Why Do Carpet Stains Reappear After Cleaning? | EasyClean Solutions

Why Do Carpet Stains Reappear After Cleaning?

why carpet stains reappear after cleaning

Carpets that still look dirty or have stains reappear after cleaning is a result of something called wicking. This is due to over wetting the carpet, the backing, and pad which causes them to return back to the surface once dry.

Stains reappearing after carpet cleaning?

You’re probably frustrated and annoyed after spending hard-earned money to have your carpets cleaned and then to find that once they’re dry the stains are reappearing, you’re not alone. 

It’s actually more common than you think and a lot of people also experience the same problem, but why is this? This article will explain to you the reasons as to why you’re having this problem and how it can be avoided.

Sometimes you can find that the stains can come back quite quickly often within a few days other times it can be weeks, either way, it can be extremely frustrating for them to re-emerge especially when you had thought they were professionally cleaned.

There are mainly two reasons why stains reappear after cleaning:


Stains that return as a result of wicking are the ones that lie below the carpet fibres. This means that the original stains have not only damaged the carpet fibres, but it has also damaged the backing of the carpet as well and potentially the underlay. Whilst a professional is attempting to remove a stubborn stain the carpet may have received too much moisture, and excessive rinsing can saturate the area and allow water to penetrate into the carpet backing and underlay. The clean water will then mix with the stain and become dirty and discoloured.

About 80% of this water is drawn out of the carpet during the extraction stage, but much of it remains behind in both the carpet backing and underlay. Then as the moisture evaporates and the carpet dries out, the dirty water gradually wicks upward into the carpet fibres. The once deep and hidden stain then returns to the surface.

If spots and stains reappear as soon as the carpets dry, wicking is most likely to blame. In a nutshell, wicking is caused by over-wetting the carpet, backing, and underlay.


Stains that reappear because of residue are often those that lie in the carpet fibres themselves. This is caused by the chemical agent used for the clean was left behind in the carpet in the process. Even once the carpet has dried the substance will still remain in the carpet. Carpet cleaning detergent can often be a sticky substance, and it attracts dirt and grime. It becomes particularly noticeable in areas of high traffic such as Halls, stairs and walkways. When somebody walks on the carpet with dirty shoes the dirt stick to the substance and becomes extremely noticeable quickly. The same happens if it was dust too.

Residue is why carpet cleaned using a traditional method such as hot water extraction becomes soiled so quickly. Even if you did vacuum the carpet it wouldn’t be possible to remove the detergent stuck in the fibres.

If spots and stains reappear several weeks after your carpets have been professionally cleaned, excessive carpet cleaning detergent is to blame, traditional carpet cleaning methods with not enough suction power cannot extract all of the chemicals injected into the carpet.

How to fix the problem

Ensure the professional you have instructed to do the clean has the right professional equipment, don’t be afraid to ask them about what equipment and chemicals they use. Ensure they are fully trained in carpet cleaning as not a lot of people realise that you can actually obtain qualifications in the industry. 

Finally, always check recommendations and reviews, not just on one site do your research on the company before you decide to hand your money over. Any company that’s questioned on their work ethic should be happy to answer anything.

This will help you differentiate the rogues from genuine businesses.

EasyClean Solutions
EasyClean Solutions

EasyClean Solutions is managed by Jordan Withey who is an experienced carpet cleaner on the South Coast. He's always happy to provide you with no obligation advice. Simply call or complete our contact form and he'll be in touch!

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EasyClean Solutions is a professional carpet and upholstery cleaning company based in Hampshire. Follow our blog as we share top tips on keeping your carpets looking their best.
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