The A-Z Of Carpet Cleaning - Domestic & Professional Guide -





Carpet cleaning solutions are alkaline and the higher the alkalinity the stronger the cleaning solution. Alkalinity though can cause problems with carpets such as browning/yellowing or colour run. High alkalinity can also cause cleaning solution to not be rinsed fully from the carpet leaving residue behind which attracts dirt causing the carpet to re-soil quickly. Normal carpet cleaning alkaline would be between 8-10 with heavy soiling such as restaurants using higher strength solutions around 11-12.


Acid ph chemicals can be used to stop or reverse problems on carpets. Acidic solutions will stop browning and yellowing and can be used to try and reverse the process. They can also be used to stop colour run and changes. For the safest carpet cleaning an acid cleaning solution and low ph wool safe pre spray are the best options.



The process of gently pressing a clean cloth onto a carpet stain to absorb the liquid and prevent it from spreading. Blotting is preferred to rubbing the carpet as this can cause feathering of the fibres and distortion of the pile which can make it stand out.

Blue tack:

Blue tack on a carpet can be removed using a citrus solvent type gel to dissolve it. Dirtbusers product is Grease gum and oil remover. The excess is first removed and then the stain remover is used to dissolve the rest of the blue tack. The area then needs to be blotted and rinsed with water.

Browning / yellowing:

This occurs when the back of a carpet gets wet during the cleaning process. Certain backings of carpets like jute contain cellulose which when wet release and wick browning up to the surface. High alkalinity also raises the chances of browning. The safest way to clean a carpet with jute backing is with an acidic rinse, browning can be improved or reversed with an acidic rinse. Dirtbusters acidic rinse is perfect for this task.


Vanishing Acts: The Ultimate Guide to Removing Blood Stains from Carpets & Upholstery

Blood on carpets can be very hard to remove in one attempt as the blood is so concentrated any residue left in the carpet will wick to the surface during drying. When cleaning blood first the area should be sprayed with a biocidal cleaner to limit any contamination. The blood stain should then be sprayed with an alkaline protein spotter to break it down. The stain should then be rinsed with an extraction machine with warm water. Once dry a repeat of the cleaning process can be performed to remove the remaining stain. Rust remover can also help remove old blood stains in carpets.


Carpet shampooing:

The traditional name for carpet cleaning that involves applying a shampoo or cleaning solution to the carpet and then using a machine to extract the dirt and debris.


How to remove coffee stains from carpets & upholstery 

Coffee stains can be removed by using a specially developed stain remover which helps remove tannin and browning from carpets. Apply the solution, leave for a few minutes to work then blot to remove or use a carpet machine to rinse.

Carpet moth:

Carpet moth is found on carpets containing wool. They generally go in areas where they are not disturbed like the edges and under furniture. Bad cases can see large areas eaten and bald patched left. Carpet moth is treated with an insecticide specifically for carpet moth.

Chewing gum:

Chewing gum can be removed in two different methods. The old method is to freeze the gum with a freeze spray then chip away to remove. This can damage the fibres. The modern way is to apply a citrus solvent gum to dissolve the gum and then rinse the area.

Candle wax:

Candle wax used to be removed from wool carpets by placing brown paper over the wax then using an iron to melt the wax which would be absorbed by the paper for removal. This causes a major problem on synthetic modern carpets as the iron melts the pile leaving permanent irreversible damage. Now wax is removed with citrus solvent-based chemicals which after any excess is removed dissolve the wax for easy removal.

Cat urine:

Cat urine is generally found in the corners of carpets. The first thing to establish is whether the carpet has an underlay. If it does this is best cut out and replaced. The floor underneath is then treated with odour neutralise. The back of the carpet are then rinsed and cleaned with a cleaning solution and then sprayed with odour neutraliser.


Dry cleaning:

A carpet cleaning method that uses dry solvents or impregnated material which is brushed into the carpet to clean the carpet fibers, rather than water.


Defoamer is used in a carpet machine waste tank to keep any foam build up neutralised. Foam can end up in the waste tank from the cleaning solution foaming or foam left in the carpet from previous cleaning and stain removers. If foam is sucked through the vacuum motors it can damage them leading to motor failure.

Dog Urine:

Dog urine can be removed by spraying the area in a pre-spray. Enough prespray needs to be added to reach the depth of the urine. This is then extracted with a solution containing an odour treatment and a reactivating odour neutraliser is then applied generously to the area to finish.

Draught marks:

Draught marks occur around the edge of carpets where a draught escapes from under the floor bringing dust with it. The dust is filtered by the carpet and builds up a grey to black edge around the carpet. The staining needs to be pre sprayed and extracted with cleaning solution.



How to Use an Extraction Carpet Cleaner Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide

The process of removing dirt and cleaning solution from the carpet using a machine that sprays water and then sucks it back up.


Foam cleaning:

A carpet cleaning method that uses a foam shampoo solution to lift dirt and debris from the carpet, which is then vacuumed away.


After the carpet is cleaned care needs to be taken when replacing furniture. Wood furniture can leave permanent staining from colour coming out on damp carpet and metal furniture with studs on the legs can leave rust marks. Any problem furniture can be protected by placing tin foil under it until dry.


Green cleaning:

Carpet cleaning using environmentally friendly and safe cleaning solutions, such as Dirtbusters Carpet Solutions.


Grease can be removed with solvent based stain removers or citrus solvent gel.


Hot water extraction:

A carpet cleaning method that uses hot water and a cleaning solution to loosen and extract dirt and debris from the carpet fibers. We recommend using warm water with al of our carpet cleaning shampoos to ensure you achieve the ultimate professional standard clean.



A thorough examination of the carpet before cleaning to identify any problem areas or stains that require special attention. Things to look for in pre inspection are stains, soiling, odour, carpet moth, & other problem areas.


Ink can be removed with rinsing with cleaning solution or applying solvent stain removers. Carefully blotting away any excess ink before it dries will ensure minimal staining.



Jute is used in the backing of carpets and can cause browning, when the backing becomes wet.



Understanding the best carpet cleaning methods and techniques for your particular carpet type and any specific stains or issues you may have before cleaning will help you achieve the best deep clean without causing damage to your carpets & upholstery.


Low moisture cleaning:

A carpet cleaning method that uses minimal water, making it ideal for carpets that cannot handle excessive moisture. This is preferable on some delicate rugs and moisture sensitive materials. Upholstery cleaning using a low moisture hand tool is also used to safely clean upholstery fibres.



Regular cleaning and maintenance of your carpet cleaner machine will ensure it will not lose performance on your next clean. 


Milk can cause a very unpleasant smell if spilt on carpets. This is caused by rotting protein. This can be removed using a generous pre spraying of the stain and agitation before cleaning with an appropriate cleaning solution and odour neutraliser.


Carpet cleaner machines come in various types from home cleaning water extraction machines to truck mounted professional carpet cleaning systems.



The process of neutralizing any cleaning solution used on the carpet to prevent it from attracting dirt and becoming a new stain. This can be done by rinsing with an acidic rinse.


Odour removal:

Eliminating unpleasant odours from carpets using specialized cleaning solutions and techniques.

Over wetting:

Over wetting of carpets occurs when excessive amounts of moisture are used during the cleaning process and the back of the carpet and underlay become wet. This leads to long drying times and the water in the carpet becoming stagnant and causing bad odours which will not go until dry. This is one of the most common amateur carpet cleaning mistakes and is often blamed on the cleaning solution causing the odour. The carpet at this stage needs to be treated like a water damaged carpet and may need professional drying equipment to speed up the drying process.



Applying a cleaning solution to problem areas or stains on the carpet before the main cleaning process begins. This is applied by sprayer and brushed into the carpet to release soiling before cleaning for easy removal.


pH is the chemical scale from acid to alkaline. Generally, carpet solutions are 8-10 pH for normal cleaning and 10-12 for heavy soiling. Acidic chemicals are used to prevent browning, re-soiling and colour change.


Carpet protection can be applied to new or cleaned carpets to add stain protection and anti-soiling.



Carpet cleaning techniques that ensure the carpet dries quickly, reducing the risk of bad odours and mould or mildew.



Restoring heavily soiled or damaged carpets to their original condition using specialized cleaning techniques.



Rugs can be cleaned with carpet cleaning machines but some delicate and expensive rugs may need specialist cleaning.

Red wine: 

Red wine can be removed using special stain removing acidic treatments. Some old stains can be removed by alternating between acidic and alkaline rinses and extracted after each application.


Rust can be removed using specialist rust removing solutions and gels.


Steam cleaning:

A popular carpet cleaning method that uses hot water and steam to clean and sanitize carpets.


Carpet shrinking is caused by the back of woven carpets becoming wet. The jute fibres swell pulling on the cotton fibres running between them causing shrinking on its length.


Some modern synthetic carpets can stretch when the polypropylene backing becomes heated and causes ridges to form in the carpet. Generally, this corrects itself once dry.


Shading occurs on carpets in traffic areas where the fibres turn in opposite directions to the rest of the carpet. This leads to an effect that makes the carpet look dirty and shaded, but is only a problem with the carpet pile. This mainly occurs on wool carpets.


Traffic lane cleaner:

A specialized cleaning solution designed to remove dirt and debris from high-traffic areas of the carpet.


Tea stains are removed with anti-tannin cleaning sprays which help to remove the brown tea stains.


Tar spots can be removed using solvent cleaners to dissolve the tar and remove. The area then needs to be rinsed to remove any residue.


Upholstery cleaning:

Cleaning upholstery using specialized cleaning solutions and techniques to remove dirt and stains.


Urine can be removed using carpet extraction machines and appropriate cleaning solutions containing odour neutraliser. Where urine has reached the back of the carpet, cleaning solution will need to also reach this area for it to be successfully cleaned and to be odour neutralised.



Regular vacuuming to remove dirt and debris from the carpet fibers before they become embedded.


Sick can cause a very unpleasant smell in carpets. This is caused by the smell of rotting protein. The area needs to be thoroughly pre treated with prespray and then extracted using a cleaning solution and odour neutraliser.



Water damage restoration:

Restoring carpets damaged by water, including flood damage or water leaks.

Waste water:

Dirty water collects in waste tanks in carpet machines and needs to be emptied once full during cleaning.




Addressing any yellowing or discoloration in the carpet fibers during the cleaning process.


Zero residue cleaning:

A carpet cleaning technique that leaves no residue on the carpet, preventing dirt and debris from accumulating in the future.