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Bleach Spots



December 14, 2022






We usually refer to colour loss on carpets and rugs as bleach spots, whether they are caused by actual household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or any other bleaching agent.


The stains caused by sodium hypochlorite are easy to identify, as most are typically yellow: bleach removes the blue and red dyes, leaving the yellow behind.

For those who do colour repair, this basically means that any sodium hypochlorite bleach stain can be corrected by adding the missing purple (a mix of red and blue).


Other bleaching agents like benzoyl peroxide remove mainly the blue, leaving behind the dreaded pink stains (red and yellow make orange / pink).


For the last few years I've corrected many of these BPO pink spots, mainly for high end property developers who were unlucky enough to fit nylon 6.6 carpets before doing final touches on skirting boards, cupboards or doors repaired with two part wood fillers.

The hardener part in the two part wood fillers is benzoyl peroxide based, so any sanding effectively creates bleach dust.

Once the dust finds its way onto the carpet and the conditions are right (humidity + heat) it bleaches the fibres.

In my tests for a major carpet manufacturer, nylon 6.6 was the most susceptible to colour loss caused by BPO.

To make things even more complicated, unlike hydrogen peroxide, benzoyl peroxide is not self neutralising so any BPO dust left for example on skirtboards or windowsills could potentially cause carpet colour loss days or even weeks after the wood sanding was done.


But if we look at the “acid bleach spot” picture, the spot is neither yellow nor pink, it's green!


As a carpet cleaner one might have noticed the greenish stains caused by using too much rust remover while trying to remove a rust stain or, as in the case of one of our customers, some of the hard floor cleaning solutions – they are both highly acidic.


Strong acids can remove the red colour (hence the green stain, as the remaining blue and yellow make green).

The stain pictured is one of the many we've corrected for a well known high end hotel chain and following rigorous testing we've managed to trace it down to their highly acidic descaler.

They've since introduced new measures and trained their staff accordingly, to prevent further carpet bleaching.


If you'd like to learn more about bleach spots and how to correct them, join us for the Carpet Dyeing and Colour Repair course on the 28th of February 2023 at Ecoclean Rugs in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.



Gabriel Andreca

Brio Carpet Care




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