Homecoming: Why Stains Reappear and What Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning Can Do

Categories: Carpet Cleaning Tips

Old stains – sometimes it’s easy to think of them like a cheap horror movie monster, given the way they keep showing up long after they’re supposed to have been destroyed.  Or maybe they’re like annoying guests who, after you’ve finally got rid of them and have forgotten you ever had them, stop by again for another agonizing, prolonged visit.  Whatever they remind you most of – monsters, annoying relative, or bad pennies – it seems like some stains have developed a nasty habit of reappearing on your carpet – despite many carpet cleanings – in a process called wickback. But what actually causes this to happen – what’s the science behind the annoyance?

In order to explain just how these stains come back, though, we need to know how they got there in the first place – and that of course can be traced to the original spill. Now, whenever the, let’s say, coffee was spilled, what you did in response help determined if there would be wickback. If you did your best to blot up the stain, trying to get up as much moisture as possible, you did well. If you just left the stain there to dry or poured water on it to fade the color – a no-no for carpet stain removal – you may be the reason behind the reappearance of the stain. You left a lot of liquid in the carpet and all of that water allowed the sediments to sink downward. And as it sank down, it worked it’s way into the lowest parts of the carpet, including the pad.

The same  problem occurs if you have steam cleaners out there to get rid of that stain. If you did, all of the water they used can allow for the stain to escape into the carpet pad. But why is it a big deal if it gets into the pad? It’s stuck down there, isn’t it? Unfortunately, no.  You see, with wickback, the stain in the pad is actually drawn up through the carpet fibers and back to surface in a phenomenon known as capillary action – liquids and oils going up against the flow of gravity.

This leaves you with stains reappearing again and again – made worse every time you get a cleaning that uses a lot of water. Unfortunately, when it comes to stains already deep in the pad, there’s not much anyone can do to get rid of the stain save for tearing up the pad. Your best bet is to avoid the whole problem  by carefully blotting up stains as fast as you can and getting fast drying carpet cleanings. And if you are already experiencing wick back, avoid steam cleaning as that can exacerbate the problem, and find carpet cleaning companies, like Oxi Fresh, who use very little water. That way, you at least starve the process of water, helping slow the wickback.

If you’d like more tips on how to keep your carpets clean, click here.