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When looking for a upholstery or carpet cleaner you want to know that the person coming to clean your items knows what they are doing. I have invested in professional training from two of the UK's leading carpet and upholstery cleaning training providers.
Most people are unaware of the depth of knowledge needed to successfully and safely clean carpets and upholstery. There are many things that can go wrong if the incorrect cleaning solutions or cleaning method are used on the wrong type of carpet. These include cellulosic browning, shrinkage, colour bleed, fibre distortion, water marking, rapid re-soiling and more (see below).
Unfortunately many carpet cleaners do not invest in training or even professional equipment. But I do, to ensure not only safe cleaning but also the best results.
I have attended the following training courses by Prochem and also Cleansmart. Both of which are leading suppliers of carpet and upholstery cleaning solutions, equipment and training in the UK.
Over 40 hours of professional training to ensure your carpets and upholstery are in safe hands and receive the best deep cleaning possible. I am also insured for your peace of mind.
I use only professional carpet and upholstery cleaning equipment and cleaning solutions. I use the method recommended by carpet manufacturers themselves, hot water extraction (often referred to as steam cleaning).
I have invested in the top of the range carpet cleaning machine offered by Cleansmart in the UK, the Airflex Storm. This amazing professional machine offers the fastest drying times of any of their machines. "The British designed and built Airflex Storm is our top-of-the-range flagship extractor". Cleansmart
Certain types of carpets can shrink if they are over wet or if they are poorly fitted without sufficient fixings to properly installed gripper rods.
Carpets are constructed in different ways. Most commonly they are either tufted, bonded or woven. A woven carpet (such as a Wilton or Axeminster) is woven directly in to the backing material. This backing material will very often contain a natural vegetable fibre like Jute/ Hessian. When cleaning the carpet, if this jute backing becomes too wet it can cause the carpet to shrink.
Tufted carpets (which are far more common) are attached to a primary scrim (usually made of a plastic fibre like polyester or polyproprolene). This is then attached to a secondary backing layer with a latex based glue. These carpets are much less susceptible to shrinkage issues as even if the secondary backing contains a fibre like jute, the water would have to penetrate the carpet fibres on top, the "plastic" primary backing and the latex glue to reach that secondary layer.I identify the carpet construction to ensure I know what type of carpet I am cleaning and how much moisture can be used safely! Many do not do this.
Cellulosic browning is caused when a carpet backing material contains a vegetable based natural fibre like Jute.
When wet the vegetable fibre can release a dye which as the carpet dries raises to the surface pile of the carpet leaving a brown stain. This is sometimes caused by over wetting the carpet or by a cleaner with a machine lacking in sufficient suction power to extract the water out of the carpet. It can be also caused by using the incorrect cleaning solution (too much alkalinity) for the type of carpet.
The tests I conduct (as shown under the carpet cleaning page on our services page) ensure I know what type of carpet I am dealing with to minimise any risks.
The example above shows where water from a pot plant has seeped into the carpet over time when being watered. The water has reached the vegetable fibre backing and caused cellulosic browning to wick up through the carpet.
Another test I conduct prior to cleaning your carpets is a dye bleed test. When a fibre such as wool or sometimes Nylon is dyed, it is usually done so by adding the fabric into a "bath" or "vat" containing the dye and an acid (among other things) to act as a locking agent.
Using cleaning solutions on these types of fabric can cause the dye to bleed as it is "unlocked" by the cleaning solution and water.
In other man-made fibres such as polyester, acrylic and polypropylene the colour is added at the point the fibre is made as pigment added to the molten mix. It is therefore locked in and not susceptible to dye bleed.
Take polyproprolene as an example. A fibre made often from recycled plastic bottles and the cheapest fibre for carpet manufacturers to use. As it is essentially an oil based plastic and the dye is added to the plastic while molten it will not bleed. You can see the dye bleed above from the red colour in the carpet into the lighter areas.
Carpet rippling or buckling can occur for several reasons. The most common reasons include:
Incorrect fitting where the carpet has not been stretched sufficiently to the gripper rods leaving flex within the material.
The age of the carpet resulting in the latex glue which secures the primary backing to the secondary backing deteriorating resulting in the layers separating (delamination).
Moving heavy furniture stretching the carpet against the gripper rods or repetitive movements from items such as desk chairs resulting in delamination.
If a carpet has a rubber or PVC backing it can swell when exposed to heat when cleaning. Again this is usually a result of too much heat being used by untrained carpet cleaners or a particularly heat sensitive backing material being used in manufacture. This will however usually revert back to its usual form by itself within a day or so as the rubber or PVC returns to its normal state.
Pile reversal, also known as shading, pooling or watermarks (due to its appearance) is essentially an unexplained phenomenon.
It happens when different fibres within the top of the carpet lay at different angles to each other. In other words the carpet pile will run one direction on one area of the carpet and an opposite direction in another area.
The result of this is that light reflects of the area differently on each area with a different pile direction causing the shading effect.
The reason this happens remains unknown with carpet manufacturers saying it is not a fault of the production of the carpet as it is a natural phenomenon.
This is not caused by carpet cleaning however once soil (dirt) is extracted from the carpet, areas affected by pile reversal can become more evident as can areas of wear (as less dirt remains to mask the issue).
Air filtration soiling marks or as they are more commonly known "draught marks/filtration marks" commonly occur around the edges of your carpet, under doors between rooms or where a carpet backing has been punctured.
When air passes through the gap between the carpet and skirting board or under a door the dirt and dust particles in the air get trapped in the carpet fibres over time. Many domestic vacuum cleaners also fail to reach these areas.
To avoid this problem regular vacuuming of these areas using a hand tool with your vacuum cleaner is essential.
Draught marks, once built up can be very difficult if not impossible to fully remove even for professional carpet cleaners. It is therefore essential to get a carpet cleaner in as soon as you notice them. Once built up they may only be able to be improved not removed!