November 22, 2016 at 03:56pm
By: Mike Tarvin, Multi-Clean
When it comes to caring for carpet, one of the biggest issues that arises is spots or stains. A very common and troublesome type of carpet stain comes from beverages, whether it be coffee stains, red wine stains, or others like tea or sports drinks.
The problem with beverage stains on carpet is that they can be very difficult to remove, and they can often be larger volume spills, resulting in stains that are tough to eliminate and can often come back after they seem to have been removed.
Many beverages, including colas, coffee, tea, and wine, contain compounds called tannins. Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in many plant materials, and are responsible for the dark color of these types of beverages.
The problem with tannins is that they can be difficult to remove, meaning beverage stains can also be difficult to remove.
The secret to removing tannins lies in pH. Tannins have an alkaline pH, meaning they will be neutralized by an acidic pH and be easily removed. If you try to use a neutral or alkaline stain remover (as many general purpose spotters are), it won't be as effective.
A very effective remover for coffee stains on carpet is a spotter based on hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide serves multiple purposes:
- It gives the spotter a mild acid pH, which allows it to effectively neutralize most beverage stains while remaining safe to the user (if used correctly)
- It reacts with carpet fibers to produce color-safe bleaching and brightening of the carpet
- It destroys odor causing soils deep within the carpet and helps to deodorize the carpet while cleaning
Dalco’s O-Force Ready is a ready-to-use hydrogen peroxide cleaner that is a great option for cleaning carpet, especially for beverage stains and the like. The peroxide eliminates tannins found in coffee stains and many other beverage stains, while also brightening and deodorizing the carpet.
Large Volume Spills
As you have probably experienced at one time or another, you often don't just spill a few drops of coffee on a carpet; it is usually a full cup that causes a rather large stain.
The problem with these types of larger volume coffee stains is that even after they seem to be removed, they come back over time.
This is due to a process called wicking. Wicking happens when the carpet pad is not properly cleaned and dried, leaving the soil deep within the pad underneath the cleaned carpet. Over time as the carpet pad dries, the soil is transferred from the soiled pad into the clean carpet. The stain reappears as the soil rises to the top of the carpet fibers.
Wicking is usually caused by improper spotting or cleaning techniques. It can be prevented by using the correct spotter (a mild acid peroxide based product in the case of beverage stains) and thoroughly rinsing and drying an area after a stain has been cleaned. Rapid drying of the stain area makes wicking less likey.
Red wine stains and older, set-in stains can be especially tricky to remove. For this, it is usually helpful to use the heat transfer method of spotting. To perform heat transfer:
- Apply a spotter like you normally would. Extract or rinse the spot, leaving the carpet slightly wet but not overly wet.
- Take a cotton towel, wet it, and wring it out so it is slightly damp. Place the towel over the stain.
- Using an iron, apply pressure over the spot for 15-20 seconds at a time, moving the iron around frequently.
- After 15-20 seconds, lift the towel and check if the stain still remains.
- Repeat until the stain is removed.
By using the correct spotting product, and with the proper knowledge and a couple tricks up your sleeve, removing coffee stains, or any beverage stain, should prove much easier.