Why do carpet stains keep coming back?

Cleaning carpet and spillages on a carpet isn’t difficult, it’s just important to know how to do it properly so that stains don’t appear to come back and your carpet stays clean and odour free.

If the stain or spillage isn’t promptly or properly cleaned there are several issues that can arise. One of which is that the stain may appear to be treated and then over the coming hours and days it reappears. This can be very frustrating but there are several reasons for this and many of them can be rectified.

  1. Ensure spills are treated quickly – this prevents spill seeping too deep into the carpet and potentially through the carpet backing if your carpet isn’t impervious. If spills do seep beneath the top layer of the carpet and the backing this can cause mould and bacteria to grow, which is one of the most common causes of odour issues in carpets.
  2. Ensure you remove the whole of the stain - If any small part of the stain or spill remains in the carpet fibres it could become sticky as the carpet dries and begin to re-attract dirt and debris to the same spot, making it appear as though the previous stain is returning.
  3. Ensure all the moisture from the spillage or from the water applied to the carpet to remove the stain is extracted back out of the carpet - Wicking back is the term given to the reoccurrence of carpet stains. Wet cleaning or carpet stains can cause excess moisture to reach the carpet backing. As the water evaporates and the carpet dries the stains can travel back to the surface of the carpet via the carpet fibres. Causing the stain to reappear on the surface of the carpet.
  4. Use the correct amount of cleaning products – If you use too much stain remover or cleaning products and don’t properly remove them from the carpet fibres, they too can become sticky and re-attract soil, dirt and debris. Washing up liquid can cause particular problems when used to remove stains. If any residue detergent is left on the carpet, by its nature it will attract and retain the dirt and will cause a dirty mark to re-appear on your carpet.
  5. If cleaning a bigger area do not return to the room until it is entirely dry – If you have used a wet cleaning method to clean a room it’s important to let the carpet dry thoroughly before entering the room and using items like wheelchairs and trollies within the room. If the carpet is still wet it will attract and retain dirt from shoes and wheeled traffic and hold it within the drying carpet fibres causing stains and marks to occur.


The main items you will need when attending to a spillage on your carpet include:

  • A bowl of warm water
  • Plain cloths or paper towels
  • A scrapper if the spill needs to be scrapped rather than blotted
  • The correct stain remover for the spillage
  • You may need a heavy object such as a book to help with blotting


Our spot removal handy guide will give you step by step instructions on how to attend to a stain on your carpet or watch our brief instructional video.


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