One of the most common problems in recent years has been the occurrence of color loss in carpet or upholstery resulting from a chemical named benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is contained in acne medications, other skin care products, dog mange medicine and adhesive activators. It is a powerful bleaching agent and can discolor most dyes used on carpet, upholstery or other textiles. The chemical discoloration appears as mysterious areas of bleached or lightened color, in places where no apparent spillage has occurred. The bleached areas are often of a yellow, pink, orange or off-white color.
Widespread use of acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide has increased the problem. Although the color loss can occur soon after the chemical touches the fibers, it often does not appear until some time later. The reaction is accelerated by high humidity, heat and moisture Itis particularly common for these spills to appear after rainy weather, or soon after a carpet or upholstery cleaning. Spillage of this medication may have been overlooked, only to have the forgotten spill reappear later! Inaddition to spillage of the medication, it is easy to unknowingly transfer the chemical onto the fibers from the hands or face. The medication does not readily wash off the skin, leaving enough behind to get onto carpet or upholstery where it causes color loss to appear without warning.
The bleached areas are permanently discolored, as the dye has been chemically damaged. These color changes that may become apparent after cleaning are sometimes blamed on the cleaner or cleaning process. However, the problem is due to the hidden benzoyl peroxide component of these acne medications when activated by heat and moisture.