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Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

Stains...pop chart

Posted by Derek (Derek), 8 September 2003

For years the most common stain was either tea or coffee but in recent times the 'top of the pops' has to be red wine. My top three would be:-

1. Red wine
2. Oil/ grease spots
3. Coffee

My worst hate is the customer who has used every  chemical under the kitchen sink (and next doors too) then calmly call you, as a last resort, and expect you to wave your 'magic' wand to make it disappear!

Care to add to the list?

Posted by woodman (woodman), 9 September 2003
I would have to add radiator valve leaks to that list
of the most 'popular' call outs.

I would agree all these stain removers, Vanish,1001 etc are a major headache.
Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 9 September 2003
Powder paint & blu-tak were last months specials but then I did do a lot of nurseries.

the stains that I really love are those big black suger stains that you get with soft drinks they always look bad but usually come out no problem. I also like big black bitumin or dirty oil marks, the customer always seams to think if its oil then it permanent. POG soon lifts it out.

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 13 October 2003
Could not agree more  the the 'kitchen sink' comments - I normaly refer to these efforts as "do-it-yourself brain surgery - the customer normaly understands this to be a slap on the wrist!!

Fortunately I have had no problem stains for the last ten days, due to a smashed-up foot but prior to that the dreaded curry stain has been cropping up with increased regularity as has de-cafinated coffee (far worse than the real thing, due to the added dye)
Posted by stevegunn (Steve Gunn), 13 October 2003
Is there anything on the market to remove curry stains?
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 13 October 2003
Yes Steve, it's caled a stanley knife!

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 13 October 2003
on 10/13/03 at 21:20:48, Steve Gunn wrote:
Is there anything on the market to remove curry stains?


On a less flippant note, my approach to curry stains is:

1. Inform the client that in most instances, curry stains should be concidered as being indelible.

2. Haveing established a realistic expectation of result and subject to concideration of dye stability etc., I apply a concoction of my own, based on sodium metabisulphide and citric acid -  NOT for the faint-hearted!!

3. After an hour, rinse with water.


It is probably better not to proceed beyond stage one.

I have known most of my clients for many years and hopefully have established my credentials with them. I also adjust the formula for each stain, based on nothing more scientific than past experience.

Under differing curcumstances I would sugest that it is better to walk away from a stain for which you cannot be blamed than to take an hour or so in publicly failing, or, worse still, exaserbating the situation.


Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 14 October 2003
Hi John

When you refer to your 'magic' mix are you using this on both carpets and upholstery?

I have been successful at removing Curry and other dye stains from the lighter upholstery fabrics but wouldn't risk the deep dyed fabrics in case of colour loss.

Carpet, being three dimensional, poses an altogether different challenge

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 14 October 2003
Hello Derek,

I have used this solution (with adjustments to strenght) on both carpets and upholstery. However, bearing in mind that sodium metabisulphide is a very powerful reagent, and the citric acid does have a bleaching effect, my use is selective.

On many fabrics/carpets I would not go as far as Prochem RedRX and in many instances I simply explain that the dye from the curry is as strong, or stronger than the manufacturers contribution and that the result is likely to be a lighter stain surrounded by a pale perimiter.

The main point of the posting was to sugest that in many instances, regardless of the experience of the cleaner, extreme measures are not the best course to take. To my knowledge no brain surgeon has ever been 'struck off' for declaring  a tumour to be inoperable, whereas an unhappy result arrising from the proceedure could have a different result for the surgeon.

As cleaning professionals should we not expect the same respect (and accept the same responsibility) for our judgements?


Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 14 October 2003
Thanks John

Couldn't agree more

The customer owns the stain until such time as you start taking colour out... then you own the item...OUCH! 's

Posted by chrisw (chrisw), 23 October 2003
Cry Hi guys
I think the worst scenario is when you walk in and find a lovely clean-ish cream carpet with small spot stains from red wine, coffee, lucozade etc which 'she' has tried everything under the sun to remove them unsuccessfully, but she has removed all the easy ones, leaving you in a situation where you take money and leave it looking not much better than when started. Much nicer when they walk in and say 'WOW Great job' and you leave with a smile on yer face  Grin
Congrats on site, very helpful
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 23 October 2003
Hi Guys and gals

Walked away from dealing with a lovely bright yellow curry stain on a three month old beige carpet today.

The risk was far too great....
why do people insist on eating curry (or any meal for that matter) in the lounge. There is nothing worth watching on the TV these days anyway. Are dining tables and chairs now redundent or just there as a talking point?

Posted by woodman (woodman), 23 October 2003
Hi Chaps

went into  a job today bottle of red over a green carpet,lady had used salt,white wine , soda water  and what ever else she could lay her hands on  to get it out which of course just enlarged the stain.

I inspected,we talked, I advised her to save her money
('cause i'm like that) as there was no way I could now remove it giving her the full benefit of all my many years of experience I puffed my chest out and informed her she had probably set the stain permanently trying to remove it.

She pleaded with me to 'give it a go' what ever the cost so I duly unloaded, pre sprayed with one step, brushed it in using my Duo and another light spray over the top again.
Over a cup of tea and a chat I let it dwell for 20 minutes.

I then extracted with super hot water and hey presto, here's one very embarassed Embarassed carpet cleaner,stain had completley gone.

She's dancing around with delight not noticing my embarassment as I hurredly packed away pretending to be Mr know it all.  Cool
Posted by Nigel_W (Nigel_W), 23 October 2003
I can imagine how you felt Woodman - it has been known to happen to me before.

One of the most difficult question to answer in this business is " Do you think the stain will go when you clean it." I  never actually say "it definitely will". If the carpet is permanently damaged I will say so and walk away. If it is apparently cleanable I will go as far as to say "it probably will clean" but never further. Over the years this policy has served me well. People always say give it a try anyway! I do think it is possible to be cautious but still make the client confident in your ability.

Two of my top ten stains at the moment are berry stains and the pollen stains from irises. They are both easy to remove as long as you get first shot at it.


Posted by Dave_Lee (Dave_Lee), 23 October 2003
Pet stains have to be high up in this chart, by the time they want these sorting out theyre usually impossible, as some are as soon as theyve occured anyway.
Another one which I had a number of call outs to last year, is the Christmas Tree stain when they neglected to place a waterproof cover under the base and the sap leaked out, only to be discovered after Christmas when they were taking the decorations down.
Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 24 October 2003

You just revived one of my old nightmares!

Two years ago, in the early days of January I was called out by one of my long-standing customers - large house just outside Danbury, lounge carpet, cream wilton, 180 sq. yds., layed three weeks earlier.

Paddy, her irish wolf hound had decided to eat the Christmas tree ! Needless to say he failed to finish the meal but did manage to vomit up a large number of pine needles, mixed with other, unidentifiable, stomac contents in about ten different areas of the carpet.  Roll Eyes

Since I had travelled some twenty miles to view this, I did offer to give the stains a quick rinse and her a report for her insurance company.

This is as far as I should have gone.

However twenty minutes of her recalling all the "imposible" stains that I had previously removed for her, her parents, her grandparents etc., followed by a passably good impersonation of whatever my daughters do when they say "Daddy......" in that certain tone - and I spent the next two hours crawling arround with a hand tool.  Embarassed

The result of all my efforts? No more than I would have achieved in ten minutes had I followed my orriginal plan!!

However, I did leave the house with two 50 notes stuffed in my top pocket by a client who had the statisfied feeling the all that could be done, had been done, plus the case of wine, bottle of scotch and three bottles of sherry her obedient husband had been told to load onto my van  Grin

There's nowt so queer as folk!!!


PS.  The carpet was replaced, a few weeks later, under insurance, after her youngest son decided it would be fun to have a camp fire inside the plastic wigwam he had got for Christmas, Shocked

PPS.  I am booked to go back there in about six weeks for " A few little jobs......about a days work" I do'nt know what I shall encounter but I have a feeling that it won't be a boring day!

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