The Importance of Carpet Fiber Identification

In the cleaning industry, a multitude of chemicals are used on a daily basis for various surfaces. Knowing what chemicals to use on which surfaces can often affect the outcome of any given cleaning job or project, not just visually, but from a health and safety perspective as well. The difference between washing, disinfecting, and sanitizing, for example, must be properly differentiated in many environments such as a healthcare facility, and knowing which chemical products perform which of these tasks is crucial. The very same goes for carpet cleaning. Carpets in a commercial building versus a residence can vary greatly, as they are often made from different fibers.

When deep cleaning carpets using the hot water extraction method, there are many variables that come into play in order to perform the job correctly, most important of which is fiber identification. Every other variable for cleaning a carpet stems from identifying what the carpet is made of. The most effective way to identify the fiber type of a carpet is burn testing. By removing a single carpet fiber and holding it close to a flame, you can determine fiber type based on the way the fiber burns, and how the fiber smells when burning. For example, if a carpet is synthetic (made from nylon or olefin for example), it will form a hard, plastic bead once the flame is extinguished and smell like plastic. A protein or animal produced fiber (wool), will not stay lit once the flame is removed and often produces a burnt hair – like smell.

Depending on the fiber type, there is an expanse of chemicals that can span across everything from a typical olefin or nylon commercial carpet, to an animal product fiber or fine oriental rug. Not only does the industry have fiber specific chemicals, but also goal specific chemicals depending on fiber. For example, some pre-sprays and shampoos can be used on high traffic areas to reduce discoloration and yellowing, or heavier degreasers to remove soils tracked into a building from a production floor or the outdoors. So, next time you are considering a deep carpet cleaning, call our expert team at C.M. Cleaning. You can trust that our technicians will be knowledgeable and informed, using the right products to yield a result that is often visually impactful, and always guaranteed to be truly clean.