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​Avoid Bad Carpet Protection Film

Published by Geary Morris on Jun 30th 2023

Tricks to Removing Adhesive Residue After Using

Not All Carpet Film Protectors Are Created Equal

Poor Quality Carpet Protective Films Have Shorter Usage Ratings and Are More Likely to Cause Adhesive Residue Transfer

The whole idea behind protective carpet film is to keep your carpet in excellent condition while painting, cleaning, renovating, and remodeling, so you don't have to bother taking it out. And when it's time to peel off the protective carpet film, you'd expect nothing less than a clean and undamaged carpet after a job well done. So when you find it's left a sticky residue behind, not only do you feel cheated — but you also have to clean up the mess.

Why Does Adhesive Residue Transfer Occur?

After all, manufacturers would be ahead of the problem. Unfortunately, not all brands of carpet protectors follow the highest industry standards, and minimal allowable usage times (30 days or less) often signify questionable adhesive quality. There are better ways to save money than budgeting on carpet protective films; the mess left behind by a poor quality product can result in wasted time, cleaning expenses, and even costly replacement.

To avoid adhesive residue transfer, following manufacturer directions regarding proper installation and usage time is essential. Carpet protective film products should explicitly state the maximum recommended usage duration, typically 30-60 days. Waiting until after this period to remove the protector will void the product's warranty and increase the risk of adhesive residue transfer exponentially.

Other important tips on how to avoid adhesive residue transfer include:

  • Make sure the carpet is fully dry before installing: If the carpet is wet or damp prior to installation, it can seal the moisture inside the carpet and cause it to react with the film's adhesive. This can cause staining, residue, and damage to the carpet.
  • Do not install protective film on newly-installed carpet: Newly-installed carpets may have glue or adhesive that is still curing and requires several days before it can be sealed.
  • Wait until the concrete slab is fully cured before using carpet protective film: carpets installed over a fresh concrete slab should be given enough time for the concrete to fully cure before being sealed with a protective film, which can trap moisture and cause damage to the carpet.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and high temperatures: Carpet protectors exposed to direct sunlight and high temperatures are more likely to transfer adhesive residue to your carpet. Cover windows and make sure the protectors aren't being exposed to extreme heat during your project. If heat or sunlight is unavoidable, reduce the recommended usage time by half.
  • Make sure the product is designed for your carpet material: some carpet types may be constructed with natural fibers such as wool or other materials that can increase the chance of adhesive residue transfer. Ensure the carpet film protector is compatible with your carpet material before application.

How to Remove Sticky Residue from Carpet Protectors that Leave a Mess

If you notice that your carpets are sticky after removing the protective carpet film, adhesive residue transfer has most likely occurred. It's important to note that protective film adhesive is water- or solvent-based and find out your case before attempting any cleaning techniques. Any leftover adhesive residue will initially be colorless and begin to darken as it traps dirt and dust over time. In some instances, moisture trapped under the film can react with the adhesive chemicals and cause immediate carpet discoloration. When this occurs, it may not be possible to remove the discoloration.

It's best to remove the adhesive as quickly as possible to prevent discoloration due to dirt and dust being trapped by the adhesive. Check your product description to learn if your adhesive is water-based or solvent-based, and apply the following cleaning techniques to your adhesive type:

Water-Based Adhesive

Steam cleaning is the most practical and effective solution for carpets affected by adhesive residue transfer. Most water-based adhesives can be removed with plain water, and 1 or 2 passes over the affected area with a steam cleaner at a water temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Water-based adhesives are relatively easy to remove and can even be removed with warm water and a clean cloth or towel. If you do it by hand, use a spray bottle full of warm water, a wet cloth, or a brush to dampen the residue before blotting or wiping it off with a clean cloth or towel.

Solvent-Based Adhesive

Solvent-based adhesives will require solvents to remove any residue left behind. Citrus-based dry-cleaning solvents are a popular and practical choice for removing solvent-based adhesives. They can be used by hand or added to a steam-cleaning mixture when removing sticky residues left behind by protective carpet film.

It's important to know that when it comes to solvent-based adhesives, the help of a professional carpet cleaner is generally recommended. That's because some solvent cleaners can cause damage to the carpet if not applied correctly. Improper use of solvents can also result in the adhesive being softened and spread out over a wider area instead of removed. Many cleaning companies feature services unique to protective carpet film residues and may offer warranties for incorrect application and carpet damage. If you choose to do it yourself, ensure that your solvent cleaner is designed for adhesive removal, which should be clearly stated on the product label or description. Follow the product instructions to dilute the cleaner for application by hand or in a steam-cleaning mixture. Even in the case of steam cleaning, a solvent-based adhesive may take several attempts before it is entirely removed from the carpet.

Prevention is the Best Solution

When you purchase a quality protective carpet film, you can avoid the hassle and worry of removing carpet film residue after the fact. Our products are manufactured with the highest-quality industry standards and designed to offer maximum allowable usage time, durability, and performance in various use settings. Follow the instructions when installing your carpet film protector, and let our products handle the rest. Our USA-certified adhesives are rigorously tested to retain their properties even under heavy foot traffic and high temperatures. And with our warranty protection, you'll have peace of mind knowing that we protect your carpet and your wallet.