Identifying Old Carpet Stains A Quick Guide

Your home is your humble abode, which is why you should keep it clean at all times. It can be tricky if you have a busy schedule, but you should always have them cleaned by a professional if you don’t have the time. That said, it’s also important to remember that some things in your home are better cleaned by a professional alone, such as your carpet.

The ideal time to clean your carpet is every 12 to 18 months. Regardless of your carpet’s condition, deep cleaning is the way to go. Deep cleaning uses special methods to eliminate stains on your carpet, even down to its fibers.

Carpet stains are pretty tricky to spot, which is why many people often overlook this. When ignored, these carpet stains become old, which are even more troublesome to clean.

How exactly do you identify old stains on your carpet? This article will tell you what you need to know. Read on below to learn more.

Is It a Spot or a Stain?

Before getting started on getting your carpet deep cleaned, it’s crucial to identify if it’s a stain or a spot first.

A spot is a spill that occurred on your carpet within 24 hours. If you leave it alone, that spot will become a stain. A spot on your carpet still hasn’t wholly entered your carpet, meaning you can easily clean it off with a towel that has water or cleaner.

Once a spot becomes a stain, it will become rooted in your carpet, which eventually requires you to hire a professional to clean it off. Aside from that, a stain may also discolor your carpet.

Figuring Out the Location of the Stain

Since you’re trying to identify the stain, you should also think about where it happened because the location can also help you identify the stain. For example: if the stain is in your dining room, then it’s most likely because of food. However, stains are not limited to being food-related. 

If your carpet is placed in an entryway of your home and has stains, then chances are it could be dirt, grease, or animal excrement from your pet.

Smelling the Stain

If you can’t make heads or tails on a stain based on appearance alone, then your best course of action would be to smell it. You most likely won’t get anything if you smell your carpet with your nose, but the good thing is that there’s a straightforward workaround for this.

Get a wet towel and blot the carpet with it. Once it’s wet, you can now smell it. The only drawback to this is that it may not work if you don’t have a good sense of smell.

Understanding the Type of Stain

Many different types of stains can help you narrow the cause down. A great example would be organic types of stains like food, which turn brown over time. On the other hand, synthetic stains such as paint will make the stain look shinier once it settles.

  • Water-Soluble Stains

Water-soluble stains are usually the easiest stains to clean because they dissolve then water is applied. However, you should also use detergent-based cleaners.

Some water-soluble stains include:

  • Soda
  • Alcoholic beverages (except wine)
  • Food dyes
  • Mud
  • Washable ink
  • Jelly
  • Latex paint

On the other hand, there are also protein-based water-soluble stains. These stains are the worst to clean since they settle deep within your carpet, especially if they come into contact with heat or acid. 

The best way to clean off these stains is to use cold water because they will become darker if you don’t. Some examples of protein-based water-soluble stains are the following:

  • Blood
  • Wine (White & Red)
  • Dairy
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Meat juices
  • Mustard
  • Vomit
  • Feces
  • Non-Soluble Stains

For non-soluble stains, you can’t use solvents to easily remove them because they usually have some form of particles that are stuck within them that makes them hard to clean. Additionally, these particles are also what make them easier to identify.

Stains like sand need to be vacuumed first to remove any loose particles. On the other hand, stains like gum or wax need to be frozen first to simplify the removal process. If that’s not enough, then you’ll need to apply heat to the affected area as well.

The following are examples of non-soluble stains:

  • Sand
  • Gum
  • Wax
  • Metal shavings
  • Grit 
  • Fat and Oil-Based Stains

Like protein-based and non-soluble stains, fat and oil-based stains are also difficult to remove since they also cling to the fibers of a carpet. These kinds of stains are also very likely to have a strong smell, which can also help you identify them at once.

To remove fat and oil stains, you need to use hot water to loosen them for easier cleaning. Water alone isn’t enough because fats and oils are non-soluble, which means they’re not easily removed.

Some examples of fat and oil-based stains include:

  • Any type of oil, such as cooking oil and gasoline
  • Fats or grease, such as butter
  • Salad Dressing
  • Tar
  • Lipstick
  • Crayons
  • Petroleum Jelly


Stains on your carpet may be troublesome, but you shouldn’t worry because there are ways that you can remove them—which could mean calling on the professionals. You should also take measures to protect your carpet by preventing stains. Prevention is always better than cure, after all, and the same applies to your precious carpets.

Queen Bee Cleaning Services is a company that provides top-quality carpet cleaning services. Our cleaning professionals are well-equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and the right tools,  so you can be sure that we’ll do our best when it comes to cleaning your carpet. Contact us today to learn more!

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