While we consider ourselves excellent at setting proper expectations with our customers, we do still get those who hear what they want, and don’t read the notes that we provided in their inspections. On the front end, we always explain that stain removal is unlikely, but they should expect it to be better not gone. Stains by definition are very difficult to remove, or a penetrative dye used in coloring an object. Most are a result of a chemical change in the color of the fiber, rather than a soil/ substance that can be removed.
So when we talk about spot treatment, there are different approaches.
Spots that easily come out:
These are caused by some sort of soluable soil. Meaning it can be dissolved, usually with water, or a light cleanser. These will come out with your deep cleaning and are usually caused by a sticky substance attracting dirt.
Spots that are permanent for you, but not for us:
These spots are not possible for a homeowner to remove because they don’t have the right chemicals to address the substance nor the ability to remove/rinse it from the fibers, but they can be removed by us with the right equipment and cleansers. These are the ones that we charge for because it takes a lot of expertise and a little more labor to remove those spots.
Spots that are permanent but can be treated:
Some spots (like rust) can be made invisible with a chemical reaction – not difficult to remove if you know what you are doing, so we don’t always have to charge for those.
Spots that are permanent for everyone because it is a dye.
Marks from furniture when the dye his migrated from the furniture into the carpeting, marks from things like slime and paints that have permanent coloring in them, cosmetic products that also may have permanent coloring in them, and a lot of food stains. Many dyes are made from different food products, so it only naturally figures that those would leave stains.
Stains and spots on carpet, rugs and upholstery are a lot like stains and spots on your clothes. It is all fiber.
Just imagine that your clothes are stretched across a surface and you can’t push water through them. So we are like your washing machine – we will get out more than a hand wash, but we can’t undo everything.
When we are dealing with a stain that is permanent, there are still some tricks we have up our sleeves. Now a lot of these are trade secrets, so I won’t disclose them here but what I can tell you is that it involves chemical reactions that have to be carefully controlled. Meticulous application of color correcting products, the knowledge to know when and how to stop a specific chemical reaction, and the ability to keep it from spreading beyond where you want to treat.
This is the art of our Master Rug Cleaner. These photos are an area rug that had a turmeric stain on it.
Generally when we see turmeric, we set expectations very low. It’s not an easy stain to reverse. This is a case that had a much better than expected outcome. The stain is much, much lighter. It looks better in person than in the photo – lighting changes everything. Mind you, depending on the stain, this process can take a couple of hours or even a full day so it might not be worth it on a less expensive commodity rug, but on a rug of high value, it is definitely worth it!