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This Is Why Carpets Have Streaks After Cleaning

Have you ever wondered why streaks reappear on your carpet or rug after you’ve cleaned it? The stains might appear immediately or even after a week or two. Sometimes, it’s frustrating because it seems like your efforts cleaning the carpet have gone down the drain.

So, why do carpets have streaks after cleaning?

Streaks in carpet after cleaning are often due to uneven application of cleaning solution or improper rinsing. To prevent this, ensure you are applying the cleaning solution uniformly across the carpet. After cleaning, go over the carpet with just water in the cleaner to thoroughly rinse out any remaining cleaning solution. This helps in removing excess detergent that can cause streaks when dried.

Another cause of streaking can be a dirty or clogged cleaner brush. Over time, debris and hair can accumulate in the cleaner’s brushes, causing uneven cleaning. Before using your carpet cleaner, check and clean the brushes. Remove any debris or hair tangled in the brushes to ensure they can move freely and clean the carpet evenly, reducing the likelihood of streaks.

The rest of this article will take a detailed look at this household cleaning problem and explore how you can solve it

Why Carpets Have Streaks after Cleaning

Why Carpets Have Streaks after Cleaning

There are two primary reasons that carpets have streaks after cleaning: soiling and wicking. 


If the carpet cleaner is not adequately rinsed off or removed after washing, it leaves a residue. 

Shampoo and soap residue is sticky. Over time, it attracts dust particles. Dirt and grime from shoes will also stick to the residue. As a result, the stain reappears on the same spot and looks like it was never cleaned off in the first place.

To remove stains caused by soiling use the following steps:

  1. Pour lukewarm water on the spot. The water will rinse the residue off the carpet fibers. 
  2. Clean the spot with a dry towel or cloth. 
  3. Place a different dry towel on the spot overnight to make sure the carpet is completely dried.


Wicking occurs in carpets with deep stains. The stains have penetrated the carpet’s fiber and gotten to the back and underlying pad.

Many cleaning methods only remove the dirt on the surface of your carpet. 

If you steam cleaned without extracting all the water, or your carpet is still wet after you’re done, the stain at the back is reabsorbed by the fibers. It then travels back up and reappears on the surface.

To clean out streaks caused by wicking, apply the same method of cleaning stains caused by soiling that we discussed earlier. If that doesn’t work, you can call a reputable cleaning service to deal with the problem using hot water extraction.

Alternatively, you can pull back your carpet to let the water dry out. If the underlying pad is still stained, clean it up, as this will ensure streaks don’t appear in the future.

Once everything is clean and dry, reinstall your carpet.

Carpet Cleaning Tips

This is Why Carpets Have Streaks After Cleaning:  Carpet Cleaning Tips

If you want to avoid carpet cleaning blunders, there are several rules you should follow. Sticking to these do’s and don’ts will prolong the lifespan of your carpet and reduce what you spend on replacements. Proper cleaning will save you money and maintain the quality of your carpet.

Scrub off stains early

Most people are guilty of not scrubbing off carpet stains early.

When a drink or liquid spills, it is paramount that you scrub it off immediately. The longer you wait, the deeper the stain travels down the fibers. Then, it is absorbed into the carpet padding.

So when you see a stain, don’t hesitate to remove it. You will achieve better cleaning results that way.

Hire the services of a professional cleaning firm

You might need to deep clean your carpet once in a while. At this point, it is advisable to contact a professional cleaning firm. Cleaning companies have the expertise, equipment, and chemicals your carpet needs. Although they might be expensive, they’ll be able to prevent streaks from reappearing.

It is recommended that a carpet is cleaned every 12 – 18 months by an IICRC certified technician.

Check cleaning equipment before renting

Sometimes, you may be wooed into trying new cleaning equipment for your carpets. In the end, it could do your carpet more harm than good.

Before you rent carpet cleaning equipment, check if it has been adequately serviced and undamaged. Otherwise, you will be endangering your carpet and exposing it to soiling.

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Likewise, make sure you test new cleaning products in a tiny area. Then, assess how your carpet will react to the solution. With this, you’ll reduce the risk of your carpet getting damaged.

Clean moderately

Some people imbibe the habit of “doing more” to get the best result. Such practices do not always lead to optimal results.

Frequent cleaning will make your carpet appear stale. Clean moderately, and avoid using chemicals to saturate your carpet. It will only lead to soiling and wicking.

How to Clean Your Carpet

How to Clean Your Carpet

Carpet cleaning will improve the look and texture of your carpet and prolong its life. There are several methods you can employ to bring out the best appearance from your carpet. However, there is more to cleaning than just applying shampoos or chemicals.

Your carpet can become a haven for dust, dirt, and streaks. Your method of cleaning should be able to get rid of all this comfortably.

Use pre-treatment techniques

Before you deep-clean your carpet, use a pre-treatment technique to draw out stains from beneath to the surface. It will make it easier for the carpet cleaner to blot away all the dirt.

Treat food, red wine, tea, and coffee stains when they are wet, and chocolate stains when they have dried.

Deep clean periodically

Wash your carpet with a carpet shampoo machine every two to three months. The shampoo should have a stain protector to preserve the fibers. You can also hire the services of a professional cleaning firm to wash your carpet if you are busy.


The edges of your carpet may have some black lines and stains. The only way to remove them is by using a vacuum. Vacuum the corners carefully at least once every week.

Dry properly

After cleaning your carpet, make sure you dry it thoroughly. It should not be damp as that can lead to soiling. If you have treated any stain-filled spot, put a towel on it overnight, or use a hand dryer.

How to Remove Common Carpet Stains

How to Remove Common Carpet Stains

Even if you exercise all precautions, your carpet will end up getting stained. It could be from red wine, a drink, tea, pet urine, blood, or ink. Stains from pet urine can also leave an unpleasant smell.

So, how can you remove these carpet stains and make your carpet feel fresh and cozy?

Red wine

Here’s how you can deal with red wine:

  1. Immediately blot the stain with a damp cloth soaked in cold water. This action will remove as much wine as possible from the surface.
  2. Apply a carpet stain remover. 
  3. Wait for about five minutes. 
  4. Blot with a damp cloth in cold water. 
  5. Repeat the process until the stain is removed.
  6. Dry the carpet when you’re done.

Dog and cat urine

The smell from dog and cat urine can be offensive and off-putting. Here’s how you can get rid of it:

  1. Blot the area with a dry cloth or paper towel to absorb as much urine as possible. 
  2. Apply a stain remover and blot. 
  3. Repeat the procedure until you achieve the desired result.


Vomit discolors your carpet or rugs and makes it look irritating. Once you see vomit on your carpet, act fast. If you don’t, some of it will sink into the fibers.

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  1. Remove any solid particles. You can use a spoon to scoop away any vomit on the surface gently. 
  2. Use a copious amount of stain remover solution to treat the vomit spot.
  3. Wait for a few minutes and blot with a damp towel. 
  4. Repeat the procedure until every aspect of the stain has been removed.

Final Thoughts

If you want to get the best out of your carpet, you need to take care of it and maintain it regularly.

Carpet cleaning is easy if you abide by the rules. It will help your carpet last longer and save you the cost of buying a new one. You’ll also avoid streaks reappearing from soiling and wicking.

With the right cleaning solutions and equipment, your carpet can start looking fresh once again!

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on January 11, 2020.

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