There are procedures for employees or operators working to remove the toughest interior stains. Michael A. Pennington, global director of training and consumer relations with Meguiar’s Inc. provides the following steps as an example of common best practices in the industry.

Dry brush and vacuum first.

Frequently, dry brushing and vacuuming will remove 70 percent of the stains because they are generally on the surface. When an employee dry brushes while vacuuming, it fluffs the fibers and removes the majority of the dirt.

Identify the stain.

Commonly, stain removal fails because workers treat all stains the same. It is far too easy to fall into the routine of grabbing one product and following one process.

In many instances, the customer will explain what caused the tough stain. If not, an employee or service writer should ask what the stain is when he or she gets the vehicle. Employees can ask, “Hey, I noticed you referenced stains in your floor mats. Do you have an idea what the stain is?”

Determine the best treatment.

“It’s really a tannin stain versus a protein stain, and that’s what you want to identify,” Pennington states.

Tannin stains frequently can be identified by the darkness. The result of coffee or tea spills, tannin is a naturally occurring vegetable dye or color in these drinks and some foods.

Protein stains are typically dairy products, and they are caused mostly by food, organic matter or possibly milk. Typically these need to be addressed differently to solve the common resoiling issue. Finally, interior oil or grease stains are another possibility.

Based on the identification, workers can choose the appropriate product and address that stain independently. Oil and grease stains respond well to all-purpose cleaners while the tannin and protein products should be called on for the other stains.

Remember to tamp the stain.

Let’s say a car has a tannin stain or a protein stain. First an employee should lay a clean towel on the stain. Next, he or she should take a brush and actually tamp it up and down on the towel, lightly beating it almost like using a hammer, Pennington says.

The goal is to minimize spreading while pulling the stain’s cause up to the surface. Using the tamping method, workers can pull the material into the towel and prevent further spreading.

“Unfortunately, what a lot of people do is they’ll take that spray and they start brushing back and forth,” Pennington says. “All that does is spread the stain.”

Use your all-purpose cleaner on other surfaces.

Once the stain has been removed, the next step is general cleaning with the all-purpose cleaner. This product offers the best removal of regular dirt.

Adjust the pH to avoid resoiling.

The final step, according to Pennington, is coming back over the entire carpet and other interior fabrics with a neutralizer. This product is designed to set the pH back to “basically zero.” This treatment should be lightly back brushed into the surface.

This series of steps will provide not only excellent stain removal and results, it will show a dedication to customer service. “We can raise the level or raise the expectations,” Pennington continues. “Be a little more professional by understanding and asking these questions and really delivering customer service.”

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