Dear Heloise

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I just moved into my house, and the landlord had cleaned the white carpets. They looked fine until we started walking on them, and then the residue that was on them, reappeared. The spots are everywhere and they look like oil or grease. I have tried 2 different products on the carpet and it only makes the spots worse.

    Any helpful hints from my cd heloise friends would be awesome :)
  2. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    The pad underneath the carpet is full of the stains. The carpet can be cleaned, but once you start walking on it again, the stains come up through the pad and onto the carpetagain. My husband installs carpet for a living. The only way to get of it is to replace the carpet and pad, the stains are also on the back of the carpet. Tell the landlady right away so you are not held responsible, you don't want her telling you how clean they were when you moved in.
  3. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    I have to agree with upallnight. Make sure you put it in writing. Why the heck would a landlord put white (or any kind of light colored) carpeting in a rental property is beyond me and is really dumb.
  4. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Ok....I will tell her ASAP.
    I know.....who puts white in? Right? Ugh.
    I was just hoping there was something I could do since I am sure she won't replace it. I HATE spots, just a little Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) thing of mine :)
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    You have the right to know what is causing the spots.
    At least here, landlord has to ensure that it passes WHMIS... so, you have the right to know that it isn't engine oil, for example, or anything else non-healthy.
    There's been cases of a place being passed of as "smoke free"... and the carpet was full of tar from cigarette smoke. They had it "well cleaned" - and no smell left - did a good job covering everything with paint and so on... BUT... landlord had to replace the carpets because it was advertised as "smoke free"... and what was in the carpets was not "smoke free".

    It doesn't matter what color the carpets are... the spots are a problem.
    Even if they are hardly visible, spots attract dirt.

  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you must have some stricter consumer laws in Canada than we do in the US because I dont think we could actually force a landlord to tell us what was under our carpets. We may be able to have someone come in ourselves and test the place and if it is mold or something, we could ask them to fix it and if they wont, we could move without penalty.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Loth -
    Even here they don't have to tell us what it IS... but they do have to certify what it ISN'T. So, it can't be dangerous goods, or any carcinogenic compound, or things like mould. Beyond that...

    Steely -
    Just how much carpet do you have in there, anyway? And how many spots are showing up? big blotches or little spots... a dalmation or a case of measles?
  8. MuM_of_OCD_kiddo

    MuM_of_OCD_kiddo New Member

    Be sure to contact the landlord in writing as well as on the phone asap - else you may beheld "accountable" for the so called damage.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Take pictures, too, if you can.

    You may never be able to get rid of them, unless they agree to replace the carpet. However... Baking soda, vacuum, spritz with vinegar, let dry (make SURE you vacuum, because as we all know from chemistry, vinegar and baking soda react!!!)... Vacuum again.

    Your house will smell like a pickle for a day or two, but it will help. Only help, not get rid of.

    And I agree. WHITE?! I think white carpet should be outlawed.
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    InSane we are talking dalmation spots - all over the living room - and they just keep growing. I read online that if you think it is oil to put rubbing alcohol on the spot, and blot dry. OMG it made the spot 5 times bigger!!! Yikes. And can we say UGLY???

    I may have someone come out and test it, just because when we moved in, there was a lot of problems with the ventilation system that the landlord had to repair. The vents had come lose under the house and the whole house had black dirt designs on the walls from the vents blowing dirt. So it is possible the carpet could be related.

    For now I just have rugs covering the spots. Otherwise it is such a beautiful modern house - I hate for there to be this one room with "spots". Oh well, there are bigger things to worry about for sure.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Now, now, Steely.
    This is almost elementary.
    Its really about "first things first".

    The number one rule for any spot is that you NEVER touch it with ANYTHING until you now what it is.
    Because you use X to clean up M, and Y to clean up P, but if you use X on P... you get a worse mess.

    (I'd have rather seen a case of measles-spots... in which case, it would likely have been a case of "too much shampoo and not enough rince" - but in that case, what you have done would not cause the spots to spread)

    What fuel in heating system?
  12. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    LOL Insane - I know - I just became obsessed one evening and you, know the rest, is history - X exploded on P and not only was the spot bigger but it also added a new color to the spot!!! Sigh...... :(
    (I will not tell my landlord that I made one worse - it was just one of the many that I tried that on.)

    The heat and cooling system is electric.

    It really looks like motor oil - or gas - but no smell. Oh well. I think upallnight is correct that I just need new carpet - this after it just took me 2 weeks to set up the 12' bookshelf that goes over the carpet. Perhaps I will just bleach it. HAHA.

    Yes, white carpet should be outlawed, and yet I had it in the house I had in Dallas (but I tore it out once I bought it because there were hardwoods underneath), and the one in AZ, and the one here - BLECK.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I was thinking creosote... and it might not be a recent thing.
    If there was wood or oil heat in the history of the house, AND problems with it... its possible that there is creosote in the sub-floor. In which case... even changing the carpet would not solve the problem! It will just eventually through again. IF it is something like this, the landlord would have to replace the sub-floor, or at least put another layer of subfloor over top.

    Is there anywhere that you could peek below the carpet? With a forced-air-furnace, you can lift out a vent from the floor, and then check between the carpet and underlay or underlay and sub-floor. If the sub-floor is all stained... then the problem is in that layer.

    I even saw one rental house where the problem was years of accumulated cig. smoke... soaked right through the carpets into the sub-floor. Walls were handled with wallpaper - before and after - so they could get rid of most of that - but the carpet... required a change of sub-floor.

    Its also possible that the landlord got scammed by some company who offered to waterproof the floor beneath the carpet (before one of the carpet changes in the past)... and used a tar-based sealant.

    And no, this isn't because the carpet is white. You'd see the problem eventually, no matter what color the carpet. It just shows up faster this way!

    And no, the solution isn't to lay hardwood or laminate over that subfloor in place of carpet... might not come through quite as fast, but its STILL a problem.

    "If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?"
  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wowza - you are smart. I looked between the vents and flooring and cannot see anything, but there are only 2 vents in the living room, and neither of them are near the main "spot" area. There is a wood burning fireplace that was used here for years for a heating source - could that be it? The "spot" area surrounds the fireplace. But Creosote is a manually applied chemical, correct?
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Bingo! We have a winner!
    Way to go, Steely.

    Creosote is a naturally-occuring result of wood-combustion.
    Its the stuff that gunks up the chimney of wood-burning appliances...
    and the stuff that stains the floor...

    And it is a health hazard.

    If the floor had been done in hardwood instead of carpet, it would mostly seal the stuff off, but it would eventually still stain the wood (takes years and years, though, usually).
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    YAY!!! You guys are SO awesome!!! I am calling the landlord now.
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    There is a bit of irony here... if the carpet is dirty with "normal dirt", cleaning the carpet takes the dirt out.
    But... when the "dirt" is under the carpet... cleaning the carpet pulls more of the dirt to the surface...!

    If the landlord was to change the carpet but not fix the floor, you'd be fine for quite a while... until it becomes necessary to clean the carpet!
  18. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

  19. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Just curious... any word back from the landlord?
  20. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Landlord just said not to worry. I am not responsible for them, so "no worries".....
    Well dandy, except they are UGLY.
    My mom was up this weekend and swore to me over and over they are NOT creosote stains....she said she has seen those many times, and these are not it.
    OK I give then....I will just live with old ugly stains:(. UGH.