Successful steps to Stain Removal
How To Guide – Stain Removal
Christmas and New Year parties await you, so take time out now to read the Prochem Europe 3-Step Guide to stain removal (plus some great solutions you should have ready).
Successfully removing stains from carpets depends on your ability as a cleaner to analyse the stain, identify the carpet fibre and carpet construction, choose the appropriate product and apply it correctly. Without this knowledge, stain removal will always be hit-and-miss and could cause permanent damage to the carpet fibre or set the stain.
1. So, to start, find out as much as you can about the stain.
In the best case scenario, the customer tells you what the spillage was. However, if they weren’t there at the time of the staining or have simply forgotten – you’re on your own.
So your first step in the identification process is to decide whether the stain is permanent, as with strong dyes such as hair colourants, old urine stains, and many hardened stains from paint, varnish and adhesive spillages.
2. The nature of the carpet is also an important factor when deciding if the stain is permanent.
Pale wool fibres will take in dyes and colouring from food and drink far more easily than synthetic fibres. On the other hand, a large oily spillage on a synthetic fibre will be very difficult to remove because synthetics absorb oil more easily.
3. The next step is to ascertain whether the stain is water soluble or solvent soluble.
Solvents will not remove water-based stains such as drinks, while water-based stain removers will have little or no effect on greasy, oily stains.
To test, pass a folded pad of white tissue paper over the stain: an oily stain will most likely leave a trace on the pad; water-based stains and dye stains will not leave any trace.
If in doubt, always try the solvent stain removal product first, rather than the water-based stain remover; once the stain is wet, solvents won’t work.
Carpet cleaners often hope that they will find one miracle product that will deal with all types of stains. Unfortunately this could never be the case.
In fact some stains, because they have left both water-soluble and oily residues and possibly even a residual dye stain, require several different stain removal products, used in the correct order.
You may find it helpful to test the pH of the stain with litmus paper or a pH meter. If the stain is acidic, it should be treated with an alkaline product and vice versa.
STAIN REMOVAL SOLUTIONS
- Water-based products
STAIN PRO: this is for all protein or organic stains which include most food and drinks such as juices, sodas, fresh tea and coffee, wine, but also blood, vomit and excrement.
COFFEE STAIN REMOVER: some drink spillages may leave a residual tannin stain. Tannin is a strong dye and needs an acidic stain remover. It is found in tea, coffee, red wine, beer, cola and many fruit juices. Coffee Stain Remover can also help with watermarks and other yellow and brown discolorations.
RED Rx: this is a dye remover and it is effective on most food and drink colourings, some water-based inks and dye stains. However, it could also take the dye out of deep coloured fibres so its use is usually restricted to pale fibres.
- Solvent-based products
SOLVALL SPOTTER: a solvent for spot cleaning oil, grease, adhesives, tar, gum, oil-based paints etc.
SOLVEX: a water-rinsable solvent for spotting gloss and emulsion paints, nail varnish, varnish and solvent soluble inks.
CITRUS GEL: this is a citrus solvent and detergent based liquid gel for all greasy, oily stains, particularly on carpets with solvent-sensitive backings such as latex and bitumen. It will also soften up hardened chewing gum.
INK SOLV: a water-based micro-emulsion spotter for ink, marker pen, nail polish, PVA adhesive and other water and solvent soluble stains on carpets, fabrics and hard surfaces, such as leather/vinyl upholstery.
Other Prochem stain removal products and problem solvers are available for specific problems, including rust, stains on wool carpets and rugs, fire residues and soot, draught marks, jute browning, chewing gum etc.
How to apply stain removal products correctly:
- First remove any solid matter with a spatula or blunt knife.
- Pre-test a small section of the stain with the stain remover to check for any adverse reaction or colour change.
- Pre-test the stain removal product and procedure in an inconspicuous area.
- Apply water-based products by trigger sprayer, feathering out beyond the stain.
- Agitate the product gently into the fibre with a brush if the stain is deep-seated.
- Blot with a clean white towel or pads of folded tissue paper. If there is no transfer to the towel or pad then you are not using the correct product for the type of stain.
- If indicated on the product label, rinse-extract the entire area using Fibre & Fabric Rinse in the machine.
- Solvent stain removal products should be carefully applied onto the stain and blotted immediately to avoid spreading the stain.
- Some hardened stains will require a longer dwell time in order to soften the residues.
Always follow instructions on the label carefully and follow the correct dilution rates if the product requires dilution.
Always pre-test a product in an inconspicuous place and check for dye stability, colour and texture change, or indeed any other reaction.
Need to know more? More complete stain removal tips can be found here
More still? Get onto a Prochem Training Course: www.prochem-uk.com/section.php?xSec=6