We don’t get this question often but we wanted to address it and hope it helps.

White Powder Residue after Extraction Cleaning

Sometimes, after hot water extraction cleaning a carpet
(especially a direct glue-down) we get a phone call from a
client the next day inquiring about a white powder on the
surface of the carpet.

The most common cause of white powder residue is the use of
powered sprinkle-on carpet deodorizers, such as Love My Carpet, Arm and Hammer, Carpet Fresh and Capture. Also,
previous shampooing and other cleaning methods, if not
done properly can contribute to this.

The first 3 are quite commonly used to get rid of spills, urine, bad odors, etc. and are often times way to over-used.

These powders and previous cleaning methods accumulate in the base of the carpet, sometimes to the point where they are visible and to the point where the carpet even becomes stiff.

After warm water extraction (steam cleaning) as the carpet dries, the remaining powder wicks to the surface where the white powder is now visible.

This white powder is usually easily removed by pile lifting or by thorough vacuuming.

If you know or suspect in advance that these powders have been used, we strongly suggest using a pile lifter on the carpet to pull all of this junk out.

It would also be wise to forewarn the customer that the white powder might still appear in the morning and it would be wise for you to check on it.

Other possible causes for this problem are; concrete (efflorescene), construction dust, detergent residue, ice melt (especially calcium carbonate), and breakdown of the carpet backing latex.