So you’ve got a stain in your carpet? You may be tempted to use bleach to take the stain out. Why not? It works on countertops, bathrooms, and as a disinfectant. It would seem logical to use it on carpet too! But don’t be tempted. Bleach will do more harm than good.
Most people have two types of bleach in their house: Oxidizing bleach, or “Oxi”; and reducing bleach like “Clorox”. Here’s why you don’t want to use either on carpet.
We have all seen the commercial, “Just add one scoop of Oxi to your laundry and your yellow troubles will be over!” The commercial goes on to say, “Make this mixture of Oxi when carpet cleaning and all your sports will be magically gone.” While I can’t speak for the laundry part of this, I am an expert in carpet cleaning.
Oxidizing bleach is a form of hydrogen peroxide. As such, applying it to carpet will alter and distort the structure of the dye molecules, therefore changing the color of the carpet. So when you apply oxidizing bleach to carpet, you will get a permanent yellow stain to replace your original stain. Perfect!
Here are two examples of oxidizing bleach used on carpet:
In both images, a client of mine had tried to use oxidizing bleach to remove dark stains in her carpet. You can see how the bleach altered the dye sites in the carpet and permanently stained it. In the first Image, you can even see the original spot through the bleach stain.
Reducing bleach is the “Clorox” that you put in with your whites. Reducing bleach reduces or subtracts from the color in fabric and will do the same to your carpet. Would you put Clorox in with your darks? Of course not, it would ruin them. It does the exact same thing to carpet. Here is an example:
The bleach subtracted the color from the carpet and left an unsightly mess. Depending on what type of carpet you have, reducing bleach will also leave a green ring around the affected area.
The use of either type of bleach will result in a call to EnviroCare. But there is nothing we can do except advice you to rearrange your furniture!
In short, if you have a stain that you are tempted to use bleach on, call me first! Many times I can give you appropriate solutions for the type of stain you have right over the phone. Also, here is an article outlining common stains and whether or not we can remove them: