ITHACA/ELMIRA carpet cleaners


May 2016

Welcome to Our Monthly Newsletter!

We hope you will enjoy this month's articles.  

This month's topic is:



(Causes & How to Avoid Them)

Permanent Stains,

Soil Filtration Lines,

DIY Removal of Spots & Spills

If there is a topic you would like us to cover in one of our upcoming newsletters, please call us at 607-272-1566 or contact us by clicking here.

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom for your special coupon savings!



Permanent stains on area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets are the result of soiling from spots or spills that have, for various reasons, become permanent. They cannot be completely removed by either do-it-yourself or professional means.


There are several reasons why spots and spills can become permanent:  

  • Carpet and rug fibers act as wicks. Liquid spilled on the fibers will be drawn up to the fiber tips as they dry. If the material is not removed quickly and the tips are allowed to air dry, the stain will be concentrated on the top of the fibers and this can cause permanent staining.
  • A spill can become absorbed by the fibers of the carpet or rug and, just like a dye, it can permanently discolor (or bleach out) or recolor those fibers.
  • An earlier spill may have caused an irreversible chemical change to the fiber or its dye. Although most carpet fiber produced today has stain-resistant qualities (some built into the fiber itself), no carpet is stain-proof! You can avoid damage to your carpets and rugs from permanent stains by having a soil and stain protector applied after a professional cleaning.



Urine is undoubtedly the #1 cause of permanent stains on area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets. Pet urine that is allowed to accumulate can actually be detrimental to the environmental quality of the home.

The odor from the urine as well as the stains it leaves behind contribute to the damage.

What Causes Urine Odor

The odor found in urine saturated area rugs and wall-to-wall carpets comes from the bacterial action which takes place under the carpeting. 

Urine left unattended can permeate the fibers and go into the back of the carpet or rug and even into the pad and the floor below. As it dries, urine becomes microscopic urine salts. These attach to the backing of the carpet or rug until times of high humidity, when they will be reactivated and become food again for bacteria causing the return of the urine odor.

Procedure for Urine Odor Removal from Wall-to Wall Carpeting.

For urine-saturated wall-to-wall carpet, it is usually more cost-effective to remove and replace the carpet and pad rather than to attempt odor removal. It is important as well to clean and/or sand, and seal the floor under the carpet before replacement.  

Procedure for Urine odor Removal from Area and Oriental Rugs

On the other hand, odor in area and oriental rugs can be completely removed as long as there is not a glued on backing holding the fibers to the rug (such as in tufted rugs).

Area and oriental rugs can be brought to our cleaning plant for odor removal, which will completely remove the urine salts by dissolving and thoroughly rinsing them out of the rug. 

Unfortunately, urine stains cannot, as a general rule, be removed successfully.

What Causes Urine Stains

Different types of fibers react to urine differently. On some, stains will almost immediately become visible. Others may not show stains at all. Although a professional decontamination for urine and a thorough cleaning may lighten some visible stains, urine stains in general are permanent. Below are some reasons why:

  • The urochrome pigment in urine can produce a strong yellow coloring and subsequent stain.
  • The age, diet, and medications taken by the pet (or human) can also color the urine and stain the carpet or rug.

Other Urine Issues

To find out other urine issues as well as other sources of permanent stains, please continue reading here.


What Are Those Dark Lines Around the Edges of My Carpet?

Soil filtration lines, also known as soil lines, smog lines, and perimeter soiling, are dark soiled areas that develop gradually on carpeting.  These lines often remain even after a thorough professional cleaning.

They are most common around the edges of a room next to the wall, under baseboards, under floor length draperies, under doors, and on edges of stairs. But they can develop anywhere there is an air space, such as between floorboards or spaces in the subflooring under the carpeting.

They can even occur under the skirting of furniture. Bedroom doors that are closed at night, especially where windows are left open, are likely to develop the lines as well.

Why Do Soil Filtration Lines Occur?

Your carpeting acts as a soil filter in your home environment. As hot air rises and peaks out at the ceiling tops, it is redirected to cooler surfaces, such as the outer walls or another room, and travels down to the carpet. As the air passes through or across the carpet, it carries microscopic particles of dirt, dust, and soot.

These soil particles settle and become embedded in the carpet pile yarns, bonding to the fiber. Because the soil is very fine, it can penetrate deeply into the yarns.

What Kinds of Soils Form Soil Filtration Lines?

Some of these soil particles can be the result of fireplace emissions, as well as from cooking oils that have become airborne and have settled into the carpet. Cigarette and cigar smoke, burning candles, and the residue from furniture polish can all contribute to the problem.

Soils that are primarily oily can form an electrical bond with the fiber and their size makes it easy for them to attach to the dye sites on a fiber that hold the color of the carpet, making removal extremely difficult or impossible. The oily soils trapped by the carpet will also attract more dry soil.

An improperly balanced ventilation system can also cause soil filtration lines. This happens when the volume of air entering a room exceeds the capacity of the system to remove the air from that room. The excess air will then seek to exit through gaps along walls and stairways.

Are These Lines Considered a Defect of the Carpet?

Continue reading here to find out more about soil filtration lines and how to avoid them.


The need for DIY spot removal on carpets and rugs reflects the truth found in Murphy's Law of Cleaning which states "Just after a professional cleaning, a guest will spill a glass of wine, a child will spill fruit juice, or the puppy will pee!"

It happens all the time. What is a homeowner to do? Try to remove the offending material by do-it-yourself methods or call the professionals back in?

DIY Spot Removal - Does it Work?

The answer is... Do-It-Yourself spot removal methods can work, but the spot or spill must be addressed as soon as possible and it is essential that clear and concise information must be available on how to proceed without causing more damage.

DIY Spot Removal   from Area Rugs and Carpets

The removal of spots and spills from textile fibers such as rugs and carpets is quite different than removal from hard surfaces such as wood, tile, granite, etc.

Whether the textile has had stain protection applied, how the dyes used in the textile react to certain cleaning agents, how long the spot or spill has been on the textile, how big an area is affected, etc., all determine whether or not the outcome of Do-It-Yourself methods.

Carpet and Rug Fibers Can be Permanently Damaged from DIY Spot Removal

Unlike most hard surfaces, carpet or rug fibers can be permanently damaged by scrubbing or adding more liquid and not drying the area. The techniques involved in DIY spot removal require patience and attention to detail.

When a homeowner does not have knowledge of the type of fiber in a carpet or rug and how it will react to certain chemicals or how the ingredients in the spotting material may react with the fiber, the results can potentially be much worse than just an ugly looking spot.

Here are the Rules...

There are some fundamental rules to apply when DIY spot removal methods are in use: 

  • REMOVE ANY SOLID MATERIALS CAREFULLY with a rounded tablespoon, a spatula or the edge of a dull knife.
  • BLOT. BLOT. BLOT. This is the most important step. Always use clean, white, absorbent materials such as microfiber towels, paper towels, etc. The reason blotting is so important is because a carpet and rug fiber acts like a wick and liquids will be drawn up to the top of the fibers. If the liquid can be transferred past the tips of the fibers onto absorbent material, the chances are the spot will not become a permanent stain.

For more rules and information on DIY spot removal, please continue reading here.

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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co.
130 Cecil Malone Drive Ithaca, NY 14850


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ABC Oriental Rug & Carpet Cleaning Co. has been family-owned and operated in Ithaca and surrounding areas for more than 45 years.
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