Sticky Carpet After Cleaning – What Causes it

Many carpet cleaners use some type of chemical cleaning agent, shampoo or soap which is typically injected into the carpet with hot water under high pressure. The cleaning solution then penetrates the carpet fibers, bonding with the stains and soils. The dirty mixture is then drawn back out of the carpet with a vacuum or other suction device. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the cleaning mixture remains behind, resulting in a sticky carpet after cleaning.

Sticky Carpet After Cleaning

Sticky Carpet After Cleaning

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the reasons a carpet becomes sticky even after cleaning. 

Why Does the Carpet Get Sticky?

Indeed, most of the cleaning solution and liquified soil is pulled out of the carpet fibers during the cleaning process, but some of the cleaning mixture remains behind. After the cleaning process, the water will evaporate and the carpet will start to dry. Similarly, the chemicals and residual soaps will also dry into the carpet fibers. It is this residue that gives the carpet a sticky texture.

This is quite similar to how your hair would feel if you washed it with shampoo and failed to rinse it thoroughly. When your hair dries, rather than feeling clean and soft, it would feel sticky and stiff because some of the shampoo residue in your hair.

A Sticky Carpet is a Sign of Worse Things to Come

When your carpet gets sticky, it not only makes the fibers stiff and crunchy but also acts as a powerful magnet for dirt and grime. This explains why carpets cleaned using traditional methods become re-soiled so fast. Even if you vacuum the carpet, soil will still get stuck to the residue within the fibers.

In addition to rapid re-soiling, the cleaning residue left in your carpet fibers may come into contact with babies, pets or young children who play or lie on the carpet surface. The dried residue may cause allergies or irritate the skin, leading to itching and rashes. It can also be ingested or inhaled, causing breathing sickness and other concerns.

Why Not Use More Rinse?

It’s easy to assume that the best way to avoid a sticky carpet is to use a prolonged water rinse to extract the residual cleaning solution from the carpet fibers. However, most traditional cleaning agents and carpet shampoo are difficult to remove. And unfortunately, excessive rinsing often leads to over wetting, which in turn saturates the carpet and the underlying pad.

Types of Residue

A strong alkaline residue will leave your carpet crusty and re-soil rapidly. Acid rinses, on the other hand, leave your carpet with a soft feel and don’t attract soils if used properly. Neutral rinses/residues are gaining popularity as they’re neural but have no chemical action to balance the pre-conditioner in the carpet.

Bottom Line

Your carpet is a big investment, so you can’t afford to ignore its care and maintenance. Whether you choose to have your carpets professionally cleaned, or choose to do it yourself, be sure to use the right products and cleaning method for your type of carpet. Making the right choices will help to avoid sticky carpet after cleaning.