Reappearing Stains

The Spot Was Gone, But Now It's Back

Reappearing spots can sometimes occur on upholstery fabrics, but they are much more common on floor coverings. This blog post will focus on spot removal for floor coverings. 

Floor coverings are and fabrics on the floor. These horizontal fabrics are constantly exposed to general soiling and other types of traffic spots like oil and grease, which can be forced down into the fibers. 

Equally challenging are the occasional mishaps where liquid spills, such as soft drinks, fall from a height and the impact pushes them through the fibers and into the backing. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges involved in cleaning these types of stains.


If the spilled substance has made its way to the backing, and especially if a large quantity was spilled, there is a tendency for the offending substance to crawl back up to the top of the yarns as it is drying. This action is called “wicking” and it is a major reason for reappearing spots. 

If the spot you have cleaned reappears, simply cleaning the area again may remove the spot for good. Sometimes this must be done more than once to finally solve the problem.

Sticky Spills

The ingredients in the substance that is spilled are often the reason for reappearing spots. Many common household products contain sugars, and while the color of the spilled substance may be removed, the invisible sugars can remain. These sugars act like magnets for dirt and the area can quickly be soiled, making it look like the spot has reappeared. Rinsing with cool or warm water followed by blotting or extraction is the best way to remove unwanted soils and sugars.

Soil-Attracting Residues

It is very common to find spot cleaning instructions that recommend the use of dishwashing liquid as a primary cleaning agent. The problem is that these liquids and other similar “off the shelf” products can leave sticky residues if not properly rinsed with water. It is no surprise that the gradual soiling of the cleaned area makes it appear that the spot keeps coming back and in some cases, looks even larger. Learn more about using dishwashing liquid on fabrics here.

It is very important to be sure that spot removers do not dry tacky or greasy. Put a teaspoon of the spot remover in a small dish and lave it to dry overnight. If the reside is not dry to the touch in the morning, don’t use that product on carpets or rugs.

Spot Removal Tips

When a spill happens, it is important to take the right steps.

ACT QUICKLY! The longer the delay, there’s a higher probability that a spill will become a permanent stain. Remember, staining is influenced by many factors and no carpet is completely stain proof.

Blot liquids with a dry, white absorbent cloth or white (not printed) paper towels. Do not scrub the area, as scrubbing can cause pile distortion that can look worse than the spot itself. Continue to blot with the cloth or paper towels until the area is completely dry. For spills with some semi-solids in them, gentry scrape those up with a rounded spoon before blotting. 

Always pretest any spot removal agent in an inconspicuous are to ensure the solution will not damage the fibers or change the color.

One you have pre-tested the cleaning agent, apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth and gently blot the area of the spill. 

Work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent the spill from spreading. Do not scrub! Blot, absorbing as much liquid as possible, and repeat as necessary. 

Continue using the cleaning solution as long as there is a transfer of the spill to the cloth. Be patient! Complete removal of the spill way require repeating the step several times.

Tired of Removing Spots & Wish There Was an Easier Way?

Your local Fiber-Seal Service Center is ready to help, and just a phone call away. Find your location here.


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