Housekeeping Channel - For the Home You Keep.  The Resource for Better, Faster, Healthier Housekeeping.
Forgot your password?

Follow us on Twitter


ArticleTechnical Article

Why the Browning After Carpet Cleaning?


Occasionally a brownish discoloration appears on a carpet or rug after it has been cleaned. One of the causes of this discoloration is a condition called cellulosic browning. In order for this discoloration to develop, several factors must be present — a cellulosic fiber, moisture and slow drying. A high pH or shampoo residue may also contribute to its occurrence.


article continues below ↓

Cellulosic fibers are present in all jute carpet or rug backings and are a major source of cellulosic browning. The drying time following carpet cleaning depends on humidity; during rainy periods and summer monthes, the air contains more moisture, making it more difficult for the moisture in the carpet to evaporate.

The age of the carpet is also important. Jute backings deteriorate in time and undergo chemical changes. These changes produce brown or red colorants (lignin) which can wick up to the face yarns and appear on the surface of the carpet after cleaning. As the carpet dries, the brown or red color remains on the tips of the tufts.

Cellulosic browning of a similar type occurs when newspapers are left outdoors or gradually age indoors. Cellulosic materials in the paper turn brown and become brittle.

If browning does develop after cleaning, the discoloration can often be removed by professional carpet cleaners as it is not always a permanent stain. In other cases, however, the discoloration cannot be completely removed. This arises more often with wool, sisal or cotton carpets or when the carpet is old enough for advanced cellulosic fiber degradation to occur.


© 1998-2005. Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration, Inc., Millersville, MD. All rights reserved.


Why the Browning After Carpet Cleaning?:  Created on September 5th, 2005.  Last Modified on January 21st, 2014


About ASCR

ASCR is the only international trade association in the cleaning and restoration industry. Their 1300 member firms specialize in cleaning, treating and repairing damaged buildings and their contents. Website: