How to Remove Yellow Stains in Carpets

Have you ever noticed that your carpet turns yellow right after cleaning? Not only does it feel annoying, but it can also be difficult to remove as well. If this is the case, then you may want to take action immediately. Restoring a carpet’s colour is easier said than done since there are a number of factors that can cause the discolouration.The good news is that you can clean your carpet yellowing by following these expert tips.

Read on to find out what causes carpet yellowing and what you can do to restore your textile floors back to excellent condition.

What causes carpet yellowing?

There are plenty of reasons why your carpet turns yellow. Let’s take a look at how each one causes carpet discolouration.

  1. Daily carpet stains

When everyday substances accumulate in your carpet, they tend to form yellow stains. This is especially true in areas that experience plenty of foot traffic. Dust, dirt, debris, and even pet urine are notorious for causing carpet yellowing and can be difficult to remove if left untreated.

  1. Chemical yellowing

As the name suggests, chemical yellowing is caused by certain chemicals reacting with the composition of the carpet fibres. Some chemical cleaners contain high amounts of alkaline detergents or pH, creating a yellow stain after using them.

Phenolic yellowing is a type of chemical discolouration that occurs in carpets with butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Carpets with BHT require a bit of breathing room since a lack of oxygen can cause the compound to react and turn yellow.

  1. Photo oxidation

Photo oxidation occurs when the carpet is overexposed to sunlight or atmospheric fumes. Over time, the carpet fibres degrade and a yellow stain forms. Most carpets have a high quantity of yellow dye in them and exposing to sunlight too often can cause the other colours to fade, thus revealing the yellow tint.

  1. Household products

Some household products can react with the carpet and turn it yellow. Some examples are furniture polish, insecticides, household bleaches, and even indoor plant fertilisers. This is because some of these products contain benzoyl peroxide, thus creating a yellowish stain with a sometimes orange ring around it.

  1. Smoking

Smoking indoors can lead to permanent yellow stains on the carpets due to sticky tar buildup. Nicotine stains are quite challenging to remove and can actually ruin the carpet fibres altogether.

How to remove yellow stains in carpets

Different stains require different cleaning methods and the same thing holds true for yellow discolourations. Some can be removed easily while others require a bit more elbow grease. Let’s take a look at how you can remove yellow stains in carpets by using a variety of cleaning methods.

  1. Steam cleaning

One of the best ways to remove yellow stains is through steam cleaning. Steam breaks down deep-seated dirt, dissolves some of the remaining chemicals in the carpet, and removes yellow stains effectively. The great thing about steam cleaning is that it also kills bacteria and other microorganisms as well. A professional carpet cleaning service is all you need to steam clean your carpet and restore its original colour.

  1. Acid rinse

Like we’ve previously mentioned, alkaline-based cleaning products can create a yellow stain on carpets. One way to alleviate that is to conduct an acid rinse. An acid rinse involves using an acid-based product to effectively rinse out the chemical stain. Not only does this remove the alkaline residue, but also stabilise the colour of the carpet and restore its colour.

  1. Adequate air exposure

If the discolouration is caused by phenolic yellowing, giving the carpet some air may be more than enough to fix it. Phenolic yellowing is common in areas where furniture sits on top. Removing the furniture and exposing it to air will cause the yellow stain to gradually disappear. Move the furniture around from time to time to avoid yellow stains from forming in carpets that have BHT.

  1. Baking soda

Baking soda is a natural carpet cleaner that tackles yellow stains quite well. Simply mix 1 cup of baking soda with ½ cup of water and apply to the stained area. Use a soft-bristled brush and work the baking soda deep within the carpet fibres. Repeat until the yellow stain is fully removed from the carpet.

  1. Carpet dye

If the yellow stain has been left untreated for a long time, you may find it very difficult to remove. Photo-oxidation can lead to permanent yellowing of the carpet fibres so it’s best to avoid overexposure to direct sunlight. Carpet dye is probably your only option of fixing the discolouration in this scenario. Keep in mind that you can only dye a carpet with a matching or darker colour as a lighter dye will look uneven.