Feces Accident on Carpet

When biological spills happen, the faster you clean them, the better the chance they will rinse out!

Biological spills, whether they be pet or human, can often stain carpet and upholstered fabrics if not treated quickly. The reason is, biological spills are acidic in nature, and fiber is acid loving. In fact, carpet and fabrics are often dyed with acid based dyes. In fact, an interesting point, some fibers are dyed with Red Dye No 4, a dye commonly known to be in foods. Why? Because it is really, really good at dyeing things. Want to know what common food and beverages have or had red dye no 4- Hawaiian Punch for one!  Most people know that when Hawiian Punch (although very tasty), gets spilled on light or white colored clothing, it is likely to stain it. So whether it be clothing, carpet or upholstered fabrics homeowners, parents or people doing laundry know they might be out of luck in removing the red dye on whatever fiber surface it is spilled on.

Therefore, when a foreign dye, such as a biological spill comes in contact with carpet or fabric, it can dye where it strikes if left allowed to sit there (as a spill). Quick response is key to increasing chances of removing the foreign spill.

Lighter colored carpets or fabrics, have more undyed area, so foreign spills can stain them more easily!

To get a bit technical, the less color of the carpet or fabric, the more undyed area exists that is vulnerable to foreign dyes such as spills, depending on the fiber source. Nylon, being the most widely used fiber in carpet, is such a fiber that can stain easily, if it does not have stain resistancy applied at the manufacturer. Even if it has a stain resistant coating you still could be in trouble!

So what do biological spills have to do with Red Dye No. 4?

No much per se. But, biological spills have components, including dyes from food, beverage and even medicines. Also, biological content is highly acidic and can have iron in it as well. The minerals in iron content can be especially hard to remove. They have dye properties that can be difficult to remove. (Case in point- plant water stains that are dark orange when people overwater their plants

Feces,vomit or blood spills, should you try and clean it yourself. . . A chancy question!

Out of the gate, you may be successful, you may not. A biological stain such as the one pictured here might be best left to professional treatment. The less done to the spot the better the chances of removal with the appropriate cleaning solutions and technique. The more you attempt to use a cleaner, or cleaners, the more you are altering the chemistry of the spot, and hence decreasing the chances of removing it. In fact, if in your attempt you could well “set” the stain so nothing can be done to remove it.

Our advice to clients who call is:

  1. Keep it damp and covered- take a wet non colored rag pretty well saturated, ring out some water to dampen the fiber, then place the rag on top of the entire spot.
  2. Take an unused plastic trash liner, unfold it and cover the spot. You may have to weight it down, and keep traffic off of it.
  3. Call us or a professional right away!

Our best advice is call a professional right away!

Most carpet cleaners will respond quickly when called for an accidental spill. In our industry it is called a “spot call.” Because time is of the essence.

Can you count on professionals to remove feces and or vomit from carpet or fabrics every time?

The answer is NO! Spot removal is never guaranteed!

As professionals, at the top of our game, with all the right tools, solutions and tricks to remove difficult spots such as feces, vomit, iron, or other difficult stain components, we can never completely guarantee their removal.  Hate to say it, but “it’s a crap shoot!”

Whenever we are discussing “stain removal” with a customer, we always clarify that ‘if it will come out, we will get it out!” And actually that is for spot removal. The definition of a spot is a foreign substance that comes in contact with a surface we are working with. A stain is defined as a foreign substance which has dyed the undyed surface of a fiber we are working with. So once the material strikes the undyed area it actually is a permanent situation.

To sum it up- If it will come out we will get it out, so time is of the essence!

Remember we are doing damage control!

By definition when these substances exits the body, the IICRC Carpet Cleaning Standards (which guide our industry), automatically categorize them as damage immediately upon impact with the fiber surface. And by definition in the standards, our goal as professionals is “damage control.” We are attempting to reverse damage, and damage that we did not cause.

If we can suggest that if you are in this position, you should have a reasonable expectation that it may come out, or that it may not. It is ok to be hopeful, and yes we have a high probability of success. However, we are not miracle workers, and some times the chemistry trumps over even the most experienced technicians.  If a stain is permanent, there may still be the chance to have a carpet repair technician do a carpet repair to correct it.

If your carpet or upholstery suffers from a biological spill absorb the excess content, don’t overwet, place a clean, damp rag on top.Cover with plastic and call us 609.953.0472. To learn more about our cleaning successes click here to see pictures of our work with all different kinds of soiling, biologicals included Visit Case Studies- Carpet & Upholstery to see all kinds of soiling correction cleaning.

PS- if need be we can refer you to an awesome carpet repair guy. Although most carpet installers hate to do repairs, we have a guy we refer who loves, loves, loves to repair carpets. Ripples, broken seams, burns, spill repairs- you name it he loves to do it!


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