Archive for December, 2012

Why Should I use a Vacuum

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

By Paul Pearce

Dirt is a four letter word to our customers and a blessing to us. Your customer will often develop some creative words for describing the dirt in their carpet such filth, grime, crud, or just ‘yuk’.

Question – What should you call the dirt in your customer’s home? The response of some ‘professionals’ when they see the carpet might be “Woah this carpet is dirty!” Perhaps a more professional approach would be “Mrs. Brown, your family obviously enjoys this room. Based upon the heavy SOILING in your traffic areas, I would recommend our Deluxe Clean Method.” Always refer to your customer’s dirt, filth, grime, and crud as SOIL. Be gentle.

Soil wears out a carpet prematurely. Next to a car or a home, the investment in the carpet and upholstery is the highest that a consumer will make. Excess soil will destroy that investment.

While today’s better nylons will resist heavy wear they are still exposed to soil that, if not removed on a periodic basis, will cause them to take on a worn appearance. Most soil, whether it is tracked in, atmosphere pollution or food spills, is acid based. The oxidised oils and the resins they form will begin to yellow and eventually weaken the carpet fibre. Abrasive Soil, the sand and grit that is tracked in on a daily basis, will cause the fibres to be scratched and abraded. This wear on the fibres will reflect light differently and therefore give the carpet a worn look. Another problem caused by soil is aesthetic. Soiled carpet looks bad. People are embarrassed if their friends or customers see it. Soiled carpets are also unsanitary, a perfect breeding ground for any number of bacteria and pathogens.

Your customer needs to know the problems associated with letting the carpet become overly soiled. It is no longer a good idea to let the carpet go as long as possible between cleanings, because the carpet acts as a filter for all types of soil and indoor pollutants such as animal dander, dust, pollen, and even some gases. This is a benefit as long as the filter is cleaned regularly.

Soil comes from two places:
1. Tracked into the home – Shoes and animals will bring in a high degree of soil from cars that drip grease and oil, factories that emit pollution, soil from gardens, asphalt, which will turn carpet yellow, and many other sources. Thus, the reasoning behind the fact that most dry soil in the home is found at the main entries. This can be reduced by the use of a doormat, the removal of shoes, etc.

2. Inside the home – The inside soil comes from many sources: human and animal hair, clothes, lint and fibres, skin (yes, we do shed), body oils from humans and animals and even cooking oils – it would surprise you to know how much oil is actually deposited in the air when you fry your sausage, egg and bacon on the cooker. The better the cook, the quicker the soil builds up in the home. As for the food spots, people can be very creative with food spills.

Soil is anything that is foreign to the carpet. For simplification we will divide soil into three types:
• Water Soluble – These soils usually consist of sugars, starches, salt, and residues of water soluble foods and fluids.
• Solvent Soluble – Asphalt, tar, grease, cooking oils, many cosmetics, ink, etc.
• Insoluble – This division of soil, which is normally the largest concentration of soil in the carpet, consist of items such as clay, sand, carbon, quartz, limestone, vegetable fibre, and animal hair. This type dissolves in neither water nor solvent.

The type of soil in the carpet will play just as important a part as the amount of soil, when considering the cleaning process. Different types or combinations of chemicals are necessary to clean grease laden carpet as opposed to heavy dry soil content.

Procter and Gamble conducted a study on the content of carpet soil. The interesting part of this study concluded that seventy nine percent of the carpet soil consisted of non-soluble soil such as minerals (dirt), animal hair and vegetable fibres. It also concluded that only sixteen percent of the soil was soluble in either water or solvent solutions.
This would seem to indicate that if our customers were more consistent with their vacuuming, they would have to see us, the professional cleaner, less often.

Imagine the dust that will collect on a coffee table in just a few days. Add to this the dry soil that is tracked in on the soles of shoes and by the family dog. Now, rather than vacuuming this soil, fry up a few good meals letting the cooking oils drift through the house, and give the kids some peanut butter and jam to spread where they may.

If customers would remove the particulate soil before it is bound to the carpet by the other soils, we would have less cleaning to do. But gratefully, most people do not vacuum as often as they should and the greasy and sticky soils combine to hold the other soil to the carpet fibre.

You, as the professional, should also keep in mind that the best time to remove soil is when it is dry! This is why we vacuum first.

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

CHCC Brochure

Pile Distortion in Walk Areas

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Irreparable carpet distortion

Severe distortion

by Paul Pearce

I receive many calls from baffled consumers and carpet cleaners with regards to dark areas in the carpet which are resolutely present during, and even after, cleaning. Consumers say “I have just had my carpet cleaned and it’s still dirty”. The carpet cleaner calls me to say “I have been working on this area now for thirty minutes and it’s still not coming clean”.

You may assume that these dark areas are due to stubborn soiling, but very often they’re not. You see, when we remove the soil from the surface of a carpet we are often confronted with further issues such as distortion to the pile or fibres. This is often the case when a client is dissatisfied with a clean. They think there is remaining soil in the carpet, when the real reason it looks dark is the distorted pile. Of course it really doesn’t help when the ill-informed carpet retailer or clients friend says “well, they didn’t do a good job of removing the soil, it still looks dirty, especially in front of the settee”. We need to better educate our clients if we want to avoid this scenario. Explain to them that carpets can deteriorate rapidly in some areas and certainly never guarantee to get a carpet ‘looking like new’.

Walkway areas in particular can change substantially in appearance, due to distortion, in a relatively short time and this may not be noticed by the client until after you have cleaned the carpet. It is inevitable that all ‘traffic’ areas will show signs of wear and tear over time, but some people think that the degraded appearance is simply down to soiling.

This kind of distortion is progressive, and can start immediately after the carpet is laid. It can be the result of several things:
Shading – a change in light reflection as fibres comprising the pile of carpet are bent or reoriented over time.
Abrading – which results from the abrasive action of particle soils rubbing against the fibres, causing them to dull and reflect, deflect or absorb light differently from less trafficked areas.
Fading – the gradual colour loss resulting from exposure of carpet dyes to light (especially sunlight) over time, and to a lesser extent, to acid soils, or to atmospheric gases or fumes.
Wear – a loss of fibre density resulting from normal traffic, maintenance and general use. Obviously, poor pile density and minimum yarn twist also results in distortion in traffic areas.
Pile reversal – which can appear generally throughout the carpet but mainly wherever traffic is experienced, usually immediately after installation or within a few months and looks like a water stain.

No one really knows what causes pile reversal or how to prevent it. It even extends across seams from one section of carpet to another; I have also seen it on carpet tiles.

There are reported to be one or two people out there using a steaming method to reverse the distorted pile, but even that is only temporary. It is not a manufacturing fault, although there have been instances where a carpet has been replaced by the manufacturer. However, I suspect this was more a gesture of goodwill than ownership of the problem.

Because it occurs in carpet and rugs of all fibre types (wool, nylon, polyester, acrylic, polypropylene, coir, silk, etc.), all construction types (woven, tufted, fusion bonded, modular, etc.), in all methods of installation, under virtually every imaginable combination of circumstances, the conclusion that pile reversal is not related to any of these factors is well supported.

The visibility of various types of shading, including pile reversal, is minimized if the carpet is:
• a loop pile: it occurs almost invariably in cut-pile styles, loop-pile styles are a virtual guarantee against this problem.
• displaying a busy pattern: the more busily and boldly patterned a carpet is, the better it will disguise shading and pile reversal.
• a pale colour: lighter carpets sometimes tend to show less contrast between darker and lighter shaded areas, whereas darker colours often tend to exaggerate these differences.
• constructed of fibres with less lustre: fibres with less ‘sheen’ create less contrast between dark and light areas.

The above is an attempt to explain some of the issues surrounding pile changes in carpet.

Just bear in mind that pile distortion will not be the explanation for every single dark patch of carpet. It might actually be that it does need a bit more cleaning.