Some carpet cleaning companies create a lot of headaches for their customers by doing lousy or improper work. The easiest way to avoid these problems is to select a top-rated cleaner to do the work. But it can’t hurt if you know how to recognize common trouble spots.


The biggest danger to your carpet is overwetting, which can happen with poorly adjusted hot water extraction equipment, too much shampoo, and other issues. If moisture reaches a carpet’s backing, any of a number of problems can result. There may be a separation of the secondary backing. The moisture may cause fibers in the backing to shrink and tear seams, dissolving the cellulose in the backing and wicking it to the surface to produce brown stains. The dye in an overwet carpet may bleed. Mildew may develop if a carpet remains wet for several days, and wood floors beneath a carpet may warp.

Brushing Improperly

The brushing used with many cleaning processes—especially the shampoo and bonnet methods—may sometimes distort carpet yarns so that the pile lies unevenly, creating weird shadows or making it look dirty.

Using an Overly Alkaline Solution

Though highly alkaline detergent solutions clean carpet quickly, this sometimes causes colors to bleed and can induce browning. Many of the newer stain-resistant carpets specify that the warranty will be voided if the carpet is cleaned using a solution that is too alkaline or contains brightening agents.

Other Dangers

  • Using the wrong dilution ratio or chemicals that leave sticky residues.
  • Using chemicals that contain substances that may cause allergic reactions or may be toxic.
  • Causing dyes to run by using inappropriate cleaning agents or solvents.
  • Allowing rust or wood stains to get on wet carpet by replacing furniture without putting down leg covers or other protection.