Carpet wicking spots occur when a soiled or spilled area penetrates deep into the carpet so much so that even when the carpet is cleaned, the stain still reappears later. In other words, wicking spots occur when the soil trapped in the carpet subflooring or padding moves to the tip of the carpet fibers as it dries after cleaning. Here are a few tips on how to deal with and also prevent carpet wicking spots.
One of the best ways to prevent wicking is to clean up any spills or spots immediately after they occur to prevent any stains from sitting and penetrating the carpet. If you’re unable to get to the spill immediately, consider cleaning up using a technique called low-moisture mode.
While it can be tempting to repeatedly attempt to clean the area, adding water to the carpet fibers will only cause it to show up deeper and more prominent once dried. The trick is to clean the area and dry it immediately.
Another great way to prevent wicking is to vacuum your carpet regularly and properly. Whenever water and detergent rise back to the top of the carpet fibers, they bring with them the dirt that’s deeply embedded into the carpet. As such, you can limit the amount of soil on your carpet by vacuuming at least twice weekly or more for high traffic areas.
When dealing with stains or spots on your carpet, use as little moisture as possible and make sure you’re using the right solvent and blot instead of rubbing when cleaning. Blotting helps to absorb the stain while rubbing can push the stain further into the carpet fibers. Once you’re done treating a stained spot and have disinfected it, you can no longer see any signs of the stain, be sure to dry the area. Consider using a blow dryer, fan or clean dry cloth with some heavy weight to get as much moisture as possible from the carpet.
Some people find success in transferring the spot using oxidizers and browning treatments. Many carpet manufacturers recommend following up this treatment with the application of an encapsulant. However, if the carpet fiber is water resistant and you end up applying too much moisture, then using an encapsulant probably won’t work.
Once you’ve applied the encapsulant, you can get better results by recleaning the carpet with an absorption method. Use fans for quicker drying or press the affected area with a clean dry towel to get rid of the excess moisture.
Since using other wet products only makes wicks worse, the most recommended fix is to transfer the wick into something else, such as an insoluble powder or textile. Your best bet when using the textile approach to remove carpet wicking spots would be to use a slightly damp towel and to disinfect it. Nonetheless, absorbent powders are quite effective at dealing with carpet wicking spots because using a towel requires you to place a heavy object on the towel and wait for it to absorb liquid from the spot.