The type of soiling will determine how deeply it embeds itself into the fibers of your rugs and carpets. Read the tips on removing carpet spots & stains.
There are many types of stains and contaminants that come to make its home within your flooring. Commonly, the soiling of carpets is brought in on the soles of shoes, yet do not forget the contaminants that float in the air from cooking oils, dust, hair products and so on. These float in air and settle into your flooring and fabric furniture on a daily basis, accumulating over time and soiling the carpet and dulling its appearance.
Depending on the soil type and its attributes, whether the soiling is soluble or insoluble, this will determine the strength of the stain or spot and how deeply it embeds itself into the fibers of your rugs and carpets. While some may be easy to remove, there will come a point where a professional carpet cleaner will need to be called upon and more robust treatments to be used.
Let’s look at the terminology of soiling on your floors. Spots and stains are different in the sense if you can feel the soil then this is deemed a spot and sits on the outside of the fibre. A stain is a type of soiling that visibly discolours the carpet fibres and has already penetrated into the carpet fibres.
Now let’s look at the most common stain and spot groups and the general self-cleaning methods you can try at home.
There are three common types of soiling: Insoluble, Water Soluble and Solvent Soluble.
Insoluble Spot Types:
Insoluble soiling is the most common spot type, and the harshest on your floors. Since they are a dry in nature and more particle like, the soiling works against your carpet fibres weakening the carpet fibres. Insoluble dirt include sand, hair, grit and so on.
Insoluble Spot Removal:
On the bright side, insoluble soils won’t dissolve into the fibres, making them the easiest stain types to remove with regular vacuum cleaning, and by regular we mean at least 3 times a week. If the spot is stubborn, there are general cleaners that can be used or simple spot removal home grown methods such as detergent and warm water or vinegar & water.
Water Soluble Spot Types:
Water Soluble spots include a range of protein based materials such as egg, general food spills, mud, bodily soils and blood to name a few.
Water Soluble Spot Removal:
Detergents or enzyme based stain removers are most suited for protein based spots. These spots do not need to be dried with heat, any heat will cause the spot to stick to the fibres as opposed to removing them. Read the instructions carefully and be sure the spot is completely remove before allowing the area to dry. Remember to always blot the spot with a paper or non-coloured towel, working your way from the edges of the spot into the middle.
Solvent Soluble Spot Types:
Solvent Soluble Spots are oily and/or greasy, and as we all know, repel against water based cleaning agents. These soils will settle into the carpet fibres faster than other soiled and spot types.
Solvent Soluble Spot Removal:
Such spot types require a more organic solvent as the spot needs to be broken down, dissolved and then removed. To avoid any harm to the carpet fibres when attempting to remove the spot, be sure to apply your solvent to a paper towel and spot from the outside of the spot into the middle. In most cases here, clean the spot as best as you can and be sure to book your professional carpet cleaner.
Always remember to spot test the carpet type as there are many carpet fibres and different means to cleaning and maintain these. To understand which carpet fibre type and other general tips head to our blog “What carpets are easier to clean and why.”
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