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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Week 7 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

11/17/2014 (Permalink)

A hungry family member

Don't Let Stains Ruin Your Holiday! We’re getting into the time of year when many of us host holiday parties and family gatherings. With this inevitably comes accidental food and drink spills onto carpet and furniture. There are primarily five major categories of stains. 

When Uncle Bob spills eggnog onto your carpet, it results in which of the following types of stain?

A.  Combination Stain
B.  Chemical Stain
C.  Water Soluble Stain
D.  Non-Water Soluble Stain
E.  Insoluble Stain

Click on the link above to select your answer.  Once the pop-up window opens, hit "send" on your email to select your answer.  If the pop-up does not work for you, please email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.  You have until 11:59PM on Sunday, 11/23 to submit your answer.

Need a hint?  "Hunt" in our article below!

Even the most careful adult will suffer a food or beverage spill on a carpet from time to time. Sometimes the culprit can be your pet.  In a worst case scenario, your home has suffered fire, water, or mold damage which can stain your carpet.  Professional carpet cleaning is the best way to maintain your carpet’s looks over time.  However, calling in a pro for every day-to-day spill is simply not practical. Learning a little about the different types of household stains you are most likely to encounter can help you head off any long-term carpet damage with ordinary household products. Before blotting, though, familiarize yourself with best practice methods to use when cleaning carpet stains.

There are five major categories of stains:

  • Water Soluble Stains can be removed with water based cleaning products. Most stains are considered water soluble.  Common examples are soda, alcoholic beverages, latex paint, jelly, and fruit.
  • Non-water Soluble Stains do not respond to water based cleaning solutions and can include oils, greases, gravy, gum, tar, and paint. To be removed with a water-based cleaner, they must be converted to a water soluble form.
  • Combination Stains contain both water and non-water soluble stains. Successful removal requires treatment of both water based and non-water based cleaning solutions. Examples include chocolate, dairy products, meat juices
  • Insoluble Stains do not respond to either water based or non-water based cleaning products. Copy-machine toner is an example.
  • Chemical Stains must undergo a chemical reaction before treating with a water based or non-water based cleaning agent. Examples include urine and rust stains. 
The longer stains sit on a fabric, the more difficult they may be to remove.  According to the American Cleaning Institute, here are some tips for removing some common holiday stains:
1.  Time is of the essence! Immediately blot up as much of the spill as possible.  The longer a stain sets the more stubborn it becomes to remove. Use a clean white bleach-free cloth to remove a stain as the color from the cloth could transfer to the fabric or surface you are cleaning.How to Blot: Push your index finger knuckle into a white bleach-free cloth. Work your knuckle forward and backward then left to right across the carpet stain. Twist your wrist in a clockwise direction. Carpet fibers are twisted clockwise. This motion removes stains from between the fibers without causing the carpet to fuzz. Remember to frequently move the towel to prevent the stain from spreading.

2.  Water-Soluble Stains --  Substances that are water based are usually the least complicated to clean, particularly if the spill is addressed when it is fresh. After removing any solids, plain water can be used to clean up the stain, blotting gently from the edge of the stain and moving inward with a clean white towel or white paper towel. If the stain is a little more set, a mixture of eight ounces of water and about one-quarter teaspoon of clear dishwashing liquid will usually bring up the stain.

3.  Combination Stains -- Some stains, though water soluble, are protein based, which makes them more difficult to treat. The enzymes in these stains will become darker if exposed to heat or anything acidic and will grab on to the carpet fibers more stubbornly. Blood or vomit on carpet should be flushed with cold water immediately after any solids are removed. If plain water fails to remove the stain, it should then be treated with only mild solutions—water and clear dishwashing liquid for wool or wool-blends, and a tablespoon of ammonia mixed in one cup of water for other types of carpet. Hydrogen peroxide can be used on white fabrics only.  Examples of combination stains:blood, dairy products, bodily fluids, meat juices.4.  Non Water-Soluble Stains – Fat and oil-based stains pose a problem because they naturally stick to other oils, such as the petroleum used to make synthetic carpet. In recognition of this, some carpet manufacturers add special treatments and coatings to their synthetic fibers to create some stain resistance. For carpets with these coatings, water with mild soap is still the best place to begin in cleaning the stain. For carpets that are untreated, use a CRI-certified dry carpet cleaner. Blot the stain until it is removed, and then blot the area again with water to pick up any leftover cleaning product. Allow the area to dry completely, and then vacuum.  Examples of Non-Soluble stains: cooking grease, lipstick, salad dressing, petroleum jelly.

5.  Wax and Gum -- Particularly in carpet with a medium to deep pile, wax and gum must not be ground into the carpet or allowed to set, as they will bind the fibers together. Even attempting to peel them up can damage the carpet. The trick to removal is patience and ice. Cover the wax or gum with ice, and allow it to freeze—this will take at least 20 minutes. Starting at the edges, you can then gently pick away the hardened substance without tugging at the carpet strands. For any wax residue, cover the area with brown paper and paper towels, and use an iron on medium heat to pick up the wax. For gum residue, blot the area with a dry carpet cleaner, and then use a damp cloth to soak up the cleaning residue. Always vacuum the area after the carpet has thoroughly dried.

While various stains can be hard on carpet, the worst damage results from rough cleaning by the homeowner. Scrubbing, using stiff brushes, or vigorous rubbing in a circular motion may clean the spot, but it will definitely untwist and rough up the carpet’s fibers, giving it an uneven appearance and hastening wear. For stain removal and spot cleaning, the method should always be blotting from the outside of the stain to its center to prevent spreading. The most important part of spot carpet cleaning is to be persistent but very, very gentle.
For more specific questions, talk with SERVPRO or a carpet cleaning professional.

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