What Is The Difference Between a Stain and a Spot?

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What Is The Difference Between a Stain and a Spot?

What Is The Difference Between a Stain and a Spot

What Is The Difference Between a Stain and a Spot?

Carpet cleaning pros say that many people think a stain and spot are the same things but they are not. The main difference is in the way the dirt bonds onto the carpet. Spots happen when something spills or drops on the carpet, but does not bind chemically onto the carpet’s fibers. Staining happens when the spilled liquid or dirt on the carpet binds onto the carpet’s fibers. A carpet stain is more damaging than a carpet spot. Stains also require specialized cleaning.

What causes carpet spots?

Soiling agents that do not have chemical compounds are not able to bind to a carpet’s fibers. The dirt rests on top of the carpet. This kind of dirt is easily scraped off, washed or vacuumed. Spots can be caused by food spills, mud, or dust.

What causes carpet stains?

Soiling agents containing chemical compounds are often noticeable by leaving color on the carpet. The chemical binding makes stains harder to remove. Some soiling agents that cause staining include oil paint, wine, motor oil and cooking oil.


Carpet spots are always visible while stains might not be visible. This is especially true for clear oil stains, for example, cooking oil, or glycerin. The stain is invisible but gradually appears as other dirt collects on it. Dust will accumulate on the invisible stain and fail to come off when vacuuming is done.

Cleaning off carpet spots

If spotting is caused by a solid soiling agent like food, it can be brushed off, swept or scraped off the carpet. Wet soiling agents like mud are easier to clean off when dry as they can then be easily scraped off. Dirt can be vacuumed easily.

Cleaning off carpet stains

The best way to deal with carpet stains is by washing them off with the help of chemical detergents. Nail polish, for example, can be removed using nail polish remover. Motor oil stains can be cleaned off by using turpentine.

Bleaching s carpet stain is sometimes not helpful as the bleach discolors the carpet. This would work well for a white or light colored carpet.

Using a carpet protector

A carpet protector prevents staining by preventing soiling agent binding onto carpet fibers. A carpet protector has a few benefits:

  • Makes cleaning easier. The dirt is easily scraped off.
  • Prolongs the life of your carpet. A carpet cleaner eliminates the need to clean the carpet using harsh detergents and aggressive brushing.
  • Cheaper carpet cleaning costs as there is less work to be done.