We were contacted by an apartment complex to remove a hot chocolate stain from an area rug which could not be removed by their current service provider. In the first image you can see a dark spot where the spill occurred and a larger spot surrounding it caused by multiple unsuccessful attempts to remove the stain.
In the second image, you can actually see the spill has caused damage to the laminate hardwood floor underneath the rug. When you spill a large amount of liquid on an area rug, it is important to lift the rug to dry underneath. This image also shows the soiling present on the back of the rug, which must be addressed.
The protocol for properly removing a stain like this is to clean both the top and bottom of the rug. If you clean the top of the rug only, a process called wicking will occur causing the spot to reappear during the drying process. Wicking is a process where water will carry soil from the backing or base of the carpet or rug to the top, leaving it behind as it evaporates. Wicking occurs via capillary action, which is an amazing combination of cohesive and adhesive forces that allow water to climb vertical surfaces. Capillary action is what allows trees to supply its leaves with water from its roots.
After protecting the floor to prevent further moisture related damage, we treated the top and bottom of the rug with a stain remover, allowed it dwell time, agitated the fibers to further suspend the soil in solution before rinsing the soil and stain remover away using a hot water extraction method. In the third and fourth pictures you can see the soiling has been removed from the front and back of the rug.