Trouble Spots and Repairs | Best Pick Reports
Although most carpet and upholstery cleaning companies make no
guarantees on stains, skilled technicians can completely remove many
spots and repair carpets so well that it is difficult to tell the carpet
was ever damaged. Before replacing a damaged or soiled carpet, consider
spot removal and/or a repair.
Spots vs. stains. The use of
the terms ‘spot’ and ‘stain’ are not interchangeable. A stain refers to
soiling that has actually altered the dye of the carpet fibers. Stains
are usually permanent. Basic spots, however, will often be removed
during the normal carpet cleaning process. However, before any work
begins, point out all known soiled areas to the technician. Different
spots require different cleaning processes and products. Many special
spot-removing products are on the market; professional carpet and
upholstery cleaners know which one(s) to use for which soiled areas.
Urine. The smell of pet urine
is very difficult to eliminate because urine crystals can persist for
up to 20 years on the carpet backing. The smell seems to return each
spring and summer as increased humidity causes the urine crystals to
dissolve, and odor-causing molecules become airborne again.
Traditionally, fixing this problem was difficult, but currently, some
carpet cleaning companies use special enzymes to treat urine spots.
Other companies use water and special high-vacuum equipment.
Reappearing spots. Two common
causes of reappearing spots are wicking and resoiling. If a
liquid-based process removes a spot from the surface fibers but not from
the carpet backing, wicking may occur as the liquid evaporates. As
liquid evaporates off the top of individual carpet fibers, it carries
the spot up from deeper in the carpet by wicking up the fibers and then
evaporates. The spot is left behind and therefore seems to reappear in
the first few days to a week after cleaning.
Resoiling is the other common cause of reappearing spots. As some
cleaning detergents and chemicals dry, they become chemically sticky and
may actually attract dirt. If these cleaning detergents or chemicals
are not removed by rinsing, the carpet may quickly resoil, as new dirt
becomes stuck to the residue left behind. The spot usually takes a few
weeks to appear.
Spot dyeing. Spot dyeing is
the most common carpet repair and is used when a carpet has lost color.
By applying special dyes, a skilled technician can permanently change
the color of a problem spot to closely match the color of the
problems, installation problems, or post-installation damage may cause a
carpet to lose its stretch and develop bumps or wrinkles. If the carpet
is delaminated or permanently damaged, restretching is not an option.
However, in many cases, restretching permanently fixes the problem.
Because power stretching delivers a better stretch than some other
restretching methods, your technician should use that method.
Patching. Patching is an
option for areas where carpet fibers have been permanently damaged, such
as where a hot iron has accidentally melted the carpet. The technician
cuts out the damaged portion of the carpet and replaces it with a piece
of the same carpet, which is usually removed from a closet or other area
that is not visible. Depending on pile length, results vary.