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Red Carpet
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These are the professional opinions of James B. Smith

Red or Orange stains can come from various sources. A thorough search into the cleaning and installation standards as well as many other reference materials yielded this list.

  1. From Urine - When urine causes a change in color, it is usually yellow and shine under ultraviolet light. In addition there is generally a pet involved and an odor. Because of this and other unmentioned factors, urine is the least likely candidate.
  2. From Dye – from beverage stains, such as Kool Aide® and other drinks or food products with red dye cleaning products. Red dye is very common in strawberries, cherries and many other things that are consumed.· When beverage or food accidents occur, there is a slash pattern that is discernable and they are visible before the cleaning.
  3. From indicator dyes that change colors with pH. If this kind of dye was used in manufacturing the carpet, then an acid would turn a blue dye red or an alkaline would turn a red dye blue. Black, gray, brown, tan, beige and many other colors of carpet contain 'red dye'. Cases of this happening in carpet are rare.
  4. Jute, with 24% lignin was left in the presence of alkalinity. This can happen of old tufted carpets make in the 70s and before. Most carpet whether tufted or woven can has a polypropylene backing. Jute backings are more prevalent on woven goods. If you look on the backside of your carpet, it will appear to be dark tan. This condition will likely occur after carpet cleaning, generally steam carpet cleaning. This condition will generally reverse by applying 3% hydrogen peroxide to the affected area and then wait.
  5. Polymer of 20 monomers of tetrafluoroethylene (fluorochemical) also known as Teflon and Scotchgard. These product are not suppose to be this color, but if you had your carpets cleaned and this kind of protectant was applied to your carpet, then this could be the problem. We do not know of a cure for this problem, nor do we know of supporting text to support this claim.
  6. Rust, created from iron oxide can also come from carpet cleaning. Some truckmounted machines use iron core heat exchange systems and rust can dislodge from these units during cleaning. The test for this is to see if the problem will respond to a professional rut remover. In some cases white vinegar mixed with two parts tap water will reverse this problem.
  7. Over wetting can result in browning an this is not to be confused with cellulose or jute browning. The difference is where there is an all synthetic carpet. When this happens, it is due to a condition known as wicking and occurs after cleaning, generally steam cleaning. In most cases the cleaner did not prevacuum the carpet, and/or over wet the carpet. This problem is easily corrected with mild cleaning. In theory, Georgia Red Clay from the backing of tufted carpet could also wick causing a carpet to turn red after cleaning.


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Revised: 05/14/06

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