Carpet Wicking

After your carpet cleaned by a professional, you were delighted to find stains on the carpet were gone and your carpet looked nice and fresh.  However, there is a possibility those disappeared  stains may come back a few days later.  This is called carpet wicking.  This phenomena may exist for many years if you do an annual carpet cleaning without special treatment to those wicking spots.

Carpet wicking is caused by capillary action, similarly to the mechanism that wax is continuously fed onto the tip of wick in a burning candle.  In a large spill, excessive amount of dirt travels to the bottom of the carpet fibre.  During a carpet cleaning, the soils at the top of the fibre are removed but those at the bottom may stay.  The upper part of the fibre  always dry faster, and therefore the moisture at the bottom will continuously move upwards, carrying the soil, and finally deposits the soil onto the surface, making the carpet soiled again.

Wicking is fairly common in carpet cleaning.  It is unpredictably and is difficult to take a preventive procedure during carpet cleaning.  There are a few approaches to stop wicking.  Although it is not 100% guaranteed, it is to our experience that most of wicking can be stopped by applying one of the approaches. 

The most common used method for treating wicking spot is to use “dry” cleaning method, such as encapsulation.  Wicking is amplified by wetting, so the less moisture during cleaning, the better.

The opposite approach is to deep clean the affected area, flushing out as much dirt as possible.  This method might not always work, however, it do remove most of the dirt out of the carpet, and thus make it really “cleaner”.

For small spots, some specialized agents can be applied to stop the spot re-appearing.  Alternatively, you can use a wet white towel on top of the spot and use some weight to hold the towel firm against the carpet over night. 

Stellar Carpet Cleaning is experienced in dealing with wicking and please call/email us to discuss if you encounter such problem.

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