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Cleaning Tip of the Month: Stain removal—the faster, the better!

Last updated 5 years ago

There are spots, and then there are stains. Do you know the difference? The difference is time—the longer a spot sits somewhere, the more it becomes a stain. Removing an old stain is more time-consuming, it takes more effort, and it gets more expensive.

You likely already have the tools that can support your efforts in eliminating stains. Most facilities have a steam cleaner, a great tool for tackling stains. Steam cleaners attack the stain on a microscopic level.

Stain Removal Process:

1) Determine what kind of stain you are dealing with—is it water soluble or not? Keep in mind most stains are often concentrated deposits of coffee, soda, ink, oil, milk, or fats.

2) What is the surface: textile, upholstery, wood, stone, metal, glass, or other? Why check the surface? Because stain removal usually involves either water or cleaning agents, so you want to make sure that by removing a stain you do not damage the surface beneath it. For example: a wooden surface is very water sensitive, so you want to avoid using too much water in the stain removal process.

3) Remove the stain with a steam cleaner. If your stain is water soluble no additional cleaning agent is required. Before starting the stain removal process with a steam cleaner, check the reaction on the surface in an inconspicuous spot. In general, textile surfaces (wool, silk, etc.) react sensitively to high temperatures, therefore working intervals need to be short, with very careful handling of the steam tool.

4) Don’t overlook the importance of agitation. Adding an agitation step helps to release the dirt mechanically. If you are removing stains from upholstery or carpets, it is necessary to use a cloth to gather the dirt. Depending on the type of fabric you may want to use a cloth to avoid direct contact with the steam.

5) Carefully work the stain from the outside in, using short steam intervals. Depending on the surface, gather the loosened dirt in the cloth-covered tool or in a separate cloth. Dab the stain carefully between steam intervals and repeat the procedure until the stain has vanished. If you work on tile you need to either remove the dirt that has been loosened with a clean cloth or you need to rinse it with water to flush the loosened dirt away.


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