Confessions of a Carpet Cleaner

Confessions of a Carpet Cleaner

In this blog, I hope to give you an insight into why you should use a professional carpet & upholstery cleaning company, whilst examining a few myths along the way.

Scenario 1:

You have both splashed out and bought a £2000 Stella McCartney designer outfit direct from her store and a £1500 made to measure suit from Saville Row.  It’s an investment in yourselves, allowing you both to look and feel great for years to come.  But……you go to a party and your partner spills a drink all over himself.  Disaster !!  However, all is not lost.  You look at the care label and it says to send the suit off to the specialist cleaners and they rescue your suit, which is then returned without the stain and looking as good as new.  Phew , £3.5K investment protected.

Scenario 2:

You have both splashed out and bought new 100% wool carpets throughout the house, spending £3500 on a nice looking and great feeling addition to your home.  It’s an investment in your home, allowing it to look and feel great for years to come.  But…..you host a party and your partner spills a drink all over the carpet.  Disaster !!  However, all is not lost.  You have lots of cleaning products under your kitchen sink and your mate down the pub told you to use salt, bicarb, vanish, 1001, hairspray, WD40 etc.  What could possibly go wrong ?  The stain is now 3 times as big, much darker and won’t come out.


The same investment, but massively different results in both scenarios.  If you used everything under the kitchen sink, or turned to the internet to clean your designer suits, your investment would most likely be permanently ruined, so why would you do this for your carpets or upholstery, even though the replacement costs could be the same ?

By using a professionally trained and experienced company, you have a much better chance of your carpets lasting as long as your designer suits.  We routinely carry approximately 20 different spot removers, along with numerous cleaning agents which are specifically designed to treat specific spills and soils

Just to show we aren’t making things up, here is a short list of things our customers have told us about before calling us out :

    1. Red wine spill‘Well, I put white wine on it and the colour seemed to disappear, but it has turned black after a week’. What has happened here is the white wine has diluted the stain, making the colour appear lighter and making it appear that the stain has vanished.  However, the area covered by liquid on the carpet surface is only a fraction of the stain, the majority of the wine is most likely in the carpet backing and even in the underlay, similar to an iceberg having most of it’s mass submerged and out of view.  The dark mark could be the red wine wicking back up the carpet fibres, or could be simply the damp area attracting dirt as you walk over it.
      • Solution – Don’t Panic !  Soak up as much of the spill as possible using kitchen roll or a clean towel.  Make up an acidic detergent solution by mixing 1 tsp of mild wool safe detergent to 300ml of warm water, then adding one tblsp of white vinegar.  Pour the acidic detergent into a spray bottle and mist onto the stained area, blotting up with dry cloths frequently. Repeat until no more transfer onto the towel is noted.  Remember – little and often is the best method.   Upon completion, leave a small stack of kitchen roll or a clean towel over the area and weigh down with a heavy object (such as a heavy book or your husband) and leave to dry.
  1. Oil spill‘My partner got engine oil on the carpet and I used WD-40 and some gentle dabbing with a cloth, then I used soapy water and gave the carpet a good scrub’ It is still there and I can’t get rid of it’  WD-40 is formulated with strong lubricating oils and mineral solvents (amongst other top secret things).  The solvents in the WD-40 may have lifted the main oil spill, but have succeeded in adding more oil to the carpet.  This oil may be lighter in colour than engine oil so may not have been immediately visible, but as you walk over the oil it will attract dirt from your shoes and gradually darken.  Also, when scrubbing a carpet, the friction can cause the fibres to blow (separate from each other) or fluff (similar appearance to felt), which along with the heat caused by friction can result in the stain penetrating deeper into the fibres and becoming harder or impossible to remove.
      • Solution – Scrape off excess oil if possible, then sprinkle baking soda, cornstarch, or another absorbent on the stain and leave for 30 minutes. Vacuum the powder, but avoid using a brush vacuum as this may spread the stain further.  Then, using a clean white cloth, sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent and blot until the solvent is absorbed.  DO NOT SCRUB
  2. Mascara stain‘My kids have spilled mascara onto the carpet (yes, of course it was the kids!) and I have tried nail varnish remover but it won’t budge’. Amongst other ingredients, mascara is made of pigments, oils and waxes which make lashes appear darker and fuller (so I have been told).  Unfortunately it also leaves nasty looking stains on the carpet if dropped.
      • Solution – Mix ¼ tsp of mild detergent to 250 ml warm water. Sponge the stain with the detergent solution. Dab with a cloth dipped in clear water and blot until the liquid is absorbed. Note: Work slowly from the outside of the stain inwards and try to avoid over-wetting the carpet.  DO NOT SCRUB
  3. Carpets get dirtier quicker once they have been cleaned‘My friend had her carpets cleaned and they got dirty really quickly. She said that having carpets cleaned regularly shortens their life’.  This is one of the most persistent myths that we come across, fuelled mainly by social media.  However, this may have had some degree of truth in the early days of carpet cleaning.  Wet shampoo cleaning with rotary machines was widespread in the 70’s, and hot-water extraction, also regarded as preferable by carpet manufacturers, had not been introduced either. Wet shampoos were once formulated from coconut oil soaps, residues of which can be foamy or sticky.  Since no rinse is performed, the residue continued to attract dirt after cleaning, leading to the carpet getting dirtier after cleaning.
      • Solution – Modern hot water extraction machines (both portable and truck-mounted), combined with superior cleaning solutions results in a thorough deep clean of your carpets. If detergents are used, these can be neutralised and thoroughly rinsed out, and many carpet cleaners use detergent free cleaning solutions (such as micro-splitters), which can be left in the carpet without causing re-soiling.  Regular cleaning removes deeply ingrained soils which can cause wear and tear, thus extending the life of your carpet.  The only way it may appear to get dirty quickly is that you will notice new stains if they are on a clean carpet, whereas on a dirty one they may not be visible.


To summarise, it is possible for you to remove small stains yourself without the need to call in a professional, but this needs you to have a stock of basic chemicals to hand.  As professionals, we carry a wide range of detergents, cleaning solutions and spot removers and have experience in dealing with most, if not all types of spills and stains.  We can’t guarantee to remove all stains, but we will certainly have a good chance by using the correct chemistry and methods.

Regular cleaning enhances the look and feel of your carpets and upholstery, can extend their useful life and can have a beneficial effect on mood and health (by removing allergens).

Always use a trained, experienced and insured professional company for your cleaning needs.  Don’t forget that training, chemicals, equipment and insurance are expensive, so if your cleaning quote seems to be cheap then there may be a reason for that.  As an Advanced NCCA (www.ncca.co.uk) member and Trading Standards Approved (www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk), you can rest assured that we will provide a high quality service at a fair price.