What to do About a Permanent Stain
By Steve Gillman
Sometimes a spill becomes a permanent stain and although you
might lighten it using the techniques outlined on this site,
you just can't remove it completely. Let's look first at what
kinds of substances cause permanent stains in carpet - the kind
even the professionals can't get out. Then we'll take a look
at what your options are if you won't replacing the carpeting
in the whole room any time soon.
Substances Which Can Cause Permanent Stains
Toilet bowl cleaners (especially the acid-based ones)
Mustard (particularly if it has turmeric in it, as most do)
Drain cleaners (the alkaline ones)
Other substances can also cause permanent staining depending
on how long they remain in the carpet before you try removing
them. In other words, to avoid the problem, clean up spills and
stains as soon as you can. By the way, what we call a stain is
often not really a stain, and you might get all of the actual
substance out of the carpeting. The problem is that the dye in
the fibers can be affected, so the spot is there to stay no matter
how much you try to clean it up. This is obvious with something
like bleach, but even the stomach acids from vomit may alter
the color of the fibers.
Permanent Stains - Remedies
If you're not sure whether a stains is removable, you can
call a professional carpet cleaner and ask for advice. But what
if it is there to stay and re-carpeting the whole room is not
in the budget? Then it is time to hide the stain or replace a
part of the carpet.
If you have scraps saved from the original installation, you
can cut out the stain, cut a piece of scrap to match the size
of your hole, and glue it into place. Have a professional do
this if you are not comfortable with the job - or try it first
and then hire someone to clean up your mess if it doesn't work
out. If you don't have any pieces of the carpeting from the original
installation, you can cut a small piece out from the back of
a closet, where it won't be noticed.
If the stain is small you might get by with carefully snipping
out the damaged fibers and gluing new ones in their place. Again,
you can cut some fibers out for this from the back corner of
a closet that has the same carpet. Carefully apply glue at the
base of the fibers where you snipped out the stained ones, and
use tweezers to push the new fibers into place. Let this dry
overnight, and if there is any unevenness, trim the tops.
Removing as much of the staining substance as you can might
be enough to make many permanently stained spots unnoticeable,
so try cleaning and removal remedies before taking the steps
above. Finally, you can always hide any permanent staining in
carpet by putting a rug or a piece of furniture over it.