All About Carpet Stains: Oxidizing Agents & Reducing Agents

A stain is a spot that won’t come out of a carpet. A stain is caused by either adding color to an area of the carpet (with reducing agents) or by removing color from an area of the carpet (with oxidizing agents). Carpet warranties for stain-resistant carpet fibers are very specific regarding which types of stains are covered under the warranty and which types are not covered. Read your warranty carefully.

Everyone knows that if you spill bleach on a carpet, the color lightens and fades. Bleach, an oxidizing agent, is a color remover. Many other common household items also destroy color. Disinfectants, fade creams, pesticides, toilet and tile cleaners, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, plant food, perfumes, and acne medicines all make stains by removing color from the carpet.

Some of these substances immediately ruin the carpet. Others, like fade cream and acne medicine, slowly lighten the carpet over a long period, sometimes months! Some of the worst offenders aren’t thought of as bleaching agents. Little thought is given to removing them from the carpet when they are spilled. Try to keep all contaminants from spilling onto the carpet.

Strong, continual sunlight will also fade many carpet fibers, as well as furniture fabrics and paint. If rooms in your home are subject to direct sunlight, you should consider one of the solution-dyed fibers. You should also think about tinted window glass and window coverings.

Reducing agents change the carpet color by adding color. Common reducing agents are shoe polish, ink, furniture stain, mustard, chocolate, grass, vomit, and urine. Once these stain your carpet, even professional carpet cleaners will have a hard time getting them completely out. They may lighten the stain, but there will be some discoloration of the carpet color.

To learn more about carpet buying, carpet care, carpet styles, carpet warranties and more, please subscribe to this blog and check out my book, All About Carpets: Everything You Need to Know.

Who is Glenn Revere?

Glenn Revere has been a carpet expert since 1973. He’s a certified flooring inspector and the author of All About Carpets, the only book written to protect and inform you about your carpet choices, from carpet buying and carpet warranties to carpet care and maintenance. You can find him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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