Why Do Spots Come Back After Carpet Cleaning?

By Ken Strid, Owner, Cleancare of Boulder.

I'm a curios professional carpet cleaner.  I want to know what my competition is doing.  So guess what I've done? I've spied on them!  Oh my gosh!  Can you believe it?  

Well, really, my spying really only amounts to noticing a competitor's carpet cleaning van parked in a home's driveway while I am out running errands.  I'll park in the street nearby and start taking notes.  It never ceases to amaze me how quickly some technicians can "clean" a carpeted home.  If your last carpet cleaner was able to clean your home's carpet in an hour and you had all or most of your carpet cleaned, your former carpet cleaner wins a prize. It's called the Splash and Dash, Grab the Cash Service Award!   Why that name?  Because all they did was splash some water around, go through the motions of some vacuuming, took your money and ran to the next dissatisfied customer!

So why do spots come back after carpet cleaning? The key words in that question are “carpet cleaning.”  Was your carpet really cleaned, after all?  There are other reasons for soils and stains returning after carpet cleaning, but the number one reason is a rushed cleaning job where the cleaner put down too much water and did not take the time to remove it by extraction and drying equipment.  Doing  a thorough carpet cleaning job on a typical home of carpet, say 800 to 1,200 sq feet, is not possible in an hour or two.  But, you may not know that your carpet wasn’t cleaned thoroughly until the next day.  What you did get was just a surface cleaning and that is where the problem lies.

In a rushed surface cleaning, the carpet cleaner can make your carpet look decently clean by just cleaning the top of the carpet.  But he is not performing a deep cleaning.  Therefore, while the soil and stains might be cleaned off the top of the fibers, it all still exists down below on the fibers and in the carpet’s foundation.  And since your “professional” made no attempt to properly extract or dry your carpet with fans while he was there, evaporation now has 48 hours or more to lift up the material your carpet cleaner left behind in your carpet.

As the carpet dries from the soaking it got over the next two days, a process called "wicking" occurs. This simply means that all of that soil, those spills and those unsightly stains rise up the carpet fiber shafts during evaporation.  They end up on the carpet fiber’s tips when the carpet has dried.  And now you have soil and stains on the carpet’s surface and your carpet doesn’t look any better than it did before you paid for carpet cleaning. In fact, sometimes it looks even worse as there might even be more unwanted material than there was before from the bottom of your carpet now sitting on the top.  

Wicking is one of the ugly words in a carpet cleaner’s vocabulary.  Most professionals know that it can happen.  But only the true pros do anything about it.  While it can happen rarely even when proper carpet cleaning is performed, it almost ALWAYS occurs after rushed, cheap, brush-the-dirt-off carpet cleaning.  And since this type of cleaning is never guaranteed, if you want the problem resolved, you’ll have to hire a reputable pro to reverse the wicking issues and you'll pay for carpet cleaning twice. 

At Cleancare of Boulder, we take the time to give you the most thorough carpet cleaning ever and use the most state of the art carpet drying system to avoid wicking issues.  Since we can’t see the bottom of your carpet,  we apply a special polymer treatment in badly soiled or stained areas that is designed to make your carpet fibers slippery so that residual stains in your carpet’s foundation cannot wick. However, sometimes there will still be minuscule amounts of soil or stains down there that will still wick to the surface.  We will almost always catch this problem before we leave because your carpet will be dry or nearly dry. In those rare cases that wicking occurs, we will return with no questions asked and resolve the wicking issues– free of charge, of course.

For more information on why do spots come back after carpet cleaning call us at 303-530-0646.


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