Wicking is a result of capillary action as moisture moves up the fiber during the drying process. There are variables in the absorbency of different types of fiber and that affects the rate of wicking. However wicking can occur with all types of carpet fiber. |
As carpet cleaners we're called upon to clean carpet fiber – the fuzzy stuff up top. But we also need to consider what lies underneath the fuzzy stuff. If the spill has already dried when you get to it, thoroughly vacuum to pull up as much dry material as possible. Then precondition, allowing a proper dwell time for your cleaning solution, rinse, clean and speed-dry as possible
Oftentimes, when you surface clean or spot clean a carpet it looks fine until it's restoratively cleaned; then the increase in water volume causes the stain to wick back. The best way approach this is to try and determine what the stain is and use a spot remover for that type of stain.
Wicking is most frequently caused by residue from soil that wasn't completely removed during the cleaning process. However before you convict yourself of being a less than adequate cleaner, it would be reasonable to consider that removing 100% of the soil down at the backing of the carpet can be extremely challenging or perhaps impossible at times. And that's why wicking is a very common problem.
The only way to prevent wicking is to ensure that carpet, pad, and subfloors are thoroughly rinsed and dried after a spill. If possible, address a wet spill immediately. Use a cleaning solution of your choice, rinse heavily, and then remove as much moisture as possible with a wet/dry vacuum. Thoroughly go over the area for several passes after the visible spill is gone, then use an air mover to speed-dry the area.
Since we can't clean the sub floor (except in isolated areas with a Waterclaw), what's laying at the base of the carpet has the potential to cause a wicking problem. It's unavoidable at times. However there are some simple methods that can be employed to reduce or eliminate the condition. Here are some techniques that can minimize the condition of wicking when carpet cleaning
Proper Things to Do
First, be sure to vacuum the carpet thoroughly before using an extractor for cleaning. Next, use the appropriate amount of liquid for cleaning and take extra strokes to fully extract all water from the carpet. Finally, employ blowers to thoroughly dry the carpet.
Although wicking and recurring spill stains are a common condition in our industry, it is possible to successfully clean carpets without experiencing wicking. And when you do come across a spill stain that could possibly reappear after it's been cleaned, this simple trick can ensure that the spill stains will never be seen again or there pros and experts capable of doing it effectively for you
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