A Lesson Learned About Wool and Reducers

10 May

Everyday there is something new to learn and this week I learned a valuable lesson.   While cleaning a gorgeous oriental wool rug of unknown origin I applied a reducing agent onto a what looked like a coffee stain.

And yes I did pre test and I monitored the spot for just over three hours checking for fugitive dye and adverse reactions.   Everything seemed OK until I went to the shop the next day.   I had plenty of white residue from the reducer which I did anticipate but there was a violet/purple hue around the area I moistened. Oh no, a carpet cleaners worst nightmare.

After vacuuming the residue it was apparent that the halo was still there.   I knew the product I used was acidic, somewhere around a PH of 5, but I decided to use a mild acidic rinse to flush the area with my extractor.   I then called the best guy in the industry I know, Jim Pemberton.    I’ve had the pleasure of being his student for several IICRC courses and miscellaneous functions.

Jim instructed me to try a peroxide solution and possibly reverse the effects of the reducing agent.   The rinse I performed did remove about 75% of the purple nightmare and the peroxide spotting did the rest.   That plus a little ink.

The lesson learned is that reducing agents work over time and this was more than 3 hours after the application.   Thankfully I was able to correct the problem I caused.   Unfortunately the customer rubbed the stain when they attempted spot cleaning and there was irreversible pile distortion.

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