If your carpet looks worse after cleaning it can sometimes feel like all of that effort was for nothing, but don’t worry – there is always an explanation and it can sometimes be much more straightforward than you would expect.
In a lot of cases, it is simply due to an excess of soap residue that is left behind, but it can also be caused by underlying problems like deep stains in the carpet backing.
Let’s explore the main reasons so you can identify what kind of problem you have encountered, and what steps there are to prevent it from happening again.
4 Most Common Reasons Why Your Carpet Looks Worse After Cleaning
There are 4 main reasons for carpets looking worse after cleaning, and luckily in most cases, you won’t need to get in touch with a carpet cleaning professional to fix the issue.
1. Soap Residue
The problem with soap residue is that it attracts dirt almost like a magnet, not to mention the fact that it will contain dirt right off the bat anyway. When this soap dries up you will notice stain marks where it was left behind, which can be quite disheartening to see especially if you have put a lot of effort into cleaning your carpet.
The key to not leaving behind soap residue is to use the correct cleaning procedure, which we will address later in this article.
2. Deep Stains In Carpet Pad
Another common reason is the presence of deep stains within the carpet pad. Deep stains can form in the pad due to spills that are left to sit for extended periods of time without being cleaned up.
Once the liquid makes its way into the carpet pad it will form a stain that can lay dormant for a long period of time. When you start cleaning – especially if you are using a steam cleaner – the carpet pad will inevitably get wet which leads to wicking. Wicking is the term used for when stains and dirt make their way to the surface when the padding and subfloor become wet.
Wicking is usually a sign that there is a deeper problem, particularly with the padding and subfloor beneath the carpet, and it is advisable to get in touch with a professional if you notice wicking during carpet cleaning.
3. Damaged Pile
If your carpet is worn out, either from old age or due to being in a high traffic area, this can also contribute to the appearance of your carpet after cleaning.
This is because once a carpet has been cleaned all of the fibres will be stood upright, which makes damage more noticeable. For example, if there are areas of your carpet that are missing fibres, or simply where the pile is different in length, then these will be obvious after cleaning.
Luckily these issues can be hidden pretty well when the carpet has been walked over a couple of times, but they will need addressing at some point.
4. Incorrect Cleaning Procedure
First and foremost, you should be using a carpet cleaning machine to properly clean your carpet.
Cleaning by hand is great for daily maintenance or to address spills that have just happened, but it won’t do much good when it comes to deep cleaning. It will also lead to lots of problems, including leaving excess soap residue behind as well as excess water reaching the carpet pad.
Carpet cleaning machines still need to be used correctly though, as this can also lead to the issues above. We recommend taking your time and following the guidelines given from the manufacturer, whilst also ensuring no soap residue is left behind afterwards by checking by eye.
How To Prevent This In The Future
If you want to ensure your carpet will look new after cleaning it, it’s important to clean up any liquid spills as soon as possible as these will be brought up during cleaning if allowed to settle.
You also need to use the proper technique, ideally using a carpet cleaning machine rather than by hand, and make sure that you give enough time for all of the dirt to get picked up. Using the right technique will also reduce the chance of soap residue being left behind.
When it comes to the damaged pile, there isn’t really much you can do in this regard apart from getting the carpet replaced. This shouldn’t be too noticeable after the carpet is walked on though so it shouldn’t be an urgent problem unless it is to a very bad extent.
What About Smells?
If your carpet also smells worse after you’ve cleaned it, this is due to moisture in the carpet padding.
If the padding below contains stains such as animal urine or just about anything else, then these can start to smell as they become wet during the cleaning process. You can read more about this in our guide here.
We hope you have learnt the main reason why your carpet looks worse after cleaning from this article, if you have any other queries than please don’t hesitate to get in touch.