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Ask the Expert: Wicking Spots

ask-the-expert-wicking-spotsWicking spots are those pesky spots that reappear after drying. They are one part mystery; one part nuisance. In this Ask the Expert blog, we tackle the why wicking spots are different and what you can do to get rid of them.

Wicking spots are different

Wicking spots are not like regular spots. The spot has actually collected at the tops of the fibers. Other spots typically travel the entire length of the yarn. Wicking spots are also different because liquids have penetrated into the carpet backing or even to the substrate.  A wicking spot is more likely to have moisture readings prior to cleaning. So if you test correctly, you can find them before you start cleaning. Wicking is more likely to occur on hydrophobic fibers such as polypropylene/olefin, triexta and polyester. It can, however, still occur on nylon.

Solving the wicking mystery

If it reappears after drying, can a spotter fix it? Browning treatments and oxidizers can help. A post-application of an  encapsulant, which could be more successful than the browning treatments and oxidizers. After applying an encapsulant, reclean with an absorption method. This has been proven to best course of action.

You can also try pressing a dry terry towel on the affected area to remove additional moisture. Quicker drying with vertical fans also helps. If the fiber is hydrophobic and an over application of moisture has occurred, encapsulants will not work.

When this over wetting occurs, you can’t apply additional wet products. So let the spot wick into something else like a terry towel (slightly dampened) or even an insoluble powder.  Absorbent powders are still preferred. Damp terry towels need to be weighted down onto the fibers in order to be effective. The powder can then be removed with vacuuming.

Not all reappearing spots are wicking

Not all spots that reappear are the result of wicking. This means an absorbent compound won’t work. If a spot reappears weeks after a cleaning, it’s most likely a sticky residue.  A pH meter can determine the kind of sticky residue. Food and beverage sources have pH readings between 3 and 6; detergent residues have pH readings between 8 and 10; and oils generally have no contrast in pH from the surrounding carpet.

Reoccurring and wicking spots are mighty foes to the professional carpet cleaner. You’ll probably have to try several methods to determine what works best in every situation.

If you have any other questions about wicking spots, let us know. We’ll be glad to make a recommendation.
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Carpet Color Loss


Carpet color loss is a universal challenge. Ultraviolent rays from the son can naturally cause color fading. It’s pretty impossible to shield your carpet from UV rays (however, there is special glass (Low-E) that can help with this).

However, there are other things that cause carpet color loss that you have more control over. Chemical color loss happens due to chemical reactions. There are two types of chemical reactions: reduction/oxidation (REDOX) and Ionization.

REDOX reactions, which are caused by either:

  • Reducers from sodium hydrosulfite
  • Oxidizers, such as from peroxides

Ionization is caused by acids like hydrochloric or sulfuric. Ionization only impacts nylon not wool. Hydrochloric registers a high chlorine content. Alkalies come from concentrated hydroxides like oven and concrete cleaners. Many of these will show up as oxidizers.

What colors fade first

Generally, color loss occurs one primary hue at a time, especially for natural color loss. The general order is for blue to go first, followed by red  then yellow. This means that a brown carpet will first turn orange, then yellow and finally white. There are specific substances that destroy only one color. Formaldehyde destroys red dye. Formaldehyde is found in wooden floor products. Freon destroys yellow dye. Freon was the common coolant used in air-conditioning

Measuring for chemical reactions

You can measure REDOX and ionization on meters. Measure REDOX on an oxidation reduction potential (ORP) meter. Negative numbers indicate a reducer while the positive values indicate an oxidizer. Mild reducers for removing coffee or tea have ORP values of approximately of -200. Strong red dye stain removers have ORP values of less than -450. Three percent hydrogen peroxide has an ORP value of approximately 360. Strong peroxide stain removers have ORP values of 450 and more.

Chemical color losses

Chemical color losses typically have a pH that is more than 0.3 difference from the surrounding carpet. The pH and sometimes the ORP values will often need to be neutralized before new dye can be reapplied.

The best neutralizers for alkali pH values is acetic acids; the best neutralizer for acidic residues is ammonium hydroxide. That is because both are volatile. However, other forms of mild acids or alkali can work too. You may want to avoid ammonium hydroxide when chlorine is in the carpet. This could create a poisonous gas. Measure chlorine with a chlorine meter,  which looks and operates like the pH and ORP meters.

Color loss occurs in  both nylon and wool carpet. Both are usually dyed with acid dyes. This can cause issues with  alkalinity, especially with wool carpets.


Nylon 6 is more prone to loss color than Nylon 6,6. The Nylon 6 is easier to re-dye. A stronger reaction resulting in color loss is more prevalent than wool.

ORP values of less than -300 or over 400 can destroy the color as well. A mild reducer is the best neutralizer for a strong oxidizer, and a mild oxidizer is the best neutralizer for a strong reducer. Mixing strong reducers and oxidizers together on the carpet will create a lot of heat and poisonous gas.


Wool fiber cannot be harmed by strong acids, but its dyes are still susceptible to damage. It bleeds at slightly acidic pH values. Most wool will measure pH 5.5. That is because it is anionic, and its polarity starts to flip when its reading climbs over 5.9.

Carpet color loss is the result of both natural and chemical reactions. It’s much harder to control UV rays. Instead it’s more prudent to protect carpet color from chemical reactions. If you have any questions about carpet color loss and how you can better protect your clients’ carpets, please get in touch.

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Product Spotlight: High Pressure Carpet Cleaning Hoses

high-pressure-carpet-cleaning-hosesHigh pressure carpet cleaning hoses are an extremely important tool. You’ll want to invest in a quality hose to ensure it doesn’t break during a cleaning. If this happens, you could burn your hand or damage the floor. Hoses can also get pinhole leaks, which aren’t as catastrophic as broken hose but not good either.

What to consider when buying hoses

When choosing a high pressure carpet cleaning hose, you need consider several things: value, functionality and quality. Cheaper is rarely better. You can save now by purchasing a cheap hose, but you’ll certainly pay later because it just won’t hold up for long.

Another consideration is functionality. How does the hose hold up to heat? How much does it weight? Is it easy to maneuver? How does it work with crimps and disconnects?

Finally, quality is of course paramount to any tool you choose. By selecting quality hoses, you can feel assured that it is made well and will last through many cleanings.

About Pro Clean hoses

Pro Clean offers a unique high pressure carpet cleaning hose. It’s lighter and holds head better than any other hose. The ¼” steel braided hose is rated up to 300 degrees F. It is available in 50 feet or 100 feet. Hoses are equipped with a no-slip hose saver and reusable crimps. The hoses are available in four colors: green, orange, red and blue. These hoses have been described as the future of high pressure hoses.

To accompany hoses, we offer hose crimps that do not require a crimping tool to attach to your hoses. They are also reusable. This means you won’t lose time if a hose blows out. In a few minutes, you’ll be back to work. We also offer a quick disconnect cover to protect floors and hands.

Shop our high pressure carpet cleaning hoses and accessories today. You’ll enjoy a hose at a great value, high functionality and excellent quality.

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Water Damaged Carpet Cleaning Tips


Water damaged carpet is a nightmare for homeowners. It’s a situation that needs to be remediated fast. The smallest bit of water damage can quickly lead to mold and mildew. The first step is to stop the source of the leak. Then comes the clean up.

Act quickly

As soon as an inquiry comes in be ready to get on site. Water damage acts as an attractor for soils, pests and microbes. If not remedied immediately, water damaged carpet will suffer from permanent discoloration and odor. There is also the susceptibility for mold growth, which can be dangerous to a homeowner’s health.

What can be salvaged?

If you arrive and begin to remediate immediately, it’s possible to save the carpet. You’ll probably need to replace the padding. Replacing padding as opposed to the entire carpet is more cost effective.

Restoration depends on the kind of moisture

Water damaged carpets can be the result of many different types of liquid. There are clean supply line leaks like those from a washing machine or sink. This type of leak, if remediated within 24 hours, typically won’t require safety equipment.

Water damage from a flood or sewage backflow is a different story. This leak isn’t just water; it’s also bacteria. This type of remediation will require safety equipment with professional cleaners needing to wear protective gear. With this type of water damage, you may be less likely to salvage any of the flooring as well as baseboards and other infected areas.

How severe is the damage?

There are four classes of water loss, calculated by the level of saturation:

  • Class 1: the least amount of water, absorption and evaporation, affecting part of a room or area
  • Class 2: a large amount of water, absorption and evaporation; typically affecting at least an entire room
  • Class 3: areas entirely saturated with the likely source of water overhead, affecting ceilings, walls, carpet, cushion and subfloors
  • Class 4 refers to specialty drying situations, with wet materials with very low permeance/porosity, such as hardwood, plaster and concrete, requiring longer drying times and special methods
  • Confined damage

    Sometimes by sheer luck the moisture is confined to a small area. The drying process is first. Using fans, air movers and dehumidifiers will reduce the moisture. Depending on the extent of the problem, it may take only a few hours to dry. Check your moisture meters to determine when drying is complete.

    Steam clean carpets to sanitize and deodorize

    After the moisture is removed and it’s determined the carpets can be salvaged, it’s time to clean. You’ll want to use carpet cleaning chemicals with the power to kill bacteria and organisms. These cleaning agents can restore non-physical damage to water damaged carpets.

    Rinse carpets effectively so that no residue remains. Residue can cause the fibers to be stiff. It may be a good idea to bring the drying equipment back in to speed up drying. The most important part of cleaning water damaged carpet is flushing out any bacteria and preventing mold and mildew. Baseboards should also be cleaned or replaced.

    Cleaning water damaged carpets can be an extreme challenge and only possible for certain circumstances. We provide cleaning supplies to help with this type of restoration. Browse our products to learn more.

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    Green Professional Carpet Cleaning


    What you need to know to choose the best green carpet cleaning product

    Green professional carpet cleaning continues to be more popular. Customers are more concerned than ever about the chemicals used in cleaning. Carpet cleaning chemicals have evolved slowly to meet this demand, but are they effective? How can you provide a green professional carpet cleaning to clients and ensure their carpets are really clean?

    VOCs can be harmful

    Powerful solutions are often needed to break down stains. Because these chemicals degrade the stain, they can leave residue and impact. They may release high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. They also contain a number of ingredients known to cause a variety of health-related problems. For instance, some traditional chemicals have been identified as triggering asthma attacks in children.

    Plant-based cleaners

    Plant-based cleaners have become a green professional carpet cleaning standard. Being plant-based versus chemical-based limits the impact on the environment. The arguments against plant-based cleaners are that it leaves a harsh smell and often takes multiple applications to remove stains.

    Not all green-certified chemicals are the same

    Carpet cleaning solutions can be certified green, meaning they meet EPA standards. When considering a switch from conventional to green carpet cleaning, you should know that not all green-certified chemicals are alike. Some chemicals may work better in different situations and on certain types of carpet. It may take some trial and error to find a product that works well and is easy on the environment.

    Questions to consider

    There are both pre-spray and heavy duty cleaners recognized as green. Here are some questions to ask when choosing a green professional carpet clean product:

    • Is it soap free?
    • Does it provide a two-step process? This can save time and reduce costs.
    • Does it have anti-stain, anti-soiling and anti-wicking features?
    • Does it meet or exceed EPA DfE? This is something customers may inquire about.
    • Can it be used on stain resistant and wool carpets and upholstery?
    • Can it be diluted? This is cost reducer.
    • Is it safe to use on resistant nylon?
    • Does it disinfect and kill bacteria?
    • Does it require a rinse?
    • Is PPE (personal protective equipment) required?

    Once you have these answers, you will be able to choose the best green professional carpet cleaning product based on the job requirements.

    You can find our green carpet cleaners in our products section. Just look for the green leaf!

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    Pet Odor Professional Cleaning Tips


    Pets are an important part of many households. The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that 36.5 percent of American households have dogs and 30.4% have cats. Although they are loyal and loving, pets can make a mess and leave an odor. We’ve put together some pet odor professional carpet cleaning tips to help.

    First, it’s important to understand that carpet cleaning alone will not remove pet urine or pet odor from the carpet padding and sub-floor. Pet stains and odor are best treated with professional enzymes and deodorizing agents. We offer pet odor neutralizers and deodorizers that are safe for you, your clients and their pets.

    Eliminating Urine Smells

    To clean carpet in homes with pets, use an enzymatic based pet odor remover. The enzymes in the cleaner “eat” away at the materials that cause the urine smell. When dealing with well soaked areas, saturate the carpet. Soak the carpet thoroughly. Then cover with cardboard. Allowing this soaking gives the enzymes more time to work. Save these areas for the last in your carpet cleaning.

    Odor Neutralizers

    Pet odor professional carpet cleaning employs a neutralizer to control urine and other odors. Our odor neutralizers eliminate odors chemically by creating an odor free compound.  It encapsulates the odor, minimizing the spread of odor particles. This product is safe on all water safe surfaces. It is a clear liquid with a nice, clean smell. Allow at least 20 minutes of soaking.


    Finish cleanings with a deodorizer, which can help with any lingering smells.  Deodorizers are water soluble products. These products combine counteractants and fragrances that promote maximum odor neutralization. It is a clear liquid with a mild fragrance.  This is best applied with a trigger sprayer, electric atomizer or pump-up sprayer.

    Pet Stains

    Beyond the challenges of pet odor professional carpet cleaning are stains left by pets. A hot water extraction cleaning process is one option. You can also use a spotter to clean specific areas where pet stains accumulate. This could be an entrance into a room or a dog’s favorite spot near the window.Don’t scrub, as this just drives the stain deeper into the carpet fiber. Repeat as necessary: saturation, soaking and light scrubbing.

    These are just a few tips on pet odor professional carpet cleaning. If you’d like to learn more about neutralizers and deodorizers, browse our products.

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    Product Spotlight: Carpet Spotter Cleaner

    spotter-carpet-cleanerLooking for a spotter carpet cleaner? Then you should try the Pro Clean Chemicals Spotter. This Spotter is a non-residual spotter, which means it doesn’t leave anything behind. The Spotter is ideal for everyday spots and stains. It works on dissolving stains and spots. It’s strong enough to get out stubborn stains yet gentle enough to not cause damage to fibers.

    The Pro Clean Chemicals Spotter Formula

    The Spotter is a combination of solvents and cleaning agents formulated for optimum performance. The solvent ingredients allow the spotter to dissolve any stubborn stains. It contains no chlorinated or aliphatic solvents.


    The Spotter is effective on all soils and most spots. It works well on any carpet soil. It’s also great for pre-treating clothing. It dries quickly, leaving no residue.

    How to use it

    Do not dilute, use at full strength. Apply with a spray bottle to soiled area and brush spot, or use a white towel and scrub spot area. Blot up with a clean towel. Allow to dry. If soiled area remains, repeat procedure over when area dries.

    Purchase Today

    The Pro Clean Chemical spotter is available in quart or gallon sizes. This is the best spotter carpet cleaner you’ll ever use. Shop for the Spotter now!
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    Carpet Cleaning 101


    Whether you are a seasoned professional or new to carpet cleaning, understanding the terms and techniques for carpet cleaning is important. That’s why we are dedicating this blog to Carpet Cleaning 101. Keep reading to learn more.


    Blooming occurs when carpet fibers untwist. Blooming occurs for several reasons, including improper heat setting or cleaning, maintenance techniques and general wear and tear.

    Carpet Tiles

    Carpet tiles are actually squares, unlike wall-to-wall. They are most often found in commercial settings. They are very durable, which makes them a good fit for commercial environments.

    Carpet tiles can be solid in color, textured or patterned. They can be removed for individual spot cleaning and/or repairs.


    Also known as “matting,” crushing occurs when fibers become bent and compressed. Eventually, all carpet will show signs of crushing. But it can be slowed by establishing a regular maintenance program, using firm padding below the carpet and frequently rearranging furniture to redirect traffic patterns.


    Denier refers to the total amount of yarn per carpet area; carpets with more denier have a higher yarn count.

    Face Weight

    Similar to denier, face weight plays a role in carpet performance and durability. Face weight is defined as the total weight of fibers per square yard of carpet. When measuring face weight, backing is not included.


    Fibers are the basic material of which carpet is made. Most carpet manufactured today is made of synthetic fibers (i.e. nylon, olefin, polyester). Other types of carpet are made from natural fibers, including wool, cotton, silk and bamboo.


    As a result of high-traffic, wear and tear and improper cleaning methods, carpet fibers can fray. When fraying occurs, the carpet fibers become damaged, expand and change texture.


    Padding is the layer of cushion that is installed between the carpet and floor board. Padding is essential in prolonging carpet life, appearance and quality.


    Pile is the visible portion of carpet fibers. There are several different types and styles of piles, including cut pile and loop pile.

    Pile Reversal

    Pile reversal or shading occurs when high-traffic activity bends the carpet fibers in various directions. It is highly common in hallway coners and doorways and directly results in the creation of a discolored impression.


    Resilience is a carpet’s ability to resist crushing/matting. Type of fiber, padding, backing and other characteristics qualify the amount of resilience a piece of carpeting has.


    Rippling is the consequence of excessive heat and humidity. It causes wave-like or ruffled patterns that appear on wall-to-wall carpeting. Re-stretching carpet can resolve rippling.


    The line where two pieces of carpet intersect is is the seam. Since most carpet is produced in 12-foot wide rolls, it’s nearly impossible to avoid seams.


    Post-installation, new carpet has a tendency to shed fibers for several weeks. While shedding is more common in cut pile and wool carpets, it is still a minor issue for synthetic fiber carpets. Regular vacuuming is the best method for resolving a shedding issue.


    When dirt particles and grime build up in carpet fibers, soiling occurs. Regular professional cleaning can prevent soiling from occurring.


    Tufting is the first step in the carpet manufacturing process. It is the loop (cut or uncut) of pile.

    These terms make up Carpet Cleaning 101. If you need help with any of these carpet concerns, check out our supplies and tools.

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    Professional Carpet Cleaning Accessories: The Tools You Need


    Professional carpet cleaners need great tools. They make every job easier and help you maximize time and effort. Here’s an introduction to professional carpet cleaning accessories. Learn about what tools are necessary, how they work and how they can make all the difference.

    High Pressure Hoses

    Choose hoses that are light and hold heat. A steel braided hose can be rated up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Look for hoses that include a no-slip hose saver. Reusable crimps are also a plus.

    Hose Crimps

    Most hose crimps require a crimping tool, but it’s much more convenient to find hose crimps that don’t require a tool. Using crimps without a tool helps you get jobs done quicker without having to stop and use a tool. Hose crimps that are reusable also reduce costs.


    Every carpet cleaner tool box needs this product. Makes replacing hose endings a breeze.

    Quick Disconnect Set

    Quick disconnect sets come fully assembled. It includes a brass female fitting, a stainless male fitting and a connector cover.

    Quick Disconnect Cover

    Keep your hands and clients’ property safe with a quick connect cover. A high pressure connector cover protects you and floors.

    Trigger Valve Assembly

    These include a stainless steel male fitting and hex nipple. Use it with a trigger sleeve.

    Bone Scraper

    Every carpet cleaner needs one of these in their pockets!!! The best tool to help with those stubborn spills. Feather in with a bone scraper to work a stain remover or chemical agent into carpet fibers.

    This is a blade-like tool used to remove or loosen soils or material coated on carpets. It’s a perfect tool for stubborn spills and helps remove gum, tar and adhesives.

    Trigger Sleeve

    This is the best protection for fingers. It’s an excellent blister preventative. They are typically made from silicone and should fit several types of triggers.

    Shutoff Valve

    You’ll need one that’s tough and can withstand every day usage and abuse.

    Wash Stick

    Use a heavy duty wash stick to wash out your tank, clean off a tool or wash out your truck.

    Professional carpet cleaning accessories are essential for every cleaner. These are just a few professional carpet cleaning accessories we recommend. Browse our accessories to find the right tools for your next job.

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    Five Professional Carpet Cleaning Tips


    As a professional carpet cleaner, you’ve probably seen every stain imaginable. You’ve likely picked up a few professional carpet cleaning tips as well. Because we’ve been in the carpet cleaning business for years, we’ve amassed a lot of experience, including things that have worked and not worked. We decided to share these with you, tips for experts from experts.

    Blot Never Rub

    With the toughest stains, blotting is always the preferred method. Rubbing can ground the stain in further and spread it. Before using any equipment, use a cloth with a small amount of cleaner to blot from the outside inward. This is the best way to control and minimize the stain.

    Countering Over-Shampooing

    Over-shampooing occurs when either too much shampoo is used or the carpet is not rinsed thoroughly. If you encounter a carpet that has soapy residue build up then it must be rinsed properly before cleaning again. Often this residue can cause the carpet to become a dirt magnet. If you suspect the carpets have been overly shampooed in the past, it’s always wise to ask about past carpet care before beginning a new cleaning.

    Rinse Just Enough

    If you over wet carpets too much, water will soak into the bottom of the carpet. Backing materials can cause the carpet to lose its coloring if they become too wet. Carpets will actually shrink from over-wetting and pull from the floor. If the backing and pad become too wet, it’s very hard to dry them. You also have the risk of mold and mildew problems.

    Removing the Unexpected

    Not everything that stains a carpet is a liquid. Sometimes things like gum and wax embed in carpet. There’s a fix for that! For gum, freeze it. Then lift it up, and cut it out. If the piece of gum is small, you shouldn’t be able to tell.

    Wax from candles can sometimes end up in carpet. The solution is to reheat it using an iron. Use a paper or cloth towel under the iron. When the wax becomes softened, peel it off with a knife or other tool.

    Odor Issues

    Odor in carpet can come from people, animals or other lingering smells. Use a water based cleaner. This will encapsulate the odor which minimizes the spread of odor molecules.

    These are just a few of the professional carpet cleaning tips we’ve picked up over the years. If you have other questions, feel free to contact us. If you’d like to browse our carpet cleaning products, you can start shopping.