coffee carpet stain

To most homeowners, carpet staining and soiling sound pretty much like the same thing. After all, in both instances, the carpet ends up with some sort of discoloration.

Unfortunately, the ambiguity surrounding these terms is usually the undoing of many a customer when they return to the manufacturer, warranty in hand, only to find that the fine print really does matter.

So what exactly is the difference between carpet staining and carpet soiling?


Staining on carpet is the discoloration that occurs mainly because of a spilled substance, such as coffee, juice and any other substance that is likely to get embedded in the fibers of the carpet.

Stains occur in carpets when an external substance such as the aforementioned is soaked into an empty dye site. An empty dye site is a spot in a carpet that didn’t receive the colorant when the dyeing process was being undertaken.

Empty dye sites are characteristic of fibers that have been dyed post production. The carpets that do not have empty dye spots are those whose color is added while the fiber is still in liquefied state. This way, there is no chance of there being empty dye spots and subsequently, no stains.

Different types of fibers are prone to stains differently. For instance, nylon is highly absorbent and must be protected with stain treatment in order to make it stain resistant.

The best way to prevent staining is to clean up any spills immediately before they can soak in. Wipe the spill with white paper towels and dab some stain remover on the area.


Soiling on the other hand refers to the accumulation of dirt particles on carpet fibers that is usually brought about by residue and oils such as skin oils getting in contact with the carpet. Often, the end result is carpet browning or brown spots.

The best way to prevent soiling is to ensure you do not allow spills to linger before they are cleaned up. Secondly, always rinse off all cleaning products thoroughly so that residues are not left behind to encourage accumulation of dirt. You should also wear socks or house shoes indoors, to prevent your skin oils from being transferred to the carpet.


In order to prevent staining and soiling, you should always clean spills properly and with the right materials. A white towel or cloth should be used to clean up the spill. White is preferred because you can be sure there will be no color bleeding to the carpet.

If you do not have a store-brought stain remover, you can easily make one at home by mixing a few drops of dish soap with lukewarm water.


Wicking refers to the reappearance of stains after they have already been treated. This usually happens when the spill that cause the stain seeped right through to the padding of the carpet. If a stain keeps on reappearing after you have treated it, it might be time to call on carpet cleaning professionals.

For carpet cleaning to remove both soiling and stains, call Chem-Dry of Bexar County in San Antonio, TX. We provide superior, healthier products and services to remove allergens, dirt and germs from carpet. Call (210) 680-4891 today!