Carpet Fiber Identification
The following describes how to identify the most commonly cleaned fibers through chemical testing. Identification is important when cleaning, spotting, or dyeing carpet.
Cleaning Berber Carpet
Berber is a style, not a fiber type. Berber can be nylon, wool, or olefin, so the fiber type needs to be taken into consideration when cleaning. If it is a wool Berber, be sure to use a wool-safe product. Because Berber-style carpet has a very tight pattern, streaks can occur when cleaning. These streaks may be caused by wicking or from the wand “bouncing” across the carpet while cleaning.
Jute Rug Cleaning
Jute comes from an Asian plant that produces a strong, coarse fiber commonly used in making sacks and ropes. When water or moisture touches jute, it browns very badly and will lose its tenacity (strength). Jute is very fragile when wet. It will get back some of its strength when dried, but not all of it.
Sisal is a natural product. It is comprised of woven grass, hemp, or reeds (even bamboo). It looks very similar to a welcome mat that might be at your front door. Unfortunately, sisal is very difficult to clean. It can shrink, discolor, attract insects, and give off odors when wet. Because sisal discolors and shrinks easily, the less moisture used to clean it, the better. A dry powder method is the preferable method of cleaning. If a customer insists upon a wet cleaning method, use a bonnet cleaning method with very little moisture. Be sure to notify the customer that bonnet cleaning may still cause shrinking and discoloration.
Fluorescent Dye Carpet Cleaning
There are special fluorescent dyes used to produce the fluorescent effect in some carpets. This fluorescent effect has properties different from ordinary carpet dyes and some precautions must be followed in cleaning it. Typically, no warranty is extended to cover the colorfastness of this kind of colored carpet. Fluorescent dyes are less resistant to sunlight than ordinary carpet dyes, so they should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Fluorescent dyes are adversely affected by alkaline cleaning agents. Cleaning chemistry with pH levels above 8.0 will quickly degrade the fluorescent properties of the dyestuffs (it won’t glow any longer under UV light, but will look like it still holds its color). Optical brighteners should also not be used as they, too, glow under a black light. Water temperature in cleaning should be 120°F or less at the face of the carpet.
Carpet Protector Overspray Cleanup
When applying protector to carpet and/or furniture, a cleaner must be sure to wipe up any overspray that lands on wood furniture or walls. It is much easier and much more effective to clean up the overspray while it is still fresh and wet.
If not removed right away, there is a chance that the protector may be there permanently and stripping and refinishing of wood furniture (very expensive) or repainting of walls (can be very expensive due to not being able to match up paint so a whole room will have to be painted) will have to be done. BE SURE TO TEST ANY SURFACE THAT THESE PROCEDURES ARE USED ON BEFORE PROCEEDING!
Warning: Always test materials for colorfastness, follow label directions, and never mix products unless specified in the label directions. Each situation reacts differently and results may vary.