When Carpet Cleaning Goes Wrong: What is Wicking?

February 22, 2023

carpet cleaning professional stands by work truckHave you noticed stains seeming to magically reappear on your carpets after you’ve cleaned them using conventional carpet cleaning methods? This seemingly strange recurrence is caused by what is known in the carpet cleaning industry as carpet wicking. 

Carpet wicking can turn into a huge headache and a drain on your resources when all you want is for your carpets to be clean and fresh. Understanding why carpet wicking occurs and how you can avoid this phenomenon can allow you to make more effective decisions about carpet cleaning.

How Carpet Wicking Leads to the Reappearance of Stains

The recurrence of stains is caused by the build-up of soil and grime that is deeply embedded near the backing of your carpet. When you clean your carpets using conventional processes, the carpet backing absorbs large amounts of moisture and detergent. As the carpet dries, it dries from the tips of the fibers downwards. This process draws water from the backing of the carpet, gradually moving it towards the carpet tips that can be seen on the surface. This movement brings with it particles of previously embedded dirt and grime that then become visible as a stain.

While carpet wicking is a common problem, many homeowners struggle to stop the cycle of cleaning and stain recurrence on their own. Let’s discuss the circumstances that allow this phenomenon to occur and how they can be avoided. 

Why Wicking Occurs After Carpet Cleaning 

Wicking isn’t something you simply have to accept as part of the cleaning process. It actually results from using improper carpet cleaning methods. Here are three factors that contribute to carpet wicking:

  • Excess moisture and cleaning solution. The use of too much moisture and detergent when cleaning can initiate the wicking process when the water and detergents seep into the base of the carpet.
  • Long drying times. Long drying times also allow wicking to take hold. Keep in mind that wicking only occurs when carpet is wet, so the longer it remains moist, the greater the chances that stains will reappear.
  • Shallow cleaning. When carpet cleaning is not thorough, it leaves behind dirt and grime deep within the fibers, setting the stage for wicking to occur as soon as the conditions are right. Deep cleaning on a regular basis is crucial for avoiding stain recurrence and ensuring your carpets are properly maintained.

How To Avoid Carpet Wicking 

The best way to avoid carpet wicking is to hire a professional carpet cleaning service whose deep cleaning methods do not rely on excess moisture and allow for quick dry times. That’s what makes Chem-Dry such a great choice for homeowners who are tired of having their carpets cleaned only to see stains quickly reappear.

Our proprietary carpet cleaning process is known as Hot Carbonating Extraction (HCE). HCE removes the accumulation of stubborn dirt and grime near the base of carpets, a step that less powerful methods often miss. Additionally, HCE uses only a fraction of the water that conventional cleaning techniques, such as steam cleaning, typically require, and no soaps or detergents are used in the process. 

With less moisture in your carpets, you can look forward to quick dry times and enjoy your carpets within hours of the completion of our deep cleaning process. Plus, you can maintain full confidence that stubborn stains won’t come back to haunt you once your carpets are dry. 

Would you like to learn more about what makes Chem-Dry carpet cleaning such a great choice? Simply call (800) CHEM-DRY today to connect with a professional Chem-Dry technician in your neighborhood!