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What to do About a Permanent Stain

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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)
Acne medication
Iodine
Bleach
Mustard (particularly if it has turmeric in it, as most do)
Drain cleaners (the alkaline ones)
Hair dyes
Plant fertilizers

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.

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