Moisture Wicking in Carpet Cleaning
What is moisture wicking and how does it occur? And more importantly, how can I prevent it?
I have always compared moisture wicking in carpet cleaning to that of a candle. A candle has two primary parts, the wax and the wick. Its called a wick because as the wax melts it is absorbed by the drier portion of the cotton string. The wax burns off and melts more wax repeating the process.
Moisture wicking is when soil trapped in carpet padding or sub-flooring moves to the tips of carpet fibers as it dries after cleaning. This happens because the moisture on top dries and the moisture from below draws the soil and moisture up to the more dry part of the material.
A wet spill carpet stain is like an iceberg. Wicking is the visible tip of the iceberg that indicates the stain is still present below. This happens mostly with wet spills or stains because the soil in the liquid becomes absorbed by the sponge-like pad and carpet fibers. This can be prevented if you assess the spill within a few minutes.
The best way to prevent moisture wicking in carpet cleaning is to ensure that carpet and padding below are thoroughly rinsed and dried after a spill. If possible, address a wet spill immediately.
First apply a dry towel to the area and allow it to absorb as much wetness as possible. Give this about 5 minutes to absorb most of the spill. Using a wet/dry vacuum, go over the area several times to remove as much moisture as possible. Now using clean tap water, apply it to the area and let it sit for a moment before sucking out the moisture again. This is to help flush out the soil and reduce the stain / spot that may form. Before you put a fan on it, get another dry towel, lay it over the area, and step on it a few times. When you have removed as much moisture as possible apply a fan to the area.
As professionals in the carpet cleaning industry we see stains and spots like this quite often. Through the use of low moisture cleaning and products made to prevent wicking, we can assess these spots to keep them from returning to your beautiful carpet.