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Pacific Sun's 'Best of Marin' 14 Time Winner! Serving most of Marin County

Serving the following Towns & Cities: Sausalito, Mill Valley, Tiburon, Corte Madera, Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Ross, San Anselmo, Fairfax, San Rafael, Novato

The Browning Effect

A Common Carpet Cleaning Glitch

We want our carpet cleaning customers to be aware of this common problem that may occur after a carpet cleaning. If you do notice the signs mentioned below, after reading this article, you will know what to do and why it happened.

Recently, we cleaned a new client's very soiled carpeting. After we were done, they looked great and were stain free! The client was very happy.

A couple of days later, we got a call from that same client, telling us that some of the areas weren't looking too good. We suspected that the browning effect could have occurred because the carpet was in bad condition and needed an intensive cleaning AND because the heater didn't work well in that room.

The issue here is not that she called us about this situation. The issue here is that she almost didn't call us and was going to settle for how it looked. She could have assumed that her carpet wasn't going to improve.

Thankfully, she called us so that we could handle and eliminate the browning. She was happy again.

Therefore, the reason we're writing this article is so that you don't come to the same conclusion if you're in the same situation.


The most common glitch we encounter after carpet cleaning is what we call browning or wicking.  

Browning can appear as a brown, yellow or orange discoloring on the tips of the carpet fibers.

It can also appear as if the area has been re-soiled.

One of the most common areas where this happens is on stairways.

Browning and Wicking usually shows up when carpets take too long to dry, the area has been wetter than usual, or the carpet has a cellulose or jute backing. As the carpet dries, water from the tips of the fibers dry first and what is below rises to the surface bringing with it everything dissolved within it. You might be seeing the residue of spills that have now risen to the top. Most of what spills is resting in the backing of the carpet and is now rising.

The main reason we ask our customers to turn

their heat up high (on cool, cold, on rainy days) after we finish cleaning carpets (as high as 80 degrees when possible) is to avoid browning. The efficient drying of the carpet helps prevent the browning effect. REMEMBER If you encounter the browning effect, it is not irreversible.

Browning does cause alarm if you're not aware of the probability of it appearing. If you do discover areas or spots that look off to you, give us a call. If it's a small spot, you can spray it yourself with the spotter called "STRIP", included in your Carpet Confidence Kit.

(test an area to see if it is the problem)

If you have browning problem,

Strip will be the solution.