How Stains Occur:
Little Olivia is a very sweet girl. She picks dandelions for her grandmother whenever she visits, colors every inch of her favorite coloring book, and shares her fruit punch with all of her dolls. She brightens every room she walks into, and leaves a mark wherever she goes…a very noticeable mark. Olivia jaunts through the mud on her way to the dandelions, leaving muddy footprints on the beige carpet as she enters her grandmother’s house. When she colors, Olivia tears the sheet out of her book and places it very carefully on the cream carpet in her room. Then she drags the crayon all the way to the edge of the page, coloring the carpet fibers. And the fruit punch she serves – well, she serves her dolls at the table as would any proper young lady. Unfortunately, her dolls don’t swallow any portion of their drink, causing the punch to dribble down their plastic chins straight onto the dining room carpet.
Spot vs. Stain:
When Olivia runs into the house, her grandmother is coming down the hallway. She sees the dandelions in her granddaughter’s hand…and also the muddy footprints almost as soon as she walks into the main living room. Since the soil has only recently come in contact with the carpet, it is considered a spot. Olivia’s grandmother removes the larger clumps of mud before retrieving her carpet spotter to rinse away the remaining residue. The carpet dries without any sign of little footprints.
When Olivia’s father discovers the crayon in the carpet, two days have already passed and the carpet is stiff. Despite the passage of time, however, this is considered a spot. Olivia’s father finds a white cloth and the clothes iron, places the cloth over the crayon, and uses the iron to transfer the wax from carpet to cloth.
The fruit punch falls onto a dark brown carpet, and Olivia is kind enough to clean it up with a paper towel after she is done with her tea party. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get it all. The fruit punch goes unnoticed until Olivia’s mother notices the carpet is crunchy in several areas around the dining room table. She uses her carpet spotter, but the carpet is slightly discolored when it dries. Too much time has passed, and now the spot has turned into a stain. Olivia’s mother uses a treatment chemical like Carpet Spotter, working it deep into the carpet fibers with a brush. She rinses the chemical before placing a wet cloth over the stain so the remaining fruit punch will wick upward, transferring from carpet to cloth. Finally, the carpet is restored.
When Olivia spilled the fruit punch it went all the way down into the carpet pad. Despite Olivia’s mother’s best effort she is unable to fully remove the fruit punch from the pad beneath, thus the dried fruit punch begins to attract and gather dirt. Several months pass, but eventually the stain resurfaces. Olivia’s mother is forced to re-treat the area, and may have to repeat this process several more times before the stain is completely removed. That’s the trouble with stains – they like to stick around for the long haul.