LET'S GET PHYSICAL... "Dry" Soil Removal

Don’t Touch That Bottle!

You’ve just finished cleaning the fireplace and that last shovelful of ashes is safely in the trash bag.   Patting yourself on the back for a job well done, you place the shovel back on the rack – only to have the rack topple over.  You watch in horror as the fireplace poker lands on your white carpet.  Thank goodness the black spot it makes is only the size of your little finger!  You head for the kitchen cabinet and grab your favorite spot remover…Stop!  Put That Bottle Down!

A Problem Waiting To Happen

What could possibly be wrong with using that “gentle” spot cleaner on this black mark?  Well, most of the time it would be perfectly safe, especially on a standard carpet.  However, in this instance the spot is soot.

Soot is a solid that is made up of extremely fine particles of carbon and other combustion products.  These soot particles cling to the outside of the carpet fibers.  Once you add any type of liquid to this dry soot, the composition of the spot changes completely.   The liquid breaks apart the soot and carries the tiny particles into the fiber.  The soot can then act much like a dye, attaching to the core fiber with an amazing tenacity.

Soot Is Not The Only Spot Of This Kind

There are a whole host of “dry soils” that should be removed by physical means rather than using chemicals. 

Pollen, graphite, toner, ashes of any kind, powder makeup, and all powdered cocoa or drink mixes – any dry granular substances should be removed through physical actions.  Even plain water can “set” these spots and make removal extremely difficult. 

Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

The best way to physically remove dry soils is vacuuming.    Most vacuum cleaners come with a crevice tool attachment, which is ideal for this kind of spotting.  

One of the advantages to a crevice tool is that it increases the vacuum/suction in a concentrated area. 

The Fabric Sponge

The Fabric Sponge can be used on fabrics as well as floor coverings to remove dry soils. 

From fingerprints to kick marks, this remarkable sponge removes many dry soils with one or two swipes. 


Brushing is also a good way to remove certain dry soils, but caution must be used or unsightly abrasion may result. 

Oily crumbs stuck on the sofa fabric or maybe a light scuffmark to remove?  Grab a soft brush and swipe gently.  Voila!  No chemicals required!

Exercise Restraint

Too much of a good thing can be harmful.  One of the biggest mistakes people make is over- working a spot or rubbing too hard.  This can lead to fraying and unsightly fiber damage.

Never rub in a back-and-forth motion.  Always rub in one direction at a time and do so very gently.  It is also good to test any procedure in an inconspicuous place before you begin to use it on the spot.

Don’t “Muddy” the Mud

Mud can also be a headache, but only if you make it that way.  The best procedure is to let the mud dry completely and then vacuum it away.  If you add water to the mud, you may turn a small spot into a big spot – and into an even larger problem!


Physical spot removal methods are the simplest and safest:  try vacuuming and brushing first.  

On the other hand, the mildest and simplest cleaning chemicals can cause all kinds of problems including shrinkage, bleeding, and setting the spot, making it impossible to remove. That is why physical methods are always safer.    

On the Bright Side

As always, the experts of your local Fiber-Seal Service Center are just a phone call away when you need assistance with different types of stains. The expert technicians of Fiber-Seal are trained professionals. Give us a call whenever you need spotting assistance.