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Carpet Issue Identification: Colour Loss in Carpet Fibers, or “Goop” Explained

Recently we’ve heard customer concerns about lighter spots on the carpet that have appeared after cleaning. People are puzzled; what causes this phenomenon? Is there a cleaning product that bleaches the carpet fibers? Why does this happen? How is it possible? Is the carpet cleaner to blame, after all, this has appeared after the recent carpet cleaning service?

There is a very simple explanation, and it has to do with prevention, not products or methods used in professional carpet cleaning.

It has to do with, to define a phrase for the rest of this article, “goop”.

Goop – as it shall be known for the rest of this blog post, is a combination of 2 things.

The first component of good is usually liquid and most often comprised of common laundry soap with bleach added, bleach, nail polish remover, acne treatment pads or gels, etc.  What each and any of these goop components have in common is a bleaching agent, whitening agent, or an extreme PH component which can literally suck the colour off a carpet – or, strip the dye from carpet fibers.   This first part of goop finds its way onto carpet through a variety of means as well: dripped from garbage bags, dripped from laundry soap canisters after the lid has been put back on and a bit has seeped out,  spilled on the floor when the groceries are brought back home, etc.

The second component of good is plain old dirt.  It is made up of particles of all kinds of soil which are tracked into the building on the bottoms of your feet, your pets’ feet, bags and carts rolled down the hall, etc.  The important thing to realize is that the second part of the goop, the dirt, adheres and hides the first part.

Then, you have goop; a sticky liquid covered in dirt that looks like a dark spot on the carpet.  An example found outside the home would be gum on the sidewalk that now looks black instead of pink.

Enter the carpet cleaners.  They do a great, professional job, and remove the dirt and the blotches of goop.  However, in the time between that dollop of goop being formed and developing a crusty outer layer like the shell of a crab, the bleaching agents have been busy working away on the carpet fibers.  So, remove the goop, and what do you have?  A spot on the carpet that is lighter in color than the surrounding carpet.  Why?  Well, goop.  Those chemical ingredients and bleaching agents have been sitting there for days, weeks and often months doing what they were designed to do in the lab: bleach.

However, you don’t see this until the carpets are cleaned.  Once the dirty top layer of goop is removed, the liquid and chemical sucked out, and the clean carpet is revealed – only then do you see an odd white or yellow patch on the carpet.  Funny, you might ask yourself.  The carpet cleaners were just here.  Did they spill some soap on the carpet?

Answer: No.  Our cleaning agents are developed and tested specifically NOT to remove dye from carpet fibers.  If they did that, then the whole carpet would be bleached out, the company would have been sued a million times, and we would have had to shut our doors decades ago.  Unfortunately, these goop spots don’t get noticed until after the carpets are cleaned, because until then they just look like dark dirty spots and stains.


-Be vigilant.  Sticky spills should be cleaned properly right away, minimizing the time bleaching agents have in contact with carpet

-Encourage tenants not to use laundry soaps with bleaching agents, or to be careful with those containers when in the hallway

-Encourage double bagging of garbage bags to reduce drips on carpet.

-Frequent spot cleaning.  A routine of spot removal by janitorial staff or a building manager will aid in eliminating the problem, as it lessens the time agents with bleaching properties have to spend sitting on and damaging the carpet.

And last but not least – tenant spill clean up.  This is another thing that can lead to bleached out spots or smeary trails on the carpet; instruct and educate residents not to use household cleaners with bleach to clean up spills.  Often times a pet will ‘make a deposit’ on the hallway carpet, or a coffee is spilled, etc.  A well meaning and good intentioned resident can grab some soap spray or even straight bleach (we’ve seen it when a resident wanted to ensure the bacteria left by a ‘doggie deposit’ was cleaned up and killed) to clean up the mess.  Don’t use products with bleaching agents on carpets, ever.  And be sure to remind others that live in the strata not to do so either when cleaning up a spill in a shared space.

3 Common Misconceptions About Carpet Cleanin

Here are three of the most common questions we get from building managers in regards to carpet cleaning.  We’re busting the myths – or misconceptions – in order to help everyone better understand what they should expect from a properly run maintenance program.

#1.  Maintenance cleaning should take as long as the hot water extraction cleaning.


The primary part of this type of cleaning comes from the rotary agitation of the interim cleaning machine.  (1 of the 4 elements as described in the first article above, and more about the type of machine listed in the article directly above.)  Because the machine spins so quickly, it uses the element of agitation primarily and can be pushed more swiftly across the carpet, this method is much faster than hot water extraction cleaning.   Time does not need to be taken to ensure water is extracted from the carpet.

A properly trained technician can get excellent results for the interim maintenance cleaning in half the time as the restorative, hot water extraction cleaning.

#2.  We only need to do the hot water extraction 1x per year for the carpets to stay clean.  We can skip the interim cleaning methods.


Every carpet manufacturer will explain that this voids the warranty of their product.

Carpet is not capable of having an extended lifespan with only vacuuming and once per year hot water extraction carpet cleaning.  All manufacturers’ recommendations include interim maintenance methods combined with the hot water extraction, often described as a restorative clean.  Only cleaning with hot water once per year is neglecting the carpets, and will cut its lifespan in half.  By waiting for a year to see heavily soiled carpet, and then attempting to bring it ‘back to life’, you’ve waited to long.  Permanent damage is done, and the more this neglectful method is used, the more cumulative those effects become.   By using a certified professional company like ServiceMaster Residential, your history of carpet maintenance works in your favor if replacement due to manufacturers’ defect is ever in question.

#3.   I don’t have to vacuum the carpet today, the carpet cleaners are coming, and that will take care of it.


According to industry analysis, 74% – 80% of soil present in carpet is particulate or fibrous dry soil, and that 85% of soil can be removed through routine vacuuming.

79% – insoluble soils, sand, quartz, clay, carbon

10% – petroleum, oils, grease, tar, animal and vegetable oil

6% – sugar, starch, salts

5% – moisture, unknown residues

If that particulate is left in the carpet before a rotary maintenance clean or hot water extraction, the cleaning of deeply embedded soil is blocked by those soils which could have been easily removed.  It also can clog up the vacuuming part of the hot water extraction system, making it less effective, and lengthening drying times.  Vacuuming before the experts arrive for a carpet cleaning service always increases the effectiveness of the service visit.

Who Is ServiceMaster?

“You guys are just a small outfit, right?”
Annual Revenues exceed $5.5 billion.
(But that’s not just the Burnaby office)

“If you don’t live it, you don’t believe it.”
Marion E. Wade.
Founder of ServiceMaster

ServiceMaster Quick Facts:

  • 1947, the original company is incorporated by Marion Wade, a former minor league baseball player
  • 1952, services expanded to include carpet cleaning
  • 1984, Fortune Magazine rates ServiceMaster #1 among the “Service 500”
  • 1998, Success Magazine names ServiceMaster the “#1 Best-Run Franchise Company in the Country”.
  • 1998, Financial Times ranks ServiceMaster the “Sixth Most Respected Company in The World”.
  • Present: ServiceMaster ranked #3, in “Top 5 In Its’ Industry” by Fortune 500

But what does that mean to YOU, in regards to dealing with

ServiceMaster Clean Residential?

  • You’re working with a locally owned company that draws upon the resources, research, and experience of a $5.5 billion dollar organization.
  • ServiceMaster holds us accountable for quality standards.
  • We’re also provided with cleansers and equipment that is researched, designed and available only to ServiceMaster operators, including the Green product line.

But Who Are You Guys At
ServiceMaster Clean Residential?

David Benoit is the owner and operator of the residential franchise servicing the GVRD.  His background is in business, and operating a successful company is his passion.  He purchased the Residential franchise – servicing stratas and property management companies and homeowners for building maintenance needs in 1998.  He cares about people, quality, and commitment to growth through excellence, which has grown this branch of ServiceMaster since he stepped in.

“If there’s a problem, we’ll always go back and see if we can fix it.  We’ll take care of it.”
David Benoit.

ServiceMaster Clean Residential in 2010 has grown again to service its customers even better:

  • Customer follow up and satisfaction program.
  • Addition of another carpet cleaning technician to keep up with demand
  • New Service: dryer vent cleaning with our exterior services division
  • High Rise Services: window cleaning, dryer vent cleaning, and caulking repair
  • Additional exterior crews added
  • New Office Location at #160 – 21900 Westminster Hwy, acting as central dispatch for the GVRD

Each division provides services from specialists.  For example, our carpet cleaners are trained, career technicians.  They don’t clean windows.  However, we do have window cleaning experts and other professional cleaners in their respective fields.

Everyone at SVM Clean Residential works to fulfill our simple mandate: “We’ll take care of it.”

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