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HomeTips & TricksWhy Is My Carpet Darker After Cleaning?

Why Is My Carpet Darker After Cleaning?

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Imagine your cream-colored carpet getting darker after cleaning? It is not a pretty sight and defeats the purpose of getting it cleaned. But this is a problem most people experience, especially when they clean their carpet themselves.

This leads to the all-important question: why? The primary cause of brown or dark colors after cleaning a carpet is the oxidation caused by soap residue, leading to a high pH level. However, it could also be due to carpet wicking or jute backing. 

We’ll share why your carpet is darker after cleaning and ways to get it back to the original color. So, are you ready to get rid of those dark colors? Let’s begin. 

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Three Reasons Your Carpet Is Darker After Cleaning 

The following are why your carpet has brown spots after cleaning:

  1. High pH Level

Let’s talk a little chemistry. 

pH measures how acidic or basic water is. It ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. So when it is less than 7, there’s acidity, but if it is greater than 7, it indicates a base. 

The best pH level for your carpet is 7, primarily if you use wool. However, the alkalinity may increase depending on the cleaning agent you use. So, if the alkalinity is at 9 or above, your carpet will turn brown. 

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So, how do you fix it? 

Adjust the pH by using different cleaning agents. But pay attention to the soil level of the carpet. Also, you can use builders to reduce the alkalinity of a cleaning product and tone down the effects of hard water. This is known as an acidic rinse, and it effectively removes dark colors on carpets. 

  1. Wicking

Another reason for the dark color of your carpet after cleaning is wicking. It refers to the deeper parts of the carpet fibers absorbing excess moisture.

Carpet wicking is the opposite of what you see with candles. In candles, the wax reduces as the wick burns off. But with a carpet, water pushes up the fiber strains during evaporation and reappears as recurring dark stains. 

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How do you keep the dark colors from appearing?

Ensure you properly dry the carpet after cleaning off the detergents used. Take a stack of absorbent paper towels and put them on the wet spot. Then place a heavy item on it to push it down onto the carpet. Keep it this way for at least 24 hours, and finish the process using a wet vacuum. 

  1. Jute Backing (Cellulosic Browning)

If you use a jute carpet, the cellulose fibers can turn dark from exposure to some cleaning agents, moisture, and slow drying. In addition, you may get brown or reddish colors if the jute fibers are aging. 

Unlike the first two options where you can fix the dark color yourself, it is best to contact a professional carpet and rug cleaning company for jute carpet stains. This is because you cannot remove cellulosic browning with standard cleaning methods. 


Dark stains might be inevitable after cleaning your carpet, but they don’t have to be permanent. This article discussed three reasons why your carpet might get dark colors and ways to get rid of them. So, follow our tips and get your carpet back to its original color. 

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