14 Common Misconceptions About Stain Removal

Read time: 7 mins

Stains. We hate them. Most people have tried one or more stain removing techniques, often with limited results, or have tried products that made the problem worse. It is important if you are a do-it-yourselfer that you handle carpet and upholstery stains correctly. At COIT, we want to warn you about the most common misconceptions about stain removal for carpet and upholstery. 

Misconception 1: Salt Absorbs Spills.

Don’t use salt to soak up liquid spills. In fact, the best way to absorb spilled liquids is with a clean white cloth, slightly warm water, and mild (uncolored) dish soap. Adding salt will leave a residue that will be difficult to remove from the carpet fibers. Just blot up the spill and continue the blotting process until it is gone, then follow with another clean white cloth dampened with pure water. When blotting spills, start at the outside perimeter of the stain and work inwards so the stain does not spread into surrounding fibers.

Misconception 2: Baking Soda is a Great Stain Remover.

Baking soda is NOT a good stain remover. Don’t try it – bicarbonate of soda is a chemical that can damage carpet or upholstery fibers. Many DIY sites promote the use of baking soda as a stain removing hack, but this can be a very bad idea. Baking soda is very hard to fully remove, as it bonds to the backing and carpet fibers. The chemical qualities of the product, while excellent when using to absorb odors in a refrigerator or as DIY toothpaste, should never be used on carpet or upholstery.

Misconception 3: Commercial Spot Remover Won’t Damage Carpet.

Standard brands of spot and stain removers for carpet and upholstery found in grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement stores may damage wool or latest generation fibers used in carpet manufacture. Some of these commonly-used products can lead to chemical burns on wool carpets -- so beware. Always, always, test a spot remover in a hidden area before trying it on a stain. 

Misconception 4: Frequent Carpet Cleaning Makes Your Carpet Get Dirty Faster.

While it can be true that low quality carpet cleaning often leaves a residue that attracts dirt, a quality deep cleaning performed by the COIT technicians will get to the deep-down dirt and leave your carpets free from dust, dirt, grease, oil, pet stains, and odors. This type of professional cleaning helps to increase longevity for your valuable carpets – and leaves the air within your home clean and fresh without the odor of low quality perfumed soaps.

Misconception 5: Rub a Stain on Carpet or Upholstery.

Never rub a stain, as it drives the contaminant deeper into the fibers. Always blot, first with a dry white cloth to absorb excess liquid and then with warm water, from the outside in. Never, never rub. When you rub carpet fibers, you are damaging the tufts that create the soft pile. As the fibers are pulled from the pile, it looks and feels less rich and inviting. 

Misconception 6: Use Hot Water.

Hot water can impact the dye in carpet or upholstery, or “set in” stains from blood, wine, or other darker spills. Never use hot water to try to handle a stain on upholstery or carpet due to the risk of creating a permanent stain.

Misconception 7: Rarely Clean Upholstery.

Many people have been led to believe that consistent cleaning of upholstery will damage the fabric. While this is true when the cleaning is performed incorrectly, a high quality deep cleaning will actually prolong the life of your upholstery fabric. Dirt, dust, pet dander, allergens, oils and other substances affect the life of the fibers, and keeping upholstery cleaned regularly with the proper method for that type of fabric will help keep your furniture fresh and clean while removing contaminants that will eventually lead to degradation of the fabric.

Misconception 8: Vinegar is an Effective Stain Remover.

Vinegar is an acidic liquid, and the strength of the acid can impact the dyes in fabrics on upholstery or carpet. Never use white vinegar to attempt stain removal. When used on the wrong type of fiber, it could damage the fabric or carpet to the point of needing to be replaced. The use of white vinegar may be correct for certain types of stains and fibers, but it is important that you “know before you go.”

Misconception 9: Cleaning Wool Carpet May Lead to Shrinkage.

With any carpet fiber, including wool, the correct type of cleaning solution must be employed. To fully remove deep dirt, dust, grease, stains, and oil, the specific carpet fibers must be treated with the correct cleaning solution. At COIT, we are carpet cleaning experts, and are often called upon to deep clean – or even repair – valuable Persian carpets or other area rugs with natural dyes or fringe. When carpet cleaning is performed correctly, wool carpet will never shrink, lose dye, or have its pile affected. It is left looking perfect, fresh, and restored. 

Misconception 10: Household Cleaning Products Work as Well As Commercial Products.

The cleaning products sold in retail stores are different from those used by the technicians at COIT. Our range of cleaning products were developed to protect carpet and upholstery fabrics and prevent dye loss. You risk damaging expensive carpeting or upholstery by using the sprays sold commercially.

Misconception 11: Renting a Carpet Cleaning Machine is a Good Idea.

The unfortunate truth is that these carpet cleaning machines do not have the power to extract excess water – which is where the dirt, dust, and other contaminants linger. The risks include developing mildew or mold (and the accompanying odors) within the carpet fibers. For effective carpet cleaning, the dirty water must be extracted. COIT’s powerful truck-mounted system works to extract the water, cleaning products, and contaminants so your carpets are safe, clean, and fresh.

Misconception 12: Carpet Can Be Freshened with Deodorizing Powder.

If you are trying to resolve pet smells, the use of deodorizing powders can wreak havoc on carpet fibers and does not eradicate the underlying odors. These products typically contain talcum powder, which accumulates deep within the fibers of the carpet, as well as within the backing and the pad. The talcum then can “wick” to the surface of the carpet leaving unsightly white stains. To eliminate pet smells, the correct methods and products must be used. In fact, many carpet cleaning companies are unable to remove these odors. At COIT, we have removing pet odors – and all other contaminants – down to an art.

Misconception 13: New Carpet Doesn’t Need Cleaning.

The truth is that carpets, whether new or older, should be deep cleaned every six months. Many people have legitimate concerns about toxins in carpet cleaning products. At COIT, we do too, and our processes and products are non-toxic and safe for children and pets. New carpet may be releasing certain chemicals into the air. Manufacturing standards have changed, with limits imposed on VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions. Even so, during the early weeks after installation, minor quantities of these compounds are released. Though these amounts are generally not considered harmful to human health, you may not agree. Want to eliminate these odors for the safety of your family? We can help.

Misconception 14: Steam Cleaning is Bad for Carpet.

While dry carpet cleaning may seem to be better, it is not effective. You may be surprised to discover that carpet manufacturers recommend steam cleaning. While there are many “fly-by-night” steam cleaning services, when a deep steam cleaning is performed by COIT, the excess water, dirt, and other contaminants are powerfully extracted with our truck-mounted system, for a cleaner clean that meets the standards listed by the manufacturer. 

The COIT Promise: We Deliver 100 Percent Customer Satisfaction

At COIT, we are committed to customer satisfaction -- so much so that our services are 100 percent guaranteed. You would find it difficult to find any other cleaning service that offers this guarantee of quality! How do we do it? Our technicians have extensive training, specially-developed cleaning products, and state-of-the-art equipment so we can get the job right. Our cleaning technicians will arrive on time, respect your home and your time, and leave it looking and smelling clean, fresh, and restored. Why waste your money on carpet cleaning that doesn’t meet our high standards? We take our job seriously and are very proud of over six decades serving the community, as well as the reputation we have garnered as the leaders in the cleaning industry.

Cleaning Services Beyond the Ordinary

We can help you keep your home looking and smelling fresh and clean, from carpet, to floors, to tile, grout, stone, concrete, and wood flooring. Every process we use has been developed to produce a result that goes beyond the expected. When searching for a cleaning service that performs high quality work, we invite you to discover the difference in results when the job is performed by trained cleaning technicians that are committed to our high standards for quality. 

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