add the cleaning solution to the carpet extractor solution tank. This can cause damage to your carpet cleaning equipment. The pre-spray will be applied with a hand pump in step 3. 

Some carpet pre-sprays require dilution prior to application.

You should check the manufacturer’s directions on the label to ensure that your product is properly diluted before use.

If a cleaning solution is not properly diluted, it could lead to costly reworks or damage to the carpet in your facility. A solution that is over or under-diluted may not properly clean stains on your carpets.

Impact 2 Gal Tank Sprayer

Step 3: Apply Carpet Pre-Spray

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying pre-spray.

Using a pump-up sprayer, you should spray your entire carpet. For stubborn or deeply embedded soils, you can spray a bit more pre-spray to loosen the soils.

Remember, pre-spray should not be applied through your extractor.

Step 4: Allow to Dwell

The carpet pre-spray should be allowed to dwell for 5-7 minutes, or as directed by your manufacturer’s instructions.

Pro Tip: Dwell time is the amount of time the product must remain wet on the surface for maximum efficacy. Different commercial cleaning chemicals require different dwell times based on the chemical formula and procedure.

This will allow your pre-spray to fully emulsify the soils in your carpet for quick and easy removal.

Step 5: Extract Using a Carpet Extractor

Once the pre-spray cleaning solution has dwelled for the appropriate amount of time, it should be removed.

Here, a carpet extractor should be used to fully remove trapped soils and stain residue. What is a Carpet Extractor-2

Before you begin the extraction process, check your commercial carpet extractor to make sure that you have put both water and carpet extraction rinse in your solution tank.

It’s important to follow the instructions of your carpet extractor rinse for proper dilution.

As you use your carpet extractor to clean your carpet, be sure to monitor your recovery tank for any foaming that could spread to your vacuum motor.

Pro Tip: What causes foaming? Foam in a carpet extractor is commonly caused by using the wrong floor cleaning solution or failing to remove all of the cleaning solution(s) from the floor.

Find out how to prevent this, in our article: How to Fix Foam in Your Commercial Carpet Extractor 

When extracting, start from a corner.

Run the carpet extractor along the edges of the room, then starting from the wall that the machine is plugged into, extract the carpet in the area you’re cleaning.

You should be cleaning from the outlet to the opposite wall.

Step 6: Apply Carpet Spotter, if Necessary

Extracting your commercial carpet should remove any spots or stains.

If you’re still seeing stains on your carpet after extracting you should use the appropriate carpet spotter for the stain you’re attempting to clean.

To choose the right carpet spotter, you need to know the origin of the stain.

The type of stain will determine which spotting chemical, often referred to as a carpet spotter, should be used to remove it.

Apply your chosen carpet spotter to the stained area of your carpet using a pump-up sprayer.

Be careful not to soak the area. Allow the spotter to dwell for 5-7 minutes. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying carpet spotter.

Then, agitate the area, working from the outer edges in, to loosen any soils.

For the full steps needed to properly spot a carpet, read our full article: How to Remove a Carpet Stain carpet-cleaning

Step 7: Extract the Stained Area

Next, you’ll need to use your carpet extractor to extract the area with the stain or spot again.

This step is important to remove any leftover chemicals from your facility’s carpeting.

Step 8: Allow Floor to Dry

Your carpets need to fully dry before they are walked on.

If your carpeting is walked on before it is fully dried, the risk of slip and fall incidents is increased. Your carpets could also experience resoiling because wet carpet fibers attract dirt.

To speed up the process of drying your carpets, you can use an air mover to redirect air.

Step 9: Fully Drain the Recovery TankRecovery Tank

If your carpet extractor has a drain hose, you can use this hose to empty your recovery tank into a mop bucket, floor drain, or sink. If there is no drain hose, you may be able to manually dump your recovery tank.

Make sure that your tank is fully emptied.

Step 10: Rinse Recovery Tank

To rinse your carpet extractor tank, you should use a hose.

This will allow you to rinse out any debris and excess cleaning chemicals that could cause foaming in the future.

Most carpet extractors have a hose that will allow you to empty the tank. If not, you can dump the recovery tank to empty it.

Step 11: Let Fully Dry

To avoid any foul odors, mold, or mildew from forming in your carpet extractor tanks, you should make sure you leave the lid of your recovery tank open. This will allow for maximum and continued airflow which will completely dry the inside of your tank.

Final Thoughts

Removing stains from your commercial carpets is an important part of maintaining a clean facility.

With a carpet extractor, you can achieve deeply cleaned carpets while also removing unsightly stains on your carpets and mats.

A carpet spotting product will help your janitorial staff remove stains and tough spots that negatively impact the appearance of your facility’s floors.

Imperial Dade locations have a wide variety of carpet cleaning products and equipment that can make maintaining clean floors easier for your cleaning team.

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Caribbean or Canada, reach out to a specialist today for help choosing the right carpet spotter to remove tough stains on your commercial carpets.

Our specialists can also review your carpeted floor maintenance program and suggest solutions that will enhance your cleaning outcomes.

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