On the surface, carpet cleaning seems pretty simple. Rent a machine. Fill the tank. Pour in some detergent. Flip a switch and start cleaning. Before long, your carpet is clean and fresh. However, as anyone who has actually cleaned carpet knows, there’s more to it than that. Here are some interesting facts about carpet that affect cleaning results.
Some of the most common questions asked about carpet cleaning are, “Will the spots come back?”, “Will the dents from the furniture come out?”, “Will the traffic areas look better after it’s done?”, and “Will these stains come out?”
The answers depend on several factors that we consider when we clean your carpet. Carpet can be made with a variety of fibers, each having its own cleaning characteristics. Every fiber responds to traffic differently. Spills that are easy to remove from one fiber may permanently stain another.
Various styles such as loop pile, friezé, shag, Saxony and velvet plush all respond to traffic in different ways. The quality and density of the cushion is another factor that determines how well a carpet performs in traffic areas.
Even the way the pile yarns are twisted and how tightly packed they are in the carpet backing makes a difference in durability and cleanability.
An experienced cleaner will assess the condition of your carpet, asking questions such as, “How old is the carpet?”, “How was it cleaned in the past, and how often?”, “Was protector applied after the last cleaning?”, “How old are the spots, spills and stains, and have you tried anything to clean them?”
With all these variables, it’s not an exact science. BUT there are some things we know about carpet, fibers, soil and stains that give us a clue as to what we can anticipate from the cleaning process. The most important consideration is the type of fiber.
Wool carpet has excellent resilience, so those crushed traffic areas and furniture indentations have a good chance of coming out. Wool is more easily stained by proteins than other fibers, so some foods, pet urine and other protein sources like blood will be difficult to remove.
Olefin carpets don’t have the resiliency of wool, so high traffic areas tend to pack down and lose that fluffy texture over time. Olefin has excellent stain-resistance and color-fastness.
Stain-resist nylon has excellent resilience and good stain and soil repellency, so carpets made with nylon tend to be the best overall performers. However, depending on how the fiber was dyed, Nylon may be bleached by some household chemicals or sunlight.
Polyester fibers have an affinity for oily soils, so food or petroleum grease spots will be more difficult to remove. But Polyester, like Olefin, is very resistant to stains and bleaching.
The bottom line is that how the carpet looks after cleaning will depend on some factors that are out of our control. But with an experienced cleaner you can be assured of the best results possible for your carpet.