This Is Why Your Carpet Looks Dirty After Cleaning

How often do you have your carpet cleaned each year? Is it about once? That appears to be the common answer of households around the country.

So, when you trust a professional carpet cleaner to come into your home to clean your carpet, you’d expect that the carpet would be clean when the job is done. But often that isn’t the case. Many people have complained that their carpet looks dirty after a professional cleaning.

Professional carpet cleaning companies have used this fact to promote their own businesses. After all, there’s competition for customers in every trade.

However, there may be some truth to what they say. That’s because there is a way to clean a carpet that some businesses don’t follow. And then some problems arise due to the carpet itself.

There are plenty of reasons why your carpet looks dirty after cleaning. These can include:

  1. Not vacuuming prior to a steam cleaning.
  2. Using a cleaning solution while steam cleaning.
  3. Not pre-spraying detergent on the carpet before cleaning.
  4. Not rinsing.
  5. Using too much water.
  6. Mistreating your carpet.
  7. The nature of carpets.
  8. Reappearing stains
  9. The erosion of the protective coating.
  10. DIYers attempting to clean carpet.

1) Not Vacuuming Prior To A Steam Cleaning

There is a set process for steam cleaning carpets. Not following this process can result in a dirty carpet.

The first thing done is the vacuuming of the carpet before steam cleaning begins. Vacuuming needs to be performed before the start of steam cleaning because dust is in the carpet and needs to be cleaned out. 

If vacuuming is not performed before starting a steam-cleaning job, then the dust will appear on the carpet surface after it has dried.

2) Using a Cleaning Solution While Steam Cleaning

Not all cleaning solutions are the same. Some don’t remove the oily matter from the carpet. So, if a particular solution is used that is incapable of removing oil, then the oil substance remains in the carpet, and it looks dirty after cleaning.

3) Not Pre-Spraying Detergent Onto the Carpet Before Cleaning

Some professional carpet cleaners put detergent in the cleaning solution, and some don’t. 

There is a school of thought that claims that combining detergent with the cleaning solution will leave much of the detergent on the carpet after cleaning. As a result, the carpet is sticky and attracts dust like a magnet attracts metal. 

Therefore, detergents should be sprayed on the carpet before cleaning. Spraying beforehand would assure that the cleanser is picked up during the cleaning process. Doing this also gives the detergent time to dissolve dirt before steam cleaning begins.

4) Not Rinsing

The carpet cleaning process requires that a good rinsing be completed before the job is done. If rinsing is not properly performed, then the carpet will be sticky and will attract dirt.

5) Using Too Much Water

Water is an essential part of the cleaning process. However, when too much water is used, it sinks down into the carpet to the jute backing. This results in making the carpet appear to have no color. Moreover, excess water is tough to dry out after the job is done.

6) Your Own Mistreatment Of The Carpet

During your routine in your home each day, you might do things that contribute to messing up your carpet. 

For example, no doubt you wear shoes when you walk on the carpet. That simple action will track dirt from the outside and leave some on the carpet. Many professional carpet cleaners advise that you take off your shoes when you enter your home to avoid this from occurring.

7) The Nature Of Carpet

Carpets are manufactured differently. For example, commercial carpet is made different than residential carpet. Generally, commercial carpet includes low-level loops with tight construction. It also has more olefin fibers.

Olefin is a generic name for a synthetic fiber called polypropylene, and it has specific characteristics that other carpet fibers don’t have. It doesn’t last as long as other carpet fibers, and it is susceptible to soiling. The carpet holds soil because the soil gets under the loops and gets trapped in the carpet. Once trapped, it is very difficult to remove.

The problem is compounded when the carpet is frequently vacuumed. The vacuum cleaner captures larger soil particles and leaves the smaller particles trapped in the fibers. The soil particles accumulate, making the carpet look dull.

When the carpet is professionally cleaned, some soil is pulled to the surface, but still remains in the carpet. Therefore, the carpet still looks dirty after cleaning.

8) Reappearing Stains

People spilling a drink or food onto a carpet is not a rare event. But if not treated quickly, the remaining stain may reappear after a carpet cleaning. There are two possibilities for this –- soiling or wicking.

Soiling happens when a residue remains on carpet fibers from a carpet cleaning. If the spill is not completely rinsed and blotted, its residue becomes sticky and attracts dirt and soil to the same spot. So it looks as if the original stain has reappeared.

Wicking occurs when the spilled substance soaks through to the carpet’s backing and/or underpad. When you clean the spill, you are cleaning the surface of the carpet, and you aren’t getting down to the residue that is captured in the carpet’s backing or under the pad. 

When the carpet is cleaned later, the residue in the backing and underpad is reabsorbed into the fibers of the carpet and reappears at the surface. 

Wicking commonly occurs when the carpet is wet during the cleaning process when hot water or steam is used to extract dirt. Some water is left behind because the steam-cleaning machine isn’t powerful enough to capture all the water in the carpet’s fibers.

9) The Erosion Of Protective Coating

Many carpets have been sprayed with a protective coating that prevents dirt and spills from penetrating the carpet and allows you to wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Over time the coating can erode due to traffic crossing the carpet. Also, the cleaning process itself can adversely affect it.

10) Do-It-Yourselfers Attempting To Clean Carpet

Perhaps you have considered performing a total carpet cleaning yourself, or you’ve seen the results of a friend’s attempt to perform a DIY cleaning

To do the work yourself, you have to rent a carpet-cleaning machine. Some machines are designed to clean lightly soiled carpet; some have restrictions on its ability to handle certain carpet styles and fiber types. 

Some of these machines may use a lot more water than a professional carpet cleaner’s machine uses and have much less suction. As a result, the water and cleaner are pushed down deep into the carpet, and the machine is not powerful enough to get the water and cleanser out.

Preventing Problems

Many of the problems detailed here can be prevented with regular maintenance, proper spot cleaning, and selecting a good professional carpet cleaner to clean your carpet periodically.

To ensure that your carpet stays pristine, avoid wearing shoes. This will prevent dirt from tracking on to your carpet from the outside.

Regularly vacuum the carpet to prevent dust and dirt from building up in the fibers.

If food, drink, or some other matter gets onto the carpet, don’t waste any time. Spot clean the affected area immediately. 

Before cleaning, do a little research to find out how to properly spot clean the substance that is on the carpet. If you are knowledgeable in handling these emergencies, then you could prevent any of the problems outlined here from occurring.

Finally, don’t take for granted the selection of a good professional carpet cleaner. 

Do your due diligence and research the companies before you hire one. 

Ask questions concerning how the professional will perform the cleanup and ask friends who have their carpets cleaned regularly by a professional to recommend a company to clean your carpet.

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