Carpet Series – Synthetic Fibers, Advantages & Disadvantages

100_2356It appears that Spring may finally be here? I question this only because I remember back in the late 1980’s I was playing in a baseball tourney on Memorial Day weekend and it snowed. Well, after all, I do live in Northeast WI and one never knows what the weather will be like in April and May.

Let’s continue looking at the the different carpet fibers available to you the consumer. Again, like part 1, I will include some advantages and disadvantages of these fibers. It’s up to you choose which one fits best for your home or business. Either way, Green Bay Floor Restore being a certified IICRC company, we can clean any of them. Green Bay Floor Restore gets carpets cleaner and drier than our competition in the hot water extraction category of cleaning and we guarantee it! Hot water extraction method of cleaning is recommended by all major carpet manufacturers as well as the Carpet & Rug Institute of America.

What are Synthetics? Synthetics are derived from chemical synthesis; which is the combining of two or more chemicals to produce a third compound significantly different from the components. The vast majority of the fibers used in todays carpeting is synthetic. There are 4 major categories of synthetics, Acrylic, Polyester and Olefin. Nylon is the fourth but that will be discussed next article along with the 5 generations of Nylon.

Acrylic was introduced to the carpet industry in 1957 as a synthetic imitation to wool. Acrylic carpet has the appearance of wool with a far lower price tag. Because of several performance problems acrylic disappeared from the carpet market in 1988. In 1990 it was re-introduced in Berber styles for it’s wool like appearance and it being used as a blend with nylon. Acrylics advantages are that it is resistant to water based stains and has low absorbency. Disadvantages are that traffic areas maintain a dirty appearance after thorough cleaning. Poor resilience means that crush marks from heavy furniture may be permanent. Acrylic area rugs may be susceptible to color bleeding.

Polyester was introduced for carpeting in the 1960’s. Unlike nylon, polyester is dyed with disperse dyes, which makes it both colorfast and resistant to the acid dyes that are commonly used in soft drinks, cake icing and cough medicines. Did you know, plastic beverage bottles are being recycled to create polyester fiber for carpet?
Advantages of polyester are that it has a soft luxurious feel. Polyester resists bleaching from chemicals and sunlight and it resists dye stains including discolorations from urine. Disadvantages are that polyester is less resilient than the most popular synthetic fiber, nylon. Polyester is less durable for high traffic areas. Polyester is “oil loving” oily soils and spills are difficult to remove from polyester.
Polyester is becoming popular once again, and manufactures are claiming that some of the above disadvantages have been overcome.

Olefin is a synthetic fiber used in both carpet face yarns as well as for synthetic primary and secondary backings. Olefin is often solution dyed and therefor very colorfast; however, some commercial grade olefin carpet is being dyed with disperse dyes. Because of olefins low cost and availability, the majority of commercial carpet installed is olefin. Low cost area rugs, including “imitation oriental rugs” are made from olefin.
Advantages of olefin is that it is not stained by dyes and is not damaged by bleaches or other strong chemicals. Olefin is the lest absorbent fiber. Olefins very low absorbency may make drying it easier it also leads to many wicking problems. Olefin is economical.
Disadvantages of olefin are that it is heat sensitive. It can be easily damaged by friction, such as from dragging heavy items over it. Oily soils may be very difficult to be remove. If allowed to remain in a heavily soiled condition, oily soils oxidize and often cause yellowish brown discoloration that may be impossible to completely remove.
Olefin has poor resilience and traffic lanes become permanently distorted in a relative short period of time. Areas of or carpeting that are crushed from heavy furniture will not be restorable during cleaning. Because olefin’s low absorbency soils and spills accumulate at the base of the tufts and often will cause soil or spots to “re-appear” after cleaning or spotting is undertaken.

Well that’s all for this week. I hope this helps you decide what carpet fiber is best for you and your application. Stop in next week as I will discuss the fourth category of synthetic carpets, nylon and the 5 generations of nylon. Have a great week everyone!

Jamie Strohmeyer
Owner/ Operator – Green Bay Floor Restore


Carpet Series – Natural Fibers, Advantages & Disadvantages.

100_2356My knowledge of today’s carpet construction will better serve the consumer when you call me for carpet cleaning service. Please keep in mind, not all carpets are the same and not all carpet cleaning service providers are either. Let’s take a look at a few of the carpet fibers available, their use and their advantages and disadvantages.

Fibers are the basic building blocks of the face yarns of carpeting that I clean. These fibers are grouped into two categories, 1) Natural and 2) Synthetic.

This will be the first of four pieces in a series that will assist you in not only understanding ]more on what materials your carpets are made of, but also why it is so important to not assume “all carpet cleaner’s are the same”. When it comes to getting good results and protecting the longevity of your investment, call me or another IICRC certified cleaner.

Natural fibers are derived from plants and animals. Natural fibers are also known as cellulose fibers. Cellulose fibers are rarely used in carpet face yarn any longer, but may be encountered in the backings of woven carpets. Area rugs may have cellulose fibers such as cotton, sisal and regenerated cellulose (rayon/ acetate) in their face yarns.

Think about the times you had your area rugs cleaned. Did the service provider take the time to look into the fibers that consume the carpet? Did they take the time to read the label for recommended method of cleaning? Did they just clean it and bill you?

Cotton decades ago was used in pile yarns in wall to wall installations, but because of performance problems this use was discontinued. Today, cotton can be found in some specialty area rugs.When cleaning cotton the disadvantages are slow drying, cotton is very absorbent and slow drying can contribute to mold growth, dye bleeding and cellulose browning. Over wetting cotton may lead to shrinkage. When over wet and especially left with alkaline chemical residues cotton fibers will “brown out”. Advantages of cotton are that the fibers feel soft and has excellent color dye acceptance which again is ideal for area rugs.

Wool comes from a fleece of a lamb or sheep. Wool has excellent soil hiding capabilities and are considered the first rugs ever made. The advantages of using wool carpet and area rugs are that wool resists crushing and are abrasion resistant. The luxurious colors of wool area rugs stand out in contrast to synthetic imitations. Wool is also naturally flame resistant. This feature would make it popular in commercial setting.
Disadvantages of using wool are that wool is expensive. Chemical damage can occur easily when cleaning and spotting if the pH levels of the cleaners being used are not of proper levels. Wool ‘s ability to accept dye means it is easily stained by spills containing dyes, such as beverages.

Rayon fibers are considered to be synthetic by the Federal Trade Commission because they are made from a synthesis of two or more materials. Rayon is made from cellulose materials and have many of the cleaning related problems of cellulose fibers. For this reason, as a professional cleaning technician I must treat these fibers as natural fibers. Many area rugs are labeled as “Art Silk” or “A Silk” are made from Rayon. Advantages of Rayon are that the look and feel of rayon creates the appearance of silk for far less money, considering the popularity of area rugs.
There are several disadvantages of Rayon fibers. One being that they are subject to yellowing or browning from alkalinity or overwetting when cleaning. Rayon rugs may also discolor from sun exposure. When Rayon is discolored by sunlight the condition is not only irreversible but it weakens the fibers considerably. Overwetting from cleaning may create shrinkage problems. Very few stains are removable from this non-durable, often non color fast fiber.

Well that’s enough about natural carpet fibers. Please have a look in again next week for part 2, Synthetic Fibers – Acrylic, Polyester and Olefin.

Until then, have a great week, be accountable for your actions and when in need give someone a hand.

Jamie Strohmeyer
Owner Green Bay Floor Restore
IICRC Certified / Clean Trust Firm

The IICRC Consumer Commitment

100_2356Well, once again I look at the calendar and it says April. However, when I step outside I still have a haunting memory of winter. I don’t mind winter but come on, enough already! Anyway I’m staying positive knowing that good weather is right around the corner.

No matter what the weather is Green Bay Floor Restore is always committed to 100% customer satisfaction. Many companies make this statement and many stand behind it. Unfortunately many do not. That is just one of many items that separate Green Bay Floor Restore from other’s in my industry.

Green Bay Floor Restore has taken it’s commitment to customer service to even a higher level than it’s competition. Green Bay Floor Restore through service and examination has become a Certified Clean Trust Firm by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification organization. Also know as the IICRC.

As a certified firm we agree to maintain professionalism when conducting business and to uphold honesty and integrity and competency in all dealings with consumers. We will always have an IICRC certified technician present on all job sites certified in the category the work is being performed in.

Although Green Bay Floor Restore is already committed to continuing education, the commitment to the customer is that we will continue to educate staff and technicians as well as seek, promote and provide training to better serve the customer with “best practices” and products.

Green Bay Floor Restore will always carry adequate insurance to protect consumers from any possible mishap. Any and all required licenses, permits and bonds will always be maintained.

As a consumer myself I treat my customer’s the same way I expect to be treated. I would never want anyone to give me false or deceptive advertising or marketing including the use of misleading pricing. You can be sure that when you work with Green Bay Floor Restore, you, the customer, will ALWAYS receive accurate information regarding prices, services and products.

You know all in all I really did not need to join an organization to prove these best practices. My customer’s and people who already know me would tell you that is simply who I am. I conduct business with honesty and integrity. I decided to take it to this level of certification to prove my consumer commitment to those of you who don’t know me and Green Bay Floor Restore. I hope this will help persuade you to give Green Bay Floor Restore a try.

If you have not already please check us out on Facebook and give us a “LIKE”.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate it!

Jamie Strohmeyer
Owner/ Operator Green Bay Floor Restore
IICRC Certified