Is there a difference between a spot and a stain? If my carpet has a stain is it clean?
The cleaners definition of a spot is a concentration of soil. Since spots are soil, matter in your carpet that shouldn’t be there, they can be removed with normal cleaning and normal spot cleaning. Our cleaning products are designed to remove soil from food spills to oily residues. By misting a natural pre-conditioner on your carpet, we can remove most of these soils. However, if there is a higher concentration of soil, we need to use a higher concentration of soil remover. This would be considered normal spot cleaning. It is also likely that we would use a specific spot cleaner that will clean the spot quickly and efficiently. Commonly the spots that remain after cleaning are grease, rust, paint, make-up, etc. These spots are treated with a corresponding spot treatment.
But what about orange soda? In this case we have a spot and a stain together. The spot consists of the sugars in the soda which will attract additional soil, making the spot appear soiled. But even after the soil is removed, there may still be a stain.
A stain is a discoloration by the adding of color. There are many household products that can add color to your carpet. Often, they are food related since all food has either natural or artificial dyes that can permanently discolor carpet. Stain can not be removed with normal cleaning and spot cleaning processes. They may still be able to be removed with the right patience and knowledge. Performing the wrong procedure at this point could permanently stain your carpet. We’ve all heard the term about a stain being “set in” and it may very well be, or you just don’t have the knowledge to remove it.
Stain removal isn’t rocket science, but it is chemistry. First you much know the properties of the stain. Is it natural? Is it synthetic? Should it be treated hot? Or cold? What chemical reaction needs to take place for the stain to disappear?
The orange soda, for example, is a synthetic food dye. The most common was to remove synthetic food dye is by stripping and oxygen molecule to make the dye invisible. Remember, we have a discoloration and no amount of “cleaning” will remove it. The dyes have been absorbed inside open dye sites of the carpet fiber. The chemical reaction of stripping the oxygen molecule is commonly done with the use of Sodium Metabolite. With set in stains, it is common to start removing the color of the carpet so caution must be taken. A knowledgeable cleaner can restore color back to your carpet if the reaction goes too far.
So is it possible for the carpet to be stained and still be clean? Yes. Have you ever tie dyed a t-shirt? You purposefully stained the shirt but after it is washed and clean, it is still stained. Or maybe you have dyed your hair. But once your hair is washed, it is clean.
It is important you discuss your concern with stains with your carpet cleaning professional. A knowledgeable carpet cleaning should be able to advise you, what will come out with normal cleaning and what may take additional time, knowledge, and specialized products to remove. It is not uncommon for one spot be cost between $20-$50 to remove and possibly more if the stain has set for a time.