Questions still come thick and fast regarding the correct chemical or cleaner to use for specific stains. However in most cases the cleaners are used incorrectly encouraging people to use ever increasingly stronger products which can in turn damage the surface. So I thought it prudent to go over the proper procedures to remove stains.
When a water based contaminant is spilt the steps to follow in every case are as follows:
- Remove as much of the contaminant as quickly as possible using an absorbent sponge or paper towel. Please make sure the towel or sponge has no artificial colouring in it that may be re-emulsified by the contaminant as this may create another stain. Blot up us much of the liquid as possible. This procedure in many cases will clean almost 90% of the stain.
- Allow the remainder of the stain to dry (usually this will take no more than 1 hour). This is a very important part of the procedure because if you apply a cleaner straight away the cleaner’s carrier (usually water) will mix with the stain’s carrier taking the stain even deeper.
- Apply the appropriate cleaner. In many cases a simple neutral cleaner will do the job. However to select the correct cleaner please consult the Problem Solving section on our Aqua Mix web site.
- Allow the cleaner to dwell. This is very important as time is a critical factor in determining how well a chemical will work. All Aqua Mix cleaners indicate the active dwell time required for peak performance.
- After the cleaner has had time to dwell and re-emulsify the stain DO NOT agitate or scrub. Firstly use absorbent paper towels or a sponge to blot up as much of the stain as possible. At this early stage agitation can further entrench the stain. Repeat this process until either the stain is removed or no more contaminant is absorbed. Any remaining stain can now be exposed to more cleaning solution and some light agitation.
- Rinse with clean water and again blot up with absorbent paper towels or a sponge.
Oils: Oils present a slightly different situation and hence a slight alteration to the procedure above.
- As per water based
- DO NOT ALLOW TO DRY. Saturate oil stain with clean water, preferably hot. This will encase the stain stopping it moving any deeper.
- As per water based. However for very deep oil stains a solvent may be required such as Aqua Mix Sealer and Adhesive Remover.
- As per water based. Note for deep set oil stains long dwell times may be required.
- As per water based
- As per water based.
I cannot stress enough how important the use of both absorption and dwell time are in this process. Most when confronted with a stain pour a cleaner on immediately and then start scrubbing. The result in many cases is a stain that is lighter in colour but only because it now covers an area 3 to 4 times greater than the spill. Absorption initially is the answer. It is also the initial procedure to remove the cleaner. Remember the cleaner is not there to magically remove the stain. Its main function is to re-emulsify the stain so it can be removed. Secondly dwell time. Cleaners create a chemical reaction with the stain and a critical component in this reaction is time. Give them no time and the result will be poor. In summary using the correct procedure for stain removal is just as critical as using the correct cleaner. In many cases the correct procedure will allow you to use very gentle cleaners and in doing so reduce the risk of damage otherwise created by more aggressive solutions.