Cleaning & Restoration Association News

Color Repair Part III

November 11, 2004
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Last month we discussed the principles of color interaction and how that knowledge is used by the color repair technician. Once you understand how color works, the next step is to understand how to identify and then prepare an area for color repair.

Spot dyeing is used when the color repair area is confined to a small area. Before proceeding with color repair work, determine whether the problem is a "stain" or a "discoloration."

Color that is added to the fabric resulting in a darker area than the original color, which cannot be removed with conventional cleaning procedures. Most stains can be removed with a variety of stain removal products readily available to the professional color repair technician.

Heat can be applied to the stained area with an iron or steam generator after the stain removal products have been applied to the stained area. Heat will serve to accelerate the chemical action to eliminate the stain. Keep in mind that the original color of the carpet will most likely become damaged during this process, which will then require color repair.

The following are examples of stains that most often need to have the color stripped from the carpet surface. Several chemical manufacturers provide a chemical specifically suited for the removal of these types of stains:

  • Red Kool-Aid
  • Magic Marker Pens
  • Furniture Stains

    Color that is subtracted from the fabric resulting in a lighter area than the original color. The following are examples of discolorations and any necessary preparatory work that must be accomplished before performing color repair:

    Pesticide discoloration. This type of discoloration will manifest itself around room perimeters and nest to walls. Clean the affected areas thoroughly and adjust the pH level to neutral if necessary before proceeding to color repair.

    Bleach discoloration. This type of discoloration is most commonly caused by household bleach. There are several categories of bleach discolorations:

  • "Mold and mildew" stain removers are used to clean showers usually contain bleach and can cause color loss on carpet as well.
  • Janitorial companies sometimes will use products containing bleach or add bleach to the mop water. Then, when a floor mop is placed on the janitorial cart, it can continuously drip on the carpeted surface as the janitor moves throughout the building.
  • Then there is the tried and true favorite of household bleach being spilled on the carpet surface. Most of the time, bleach that is spilled on the carpet surface is by accident, and even though the bleach is blotted up, the chemical reaction continues to damage the dye in the carpet. Most of the time, this discoloration will be lighter than the original color of the carpet.

    The correct procedures for dealing with all categories of bleach discolorations are as follows:
    1. Clean the affected area thoroughly and rinse with extractor.
    2. To neutralize, use an antichlor (sodium bisulfate) to fully saturate the bleached area. Apply heat with either a steam iron/towel or a hand held steamer to help the chemical fully penetrate the fiber structure. Extract excess antichlor form the carpet surface, but do not rinse the chemical from the carpet! Many times, bleach stains will return because the bleached area was not fully saturated and neutralized.

    Pet Urine Discoloration. To clean, apply an acid based cleaner and/or rinse, and thoroughly rinse and extract to neutralize. Use a pH adjuster if necessary to bring the pH level to neutral before performing any spot-dye procedure.

    Acne Medication Discoloration. Acne medications generally contain benzyl peroxide, and are commonly used by teenagers. Clean first and then use the neutralization procedure for bleach.

    Sun Fading. Clean the affected area with an acid rinse and extract as dry as possible before proceeding with spot dye procedure.

    Once the color repair technician has identified the problem and properly prepared the area for color repair, the next step is to apply the necessary combination of colors to restore the original color. There are many different ways to apply color and finish the restoration. Next month we will discuss the different techniques for applying color to the area being repaired and other tricks of the trade to make the job easier!

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