Why Carpet Stains Keep Coming Back

Overturned blue coffee mug and adjacent coffee spill on textured offwhite carpeting

Carpet stains are by far the most unwanted thing you ever want to find on your precious floor. Whether it's a little bit of discoloration, a patch, a full-on stain, or just an area that looks different from the rest, we are willing to try everything to remove them. However, if you are reading this, then we know that you are aware that it is never as simple as that.

Carpet stains can prove to be incredibly stubborn, and even when you think you have finally managed to get rid of them, they have a way of reappearing and undoing all your hard work. Fortunately, we have come to your aid and have provided all the need-to-knows to why your carpet stains keep coming back and how you can get rid of them forever.

Is There A Difference Between Stains & Spots?

Before we get started on why carpet stains can reappear, we believe it is necessary to fully understand the differences between stains and spots. When talking with a friend or a member of family, the terms; stains and spots are used interchangeably. However, when talking in the professional industry of carpet cleaning, the two have distinct differences.

When talking about spots, we are referring to the substance that has been dropped onto your carpet and that, combined with the material, makes the spot. To give you some examples, this could be a food spot, a wine spot, or a dirt spot. The best part about spots is that they are almost always removable.

Carpet stains, on the other hand, are far more difficult to get rid of, and this is because of the dyes from the substance transfer to the carpet fibers. Once this happens, the actual color of the carpet’s fibers changes. This is what makes stains so hard to remove, as even if you manage to extract the dye from the carpet fibers, it may have already altered the color, and you will never be able to attain the same shade again.

Reasons Why Carpet Stains & Spots Reappear

Now that we have a clear understanding between carpet stains and spots, we can begin discussing what makes these reappear. Fortunately, there aren't too many causes for reappearing stains/spots, making it easier to identify what you are dealing with. Nonetheless, the following information will make it clear as to why those stubborn carpet stains keep coming back.

Over-The-Counter Products / Soiling

When in need of a quick fix, the majority of us will rush to the cupboard to grab the carpet cleaning products that we purchased from the local store. While in most situations, these carpet cleaning products will do a seemingly good job, or at least seem like they do at first, after a while, you may encounter reappearing spots and stains.

Many carpet cleaning products available at your local stores will contain soap, or at least some form of it, which as good as it sounds, is actually the opposite when wanting to remove stains and spots. When using soap-based products on your carpets, a residue is left behind, which has a habit of collecting dirt over time. Carpet cleaning companies like ourselves refer to this as soiling.

Due to this, carpet spots and stains can seem like they are magically reappearing after you have cleaned them. Whereas dirt is instead being trapped by the soapy residue at a much faster rate than the rest of your carpet.

One of our solutions to avoiding reappearing carpet stains is avoiding using over-the-counter cleaning products. Avoiding chemical products is always a good rule of thumb when dealing with your beloved carpets. The most efficient way of carpet and rug cleaning is with professional carpet cleaning companies.


Wicking or the wicking effect is a common cause of reappearing stains and spots. If there has been a large spillage, not only will fibers soak up the substance, but they may pass through the top layer and into the carpet padding beneath. Unfortunately, carpet padding is incredibly absorbent, which can mean a large part of the spot/stain is hidden below.

After you clean your carpet and it begins to dry, the fibers will begin to wick up the liquid stored in the saturated carpet padding, returning it to the surface. Now that the substance has been drawn up to the surface, it is once again visible, and this is why it seems like the previous spot has reappeared.

Avoiding this wicking effect can be achieved by quickly treating large spillages. The quicker you are able to sponge up the dropped substance, the more likely you are to prevent the carpet padding from soaking up too much of the substance.

Expert Carpet Cleaning Services

With the above information and guidance, you should feel better equipped to deal with reappearing stains and spots. However, the best way to return your carpets to their former glory is with professional carpet cleaning companies. We here at Steve’s Carpet Care & Restoration have a team of highly-trained experts who are kitted out with the latest equipment.

We have a wide range of cleaning services available to cater to all your needs, including area rug cleaning, carpet repair, hard surface cleaning, plus much more. If you are in need of our five-star carpet services, then please do not hesitate to contact us right away. Call today at (303) 530-4900.

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