Why Stains Become Permanent And How To Avoid Them

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We all have had at least one piece of garment ruined by permanent stains. Stubborn stains are even worse on carpets and upholstery because these objects are more expensive and difficult to replace, unlike a T-shirt or a blouse. As a carpet cleaning service, we have seen lots of permanent stains in our activity and since they are permanent, nothing can be done to remove them. Not even the best carpet cleaning solution is able to remove certain stains. Let’s find out why some stains become permanent and how to prevent them!

Why Causes Stains to Become Permanent?

Why do some stains become permanent so that not even the best upholstery cleaning service is able to remove them? There are several causes of stains that never go off:

High temperature

Both fabrics in carpets/upholstery and colored compounds are fairly large molecules. These molecules tend to interact non-covalently, which means no chemical bonds are created. Such interactions between molecules are reversible and detergent will generally be able to separate staining substances from fibers. However, several factors can determine those staining molecules to covalently bind to the fabric, and heat is one of them. Couch steam cleaning, while very effective at extracting dirt, for instance, is not recommended for stained upholstery due to the high temperature of the steam.

In a similar manner, you should not use the dryer for clothes if you are not sure a stain has been removed yet and neither should you treat a stain on a rug or couch with hot water. Once the bond between molecules becomes covalent, there is nothing you can do to break the bond without breaking the bonds of the fabric, too.

Allowing the stain to settle in

The longer a stain is left untreated, the less likely it is to be removed. First, a spill will stay on the surface of the fabric, but when allowed to sit, it will start to react with the fabric and change its color. Treating stains fast is important if you want to prevent them from becoming permanent.

Type of fibers

Some fibers are more prone to permanent stains than others, such as cotton. Other natural fibers, like wool, are more resistant to stains. Wool contains lanolin, natural oil that repels liquids.

Many synthetic fibers are built with stain protection, such as polyester. Fabrics with a texture also tend to retain stains less compared to fabric with a luster.


Many people do the mistake of vigorously rubbing spills on their items instead of blotting them. This spreads the stain out and pushes it deeper into the fabric. 

Type of stain

Some substances are more likely to cause a permanent stain than others. Keep on reading to find out what kind of stains are more likely to become permanent!

What Kinds of Stains Tend to Become Permanent?

The substance causing the stain has a significant impact on the ability to remove it. Some staining agents are more powerful than others, and these include:


Ink stains are not easy to tackle due to the high concentration of pigments and other coloring chemicals. With this type of stain, a fast reaction is critical if you want to be able to remove it.


Mud stains are difficult to treat because mud binds to fabric fibers very easily. Mud particles are larger and stick better to fabric than other types of dirt. 


Blood that is allowed to dry on fabric will oxidize and turn into a dark brown. Blood stains should be allowed to soak for several hours as this will help to break up the stain. With blood stains always remember to use cold water, as high temperatures will “cook” the protein in the blood into the fabric and make the stain permanent.


Mildew stains can permanently damage carpets and upholstery. They are black or green spots with a pungent smell and need to be treated with special anti-mold products because soap and water only do not kill the spores.


The yellow turmeric in curry is the culprit for the permanent nature of these stains. A fast reaction is vital for this type of stain. Remover excess curry spillage by scrapping and blotting the stain with dishwashing detergent immediately.

Red wine

Red wine stains also have a tendency of becoming permanent, but can be removed if you act immediately and do not rub.


Even water can stain your carpets if spillages are not dried fast. This type of stain occurs when the water is high in minerals such as magnesium and calcium.

How to Avoid Permanent Stains

Any experienced couch cleaner or mattress cleaner will tell you that stains do not need to become permanent, and there are a few tricks you can use:

Clean the stain as soon as possible

Add stain remover or dishwashing detergent if you cannot clean the area immediately.

Avoid high temperatures and rubbing the spot

These factors will determine whether the staining substances permanently adhere to fabrics, making stain removal very difficult or impossible.

Treat each stain with the right cleaning agent

A NY carpet cleaning expert will be able to use the right cleaning solution for each type of stain, depending on the substance causing it and the type of fiber.

Worrying that a stain on your carpet or couch could become permanent? PristineGreen Upholstery and Carpet Cleaning can help with professional area rug cleaning and sofa cleaning services. Contact us at 347-871-6530 and we will advise you on how to pre-treat stains until we can reach your home and remove them professionally.

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Voted 5-Star Top Carpet Cleaner and Upholstery Cleaner in NYC, Brooklyn & Queens. Our customer service hours are 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week.

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