How Chemistry applies to Carpet Cleaning?

By Taf Baig

IICRC Approved Instructor & Master Textile Cleaner

So, you’ve decided that you want to learn about carpet cleaning chemicals. Understand this chart and you will understand how chemistry applies to carpet cleaning, so you can understand professional carpet cleaning chemicals.

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Typically, three things happen to the carpet after it leaves the factory in pristine condition.

Soil – comprised of dirt, dust, hair and similar particles.

Spot – anything that is sitting there, but also bonding (stuck) to the fibers.

Stain – something that has changed the color of the fiber.

Soil is the easiest to deal with. It can be removed by vacuuming the carpet thoroughly. Vacuuming removes up to 79% of the soil in the carpet, according to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning & Restoration (IICRC).

Professional carpet cleaning chemicals

Spot can be water-based and oil-based. Water-based spots can be removed by a surfactant, soap. 10% of the spots found in the carpet are water-based according to the IICRC.

The rest are oil-based spots and they are also 10% and these can be best removed with petroleum-based dry solvents or plant-based dry solvents, like citrus solvents, Delimonene.

The above adds up to 99% of what is found in the carpeting after it leaves the factory in pristine condition – 79% vacuum, 10% water-based, 10% solvent-based.

This leaves us with 1% that are considered stains. 80% of the 1% are organic. Organic stains are natural stains let’s say that stains that are “God made”. For these stains, when you add oxygen, you add a missing molecule that makes the spot disappear. Good professional carpet cleaning chemicals should have all the above. If they have these and have the right percentage of each, then 99.8% of what is in the carpet will come out just from your pre-spray alone.

After the above, what is left behind is 0.2%. Half of these, 0.1%, are synthetic dye stains, like Kool-Aid, and the other half, 0.1% are “caked-on” oil-based stains that your pre-spray just didn’t have enough dry solvent (or organic solvent) in it to completely remove them.

The best carpet cleaning solution

So, for the 0.1% that are synthetic dye stains, they can be removed by using a product that removes oxygen – a reducing agent. Red Relief is an example of a name brand that you may be familiar with it.

professional carpet cleaning chemicals


Finally, the 0.1% that are solvent-based can be removed by using a non-volatile solvent. The non-volatile solvent removes the residue on the carpet, but it does not evaporate – it stays there on the carpet. This causes it to attract new dirt. Therefore, you will need another product, a volatile solvent, to remove the residue of the non-volatile from the carpet. An example of a name brand of a product that contains both these ingredients is Citra-pure Gel.

Professional carpet cleaning solutions when made correctly, reduce the user’s time by removing even stains that normally require “hands and knees” manual labor.


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Pixie Powder Rinse


Fiber Lock -Shockwave Concentrate EPA Registered Disinfectant, Sanitizer, and Cleaner


CitraPure GEL Solvent Based Spot Remover


Magic Spell Solvent- Carpet + Tile + Upholstery Protector


SpotGuard Concentrate of Concentrate.


Trashed Green Gel


Odor & Stain Remover for Wool – Natural Fabrics


Red Relief for Wool


Stain Magic for Wool


Stinky Winky


Crystal Rinse 2x


Dry Cleaning Sponges – 6x3x2


Thymol Concentrate


OxyBlaster 2X: Hard Floor Cleaner with Oxygen Bleach.


OxyBlaster: Hard Floor Cleaner with Citrus Solvent


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Natural Stone Stripper – 1 gallon


54 Containers of 2.5 Gallon Rapid Mold Remover – Free Shipping


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Apple Orchard Fluorosil Odor Neutralizer


Grease Eater 2x


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Atomic Encapsulator (Crystallizer)


Beginner Dye Kit


Brown Out: Browning Treatment


Cherry Fluorosil Odor Neutralizer B124 Case of 4




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Clean GreeN S777


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Dry Slurry


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Environ HP Encapsulation Cleaner Orbot


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Fabpro Rust Remover

Fine Fabric Detergent


Fine Fabric Pre-Spray


Fine Fabric Rinse B112


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Grease Eater Original Carpet Prespray


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Magic Potion, Detergent and Pre-Spray All in One




Nitro – the Ultimate Booster


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ODORx 9-D-9


One-Step Oxy Rescue B418 – 12 Quarts in the Case


One-Step Red Rescue B416


Oxy Plus B155 Case Of 4


Paint, Oil & Grease Remover


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Phoenix AirMax


Phoenix FOCUS Axial Air Mover


Powdered Power Pre Spray and Detergent


Power Burst


Power Gel tube


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Pro Solve Gel Tube by Pros Choice


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Red Relief Trigger with Dual Chamber


Red Relief Stain Remover, Large 64oz


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