Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Tuesday's Ask the Experts: Oil stains

July 17, 2012

Tuesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network (ICAN) "Ask the Experts" page: A hand truck had oil on the wheels and left about 80'' of 4" spots on and off on the carpet. I had some stain remover and attempted to remove the oil by applying the chemical, than scrubbing with a hand held nylon brush, than using a carpet machine to clean up the area. The oils seem to be gone, but there are now dark spots on the carpet where the spots were removed. It looks like the mistake I made was to scrub the area with a brush. Is it ever going to go back to normal? Is there anything I can do to fix it?

The answer:

Here is what I suspect has happened. The oil worked its way down into the fibers and you were able to remove what was accessible to you at the top of the pile. What was left has now worked its way back to the top to become visible and attract soil, a process we call wicking. Your next move is to reclean the spots and continue to do so from time to time until all the oil is gone. This should not be a daunting task since the oil was left in spots and not by a large spill.
As to using the brush for agitation... — Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX editor

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