Doreen S
Doreen S
  • Hometalker
  • Granville, MA
Asked on Feb 9, 2013

What do you think these mystery marks could be?

Shirley MasonDiana DeileyRenata
+29

Answered

These are pictures of my friend's bedroom carpet. She said these roundish stains have appeared quite mysteriously, and they have her baffled. I have to admit, they are the strangest stains I've ever come across. I haven't seen them in person (may do so this week) but based on her description she said they're more 'discolorations' than anything else. Any insight would be appreciated!
q what do you think this could be, cleaning tips, flooring
q what do you think this could be, cleaning tips, flooring
30 answers
  • Sheila Crowley
    on Feb 9, 2013

    Does she have pets? My dogs drool in their sleep and that's what my carpet looks like.

  • Doreen S
    on Feb 9, 2013

    Nope, no pets. But it's funny you said that. I jokingly told her it's her husband's drool.

  • Barbara Bamber
    on Feb 9, 2013

    I get that when I spill my coffee without realizing.. small drips from the cup..

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 9, 2013

    They look like basic spills to me, any kids in this house?...sometime a spill occurs and the owner cleans it with some soap of some kind. The soap residue then act like a magnet for dirt down the road. If you remember from your basic chemistry class soap consist of a long chain molecule with a hydrophillic end and hydrophobic end. Of end bind the "oily" type soiling and the other end binds to the "water". If any soap residues are present they "grab" the dirt. When I encounter spills from my kids the first step is to "blot" the spill with a towel. Folded over many layers thick then step on it. this removes 90 percent of more of the liquid. I then pour a cup or so of hot water on the spot and repeat with another dry towel. by repeating this or 4 time the spot is well rinsed and "cleaned". If you use a white towel you can clearly see the material on the towel as it is removed.

  • Carroll A
    on Feb 9, 2013

    I have the same looking spots. I think KMS is right on. but I think they have not been cleaned at all and when the dribble has been walked on wet it collects dirt. Mine come right up with a wet rag and a little scrubbing. Don't walk on them until it dries.

    • B. Enne
      on Jan 13, 2017

      This happened to me when I used shaving cream as a spot cleaner; it became a dirt magnet and little spots would appear everywhere. It could also be mould from underneath, or sweating from concrete.
  • Doreen S
    on Feb 9, 2013

    It's not coffee and they have two older children (20 and 24) who don't go in that room. The stains aren't condusive to a drink dripping. She said they're a few inches in diameter. She hasn't tried to clean any stains either.

  • Jeanette S
    on Feb 10, 2013

    The best way to find out if it is something coming up through the carpet is to move the bed and see if the stains are appearing there....and also under other pieces of furniture. If the stains are appearing in the traffic areas, they are being made by humans. Something affecting the carpet from other sources would also show up under protected surfaces. If she has had a professional carpet cleaner in that used something besides just steam, then she has "residue". Keep in mind that once carpet is cleaned, any protective shield put on by the manufacturer is gone! It then gets dirty and spotty very quickly!

  • Lindsay Leclair
    on Feb 10, 2013

    mold

  • Diana Dray
    on Feb 10, 2013

    I would pull up the carpet and see what's under there.

  • KELLY TAYLOR
    on Feb 10, 2013

    carpet glue from underneath?? Definitely looks like something is coming UP from the bottom.

  • Barbara Bamber
    on Feb 10, 2013

    Oh, dear.. I'm thinking mold as well.. if there isn't a drip from the ceiling.. there's not much else that could come up from underneath I don't think.

  • Pat
    on Feb 10, 2013

    Any chance someone walked in there after putting lotion, vaseline, ? on their feet? I would try rubbing it with a dry white cloth or rag and see what you get...

  • Lisa Wilson
    on Feb 11, 2013

    Does she have pets? One of our dogs has a tendency to get indigestion and spit up on the carpet. If it happens in the night and goes unnoticed it doesn't show up until it is a dry stain..

  • Annette Buskuehl
    on Feb 11, 2013

    I have had the same sort of problem. Sugary spills, such as soda, ice cream,jelly, etc....will always re occur if they are cleaned with any soap products. You should clean spots and spills imeadiatly with water and vinegar. The darker the stain, stronger vinager, rince with water. Never use soap of any kind on carpets.

  • Annette Buskuehl
    on Feb 11, 2013

    My best advise is......please don't take offence....remove all of the carpet and replace with tile or hard wood, or laminate. Layer with statment rugs that can easily be cleaned by several professional agencys

  • Doreen, few questions./ What is the carpet over. Cement slab? Wood floor with crawl or basement below? Pets? What is near by these stains? Bathroom? Kitchen, laundry? Could some salts or chemicals have been tracked on to the carpet? Did she recently clean the carpet with a powdered type of cleaner? Bleach comes to mind, however bleach tends to lighten up even more. What does the stain feel like? Oily, dry wet? There can be a whole host of things that can cause stains. What about perfume? Did she spill some or did some drip out of a bottle? Any odor from the stain? Need a whole lot more info before I would even venture any idea or guess on this.

  • Doreen S
    on Feb 11, 2013

    I just came from her house and I have to say, these stains are truly baffling! To answer your questions as best I can...the carpet is over plywood and the bedroom is on the second floor of the house, above the kitchen. There is a master bath attached to the bedroom. Her carpet was cleaned about 1 year ago, at which time just before the carpet cleaner came there was some evidence of the stains already. It was steam cleaned I believe. The stain is dry, and there doesn't seem to be an odor. There are just waaaayyy too many stains for it to be from something that was spilled such as coffee or perfume. The stains are pretty large. The smallest seems to be around 2" in diameter and the larger stains nearing 5" or so. Definitely not the kind or size of stain that would come from spilling something. They don't bring coffee or anything into the room, and although there are perfume bottles, she would definitely know if she were to spill that much. She checked under the furniture, and there are no stains there. She's going to see if anymore come up, in which case she will know it's coming from beneath the carpet. Thanks so much for your help! This is definitely a tough one!!

  • Hannah T
    on Feb 12, 2013

    Has she tried Folex? I love that stuff - just be sure you test the carpet for color fastness before applying. But folex will get almost everything out!!!

  • My last question, Is it a stain or does the carpet appear to be loosing its color? Sort of like bleached out? As apposed to a stain coloring it. It could be a defect in the carpet fibers that did not take the color well and the result is the color fading. If there is no odor, its not mold. and I doubt that it has anything to do with what is located below. My thought could be a reaction from something that may have been placed on the carpet that had a reaction to the fibers in the carpet.. Do you know what kind of carpet it is? Wool, Rayon, polyester? Chemical reactions can and often do have bleaching effects on materials. How old is the carpet?

  • KMS Woodworks
    on Feb 12, 2013

    Because they are Darker I'm still going with the stains from a spill. I have seen some spills where "cleaners" were spilled and it bleached the carpet out.

  • I tend to agree with Kevin on this. I think it was a spill that perhaps they were not aware of that reacted to the carpet and caused the bleaching action.

  • Marcia Reichert
    on Feb 17, 2013

    I'm thinking spill too. Maybe coffee with cream and sugar? Creamers can leave a slightly oily spot that can attract dirt over time. And, yes. Folex is great in a shampooer with hot water. Get it at THD

  • Annette Buskuehl
    on Feb 20, 2013

    Some sort of sugary spill from the previous owner, or something was cleaned witha soap product. Try white vinegar, work it into the area and the dop it up wih a clean cloth. repeat until the stain is gone, then follow up with baking soda to absorb residual residue. .

  • Maria S
    on Mar 20, 2015

    Having had kids I know that the sugary spills may look 'cleaned up' but even something like a clear 7-Up or Sprite (NOT the sugar free) will 'clean up' and then begin to reappear as dirt from walking on the carpet starts to stick to it. I had one of these drinks basically explode in a car wreck. My son's friend was holding it (with a lid) in the back seat but when we were rear ended while sitting at a dead stop at a red light he must has squeezed the cup. I had that suburban cleaned top to bottom several times and that stain NEVER stopped coming back . . . . and no one was even walking on it with dirty shoes!! I'm with Annette . . . hard surfaces are always a better alternative. People think hardwood floors are tough to take care of but I'll never have anything but that from now on. Annette also mentioned the vinegar route to clean the carpet and that has worked well for me on pet stains and odors but it didn't seem to do much for the sugary stuff. I would wonder if someone spilled something and just didn't tell you and did a very bad job of cleaning it up the first go round. That happened many times when my kids were young (now they are taking care of their own places or married with a spouse that is) and one time they actually missed an entire section of carpet in a former house where a drink spilled between my upholstered wingback chair and the table. The carpet was 'crispy' in one good size area (they were boys - ugh) and the side of my chair that they never even pulled away from the table to check, had a permanent stain on it once I found it. I tried everything on it and then had it professionally cleaned but the sugary substance was just too old. If you opt for going to hardwood at some point I will tell you that I purchased the 'very low grade' of Lumber Liquidators hardwood oak planks (the 99¢ stuff) to put in closets. For some reason the builder in our last home carpeted the closets?? And the rest of the house was hardwoods, even the baths. It was gorgeous and super easy to take care of too!!! Laying hardwoods into the closest was not difficult at all. Since we had refinished all the floors when we moved in I still had the name of the stain and finish so matching that was easy. And I called the flooring guy and picked his brain and because it was going down in closets he said using heavy duty construction adhesive to put it down would be fine - so . . . . NO NAILS! But a flooring nailer isn't super difficult to use. I've done that before. Anyway, it looked great and the qtr. round hides all the cuts, so you don't have to be SUPER exact. I used a palm sander to sand it and put several coats of topcoat on with a large foam roller and . . . VOILA' . . . . I had MUCH easier to care for closets too. Good luck!!

  • Carole J. Nutt-Snyder
    on Jul 14, 2015

    The same happen to me. It turned out to be a very small pipe leak under the house that follow the path of the floor joist's. That was why it was spotty, here and there. It was a pin hole leak which took forever to fine due to insulation and moisture bearer. I finally found out there was a leak by touching along the baseboard and finally found a spot that was wet. Since it moved around the spots would dry fast are wouldn't feel wet out in the middle of closet leaving a dark stain in places and light in others. After finding the problem & fixing it I cleaned the carpet with a steam cleaner with nothing but a little peroxide added to the water. There gone. Good luck.

  • Ken Jenkins
    on Nov 7, 2016

    This looks like some sort of an oil stain. From peanut butter or essential oils. A professional steam cleaning should remove it if it is some type of a spill. Carpets may have been bleach and did not touch if oil or wax stains. Good luck.

  • Emt9031931
    on Dec 1, 2016

    Looks like old urine stains hidden in the padding or plywood. A dog, cat, or child at some point in the room's history.
    • Eroque022810
      on Jan 9, 2017

      I agree. Did your friend just buy this house or just move into an apartment? I ask because sneaky people out there think that cleaning the carpet will fix problem but as you see it won't. I moved into my house 11 months ago and same thing happen and they had a cat and they were urine stains. Does your friend smell urine and think ts the bathroom? I could smell it and kept blaming my 4 men but turned out the be that. I had carpet replaced and before that had floor painted with kilz. I replaced it because I wasn't positive that it wouldn't come back through pad and I have a son alergic to cats.
  • Renata
    on Dec 16, 2016

    Thanks guys for reaffirming my mind- Years ago I had a guest spill his sugary creamed coffee on my carpet. I cleaned it. Couple days the [big] spot was back. I cleaned it again . All good. Couple days it was back. I thought I was going nuts. This big spot was reappearing time after time no matter how much I scrubbed and it looking clean it would come back. { At this time there was no HomeTalk }
    I finally got out the shampooer, bleach , mixed with water and then I had a striped carpet...lol... Carpet ended up getting replaced but I had never known something to keep coming back like that. I really thought he'd put some kind of oil on my carpet since I was not here when it happened. lol. That has always puzzled me until now.
  • Diana Deiley
    on Jan 9, 2017

    Not knowing the exact fabric of the carpet or the true color, I'd like to suggest a small amount of diluted hydrogen peroxide with warm water, (try in a small area first) and a clean cloth. Have you tried Dawn dish soap with warm water? Best of luck.
  • Shirley Mason
    on Jan 9, 2017

    Mildew from carpet being cleaned for spot; too wet and never dried. When you pull up the carpet there is probably mildew on the wood underneath; probably spots won't come out.
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