We addressed some of the points to consider in spotting carpet in the last article. The reflective brilliance and color can also help determine the composition of a spot. Hardened oil spots such as paint, varnish, lacquer, nail polish, etc., are usually shiny. A food spot is usually dull in appearance and will turn a lighter color where scratched. Spots that are lighter in shade than the original dye color may have dye loss.

Yellow indicates oxidation reactions by strong oxidizers or bleaches. Green or blue may indicate sunlight along with a catalyst. (A catalyst is simply a chemical that helps chemical reactions happen) Red spots on tan or beige carpet may suggest strong acids. Green discoloration along baseboards may suggest insecticides.

Be aware of surrounding conditions that could give a clue as to the spot’s category or origin. The location of the spot in the area to be cleaned may add clues to its identity. A spot in front of a soft drink machine has a good chance of being a beverage spill with sugar, dyes and acids in the mix. Was there a spill, or was it tracked? Tracking will usually be limited to the tips of the face yarns.

Spotting materials that are only on the upper portion of the yarns could indicate that a wicking action has occurred from a previous cleaning. Examine the base of the yarn and the yarn primary backing for similar discoloration. Think of spots that you as a cleaner will encounter. Learn the textures of spots for future reference. What spills are tacky, waxy, hard, soft, oily, dry, wet, etc. The odor of the spot is sometimes the most efficient method of identification. The human nose is the best instrument for identifying odors. Your experience with different odors and the sensitivity of your nose will determine the individual accuracy of the odor identification. 

When an unknown spot does not respond to dry solvent, it should be water soluble. In this case, pH may be a factor. Your comments and questions are always welcome. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…..


Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678.314.2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.