If you have a carpet at home, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the struggle of keeping it clean. It can be a constant battle to ward off dirty boots, dog fur, and spilt wine. And accidents do happen! If you’re cleaning a carpet yourself, it’s common to run into some problems as the process can be more complex than expected. If your carpet still looks dirty after cleaning, here’s 8 reasons why.

Why Does My Carpet Smell Worse After Cleaning?

Even if the carpet appears clean after your efforts, you may find it has a lingering smell.

Water that gets trapped in the carpet padding can give it an odour. This may cause a smell similar to mildew or stale clothing. The reason for this is stains have been absorbed into the unseen depths of your carpet. Wet padding releases old stain odours again as it gets wet from cleaning.  

Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until the padding has dried before you can get rid of the smell through another more thorough bout of cleaning.

8 reasons your carpet looks worse after cleaning:

1. The carpet is too old

A carpet's age is another factor that could be causing its appearance to deteriorate after a recent cleaning. The average carpet lasts anywhere from five to fifteen years. A carpet that's getting close to the end of its useful life may produce undesirable results after a cleaning.

The fibres of your carpet fade, wear down, and fray over time. A carpet pile lies flat before cleaning and is pulled upwards after steam is applied.  

In certain areas of the carpet, it may appear that it has balding areas due to variations in fibre length and wear. Although the carpeting may be worn, when it starts laying down again, it returns to normal and does not exhibit the worn look that it had before.

2. You’re using the wrong cleaning products

If you don’t use the right detergent and clean water, residue can be left on your carpet after washing.

The traditional method of cleaning and rinsing your carpet will leave soap and shampoo residue that will turn into mildew over time. As a consequence, it will quickly become covered in dust and dirt.

In high-traffic areas with a lot of footfall, this can get out of hand quickly. Anyone who steps over will leave marks which can be hard to remove.

If you use traditional carpet cleaning methods, you will never be able to remove the residue. No matter how much you vacuum, the stains will remain. In order to fix this problem, you have to find a deeper cleaning method or a more appropriate product to use on your carpet.

3. Stubborn stains are too tough for your equipment

Oil-based substances are often the cause of deep or stubborn stains. Try some natural products like vinegar or alcohol instead of using one of the chemicals on your list to scrub at the stain. You can make your own versions of these products if you don't have them at home, but always be cautious.  

It might be time to bring out the big guns. Dry or steam cleaning can work wonders for getting out the stains that won’t budge. You can rent these yourself, but it’s a good idea to hire professionals who have the right training and experience to use them effectively. You should also be sure that the machine is the right kind for your individual carpet.  

4. You’re using too much water

When water is used improperly, it can harm your carpet. When too much water sits on top of your carpets and soaks into its jute backing, the carpet can appear dull in colour, even making it look older than before the clean.

After you're done, you'll find that you can't get out all the excess moisture because everything has been soaked. This results in a long drying time that's both irritating and could result in further damage.

5. A Clogged Vacuum

Even if vacuuming has removed the larger debris from your carpet, it may be that dirt is still slipping through and remaining trapped. Your vacuum might simply be clogged, making it less effective at cleaning. Be sure to empty the bag regularly to keep the suction effective and remove the deeper ingrained debris from carpets.

You might also want to clean the vacuum cleaner’s brush head of any dirt, as well as checking the filter to ensure it’s still performing as it should. The last thing you want is to be tracking more dirt onto your carpet with a dirty hoover nozzle!

6. You’re not rinsing thoroughly

If the carpet cleaning is rushed, it often won’t be properly rinsed off.  

When this happens, the detergents and cleaning product residue can stay on the carpet and make all kinds of dirt stick to it, attracting more mess than before.  

This is why carpet cleaning is a job not to be taken lightly! Sloppy work can make your carpet worse off than before all your efforts.  

7. Your carpet isn’t drying properly

Drying is a step that's often overlooked. No one wants a soggy carpet, especially since they’re more likely to smell and collect dirt. So, before you undertake a cleaning, be sure to consider how you’ll dry your carpet. If you’re hiring a professional for the job, choose one that will follow through with important steps like inspecting, rinsing, pre-vacuuming, and drying. If the job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!

If you’d like to know more about how to dry a wet carpet, you can read our article here.


8. Carpet wicking  

Carpet Wicking is when dirt or stains that are lying below the surface, perhaps in the padding, move up to become visible after cleaning. This is usually what happens as it begins to dry following steam cleaning.

Sometimes, a stain is only the tip of the iceberg- there may be more than meets the eye.  

This is usually caused by over-rinsing and saturating the fibres and under-padding with water and product. If you notice signs of wicking when cleaning your carpet, it’s a good idea to call a professional as it’s easy to aggravate a stain of this kind.  

How professional cleaning can save your carpet

Professional carpet cleaning is a great way to deal with difficult residue and wicking from your carpets. Professionals will not only get rid of all the visible filth, but will also make sure your carpets are healthy, last longer, and are clean down to the base with no hidden debris.

The high-quality and specialist equipment they use assures the job is done well, and done completely so you don’t have to worry about any underlying issues that come from a DIY job.

Remember, your carpet’s results will only be as good as the cleaning company you hire! Before you settle on a cleaning provider, you should carefully consider what you’re looking for. This article can help with the process by providing 10 questions you should ask your carpet cleaning company.

If you need your carpet cleaned or even a quick assessment carried out, call us today to make an appointment. Here at A Cleaning Service, our carpet cleaning services are available for all types of carpets in homes and businesses.