Everyone spills a drink from time to time, or drops toast and marmalade (sticky side down of course!) onto a carpet or a three-piece suite.

Cup 1x

The problem is that for you as a customer professional cleaners are not usually foremost in your thoughts during the initial stages of panic.

The drinks most commonly spilled seem to be tea, coffee, red wine and beer. Tea and coffee can create some challenges even for the professional cleaner, so bear this in mind when you try to remedy the problem yourself!

When I’m called out to such accidents, as I regularly am, the first thing I do when faced with these types of stains is to complete a survey.

The natural dyes (tannin) contained within tea and coffee can differ depending on whether the drink is decaffeinated or flavoured. The temperature of the drink at the time of the spillage, and whether it contained milk and/or sugar, are also important factors to consider. Hot tea and coffee will penetrate deeper into the substrate, swelling the fibres and exposing the dye sites to the staining material. The fibres then cool, trapping the stain and making it more difficult to remove. Dairy products (specifically the protein element) become more difficult to deal with the longer they are left in the substrate, and sugar can caramelise into a hard deposit.

Once I have assessed the stain, I then ask if anything (and if so ‘what?’) has already been done in an attempt to remove it. This may affect how I choose to clean the stain or even the final success.

WineGlass 960

Next, I establish what fibres and constructions are present in the item/s I have been asked to clean. Natural fibres are more absorbent than synthetic fibres. They can also be more easily damaged by spot and stain removal processes.

On completing the survey, I discuss with you what sort of result may be achieved, inform you what risks are involved and test all the products I intend to use in an inconspicuous area.

It’s always a good idea to clean the whole area first, as many spots will come out (or at least lighten) from this process and this will reduce the intensity of the stain removal product that is required on any residual stains.

It’s important to deal with any remaining stains carefully. I will only use products with particular note to the limitations imposed on me by the fibre type and construction. One major consideration here is to check backing materials for potential colour bleed/migration. Some stains can take as long to deal with as cleaning a whole carpet/suite.

(This was a recent job. Vodka and coke was the main ingredient!)

0407-Buss (1)       0407-Buss (3a)

(I love the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situations)

So next time you have one of those common little accidents please take this advice:-

  • Don’t panic – it’s happened so let’s look at the best way to deal with it!
  • Don’t use any random product you may have in your cupboard to remove the stain which may make it worse or damage your carpet or furniture.
  • Check my website here for a useful and safe process if you intend to do anything.
  • If you still have an issue give me a ring and I’ll either advise you over the phone or come and have a look at the problem myself.

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