After carpeting has been subjected to foot traffic, moving of furniture, vacuuming, and other forms of mechanical agitation, you may observe fuzzing as loose fiber ends in the pile work themselves out. When an entire fiber is removed, it is called shedding or fluffing. In some cases only one end of the fiber is worked out; in others, it is tightly twisted or entangled in the tuft. When this situation occurs in local areas, the long fibers become entangled and form a pill.
Pilling is common and is not a problem when the pills break or are pulled out by the vacuum as they form. However, a strong elastic fiber such as nylon will resist this breaking. This results in small spider-like pills over the entire surface of the carpet, perhaps more concentrated in the areas of greatest traffic.
These pills can generally be removed by lifting the main ball portion with the thumb and forefinger, and using scissors to cut the fiber which holds the pill onto the carpet. Take care not to pull any excess fiber from the carpet which may damage the pile when cutting.
Carpeting, like most other textiles, is made under tension. Tension is necessary so that the loom or machine will function properly, producing uniform fabric from one portion to the next. Yet carpeting differs from many textiles in that the back may be composed of several layers which are not generally preshrunk. Moisture which produces swelling may result from humidity, spills or improper cleaning methods.
Ripples can also be caused by improper installation.
Unevenness or rippling will develop if two adjacent areas are not manufactured under the same identical tension. This will also happen if the tension of the second back is not uniform with the primary rug backing. Ripples can also be caused by dragging heavy furniture across the carpet or rug. This situation can sometimes be corrected by wetting backing yarns and tacking the rug out in a stretched position. However, the ripples may reoccur when moisture is again present.
Apparent color difference between areas of the same carpet caused by normal wear and the resulting random difference in pile lay direction is referred to as shading.
Shading is a characteristic of all cut-pile carpet. It is not a manufacturing defect. The physical cause is the difference between cut end luster and side luster of fibers. The sides of fibers reflect more light and appear brighter and lighter in color than the ends which absorb more light and appear to be duller and darker in color.
Little can be done to prevent or correct shading; it is an inherent characteristic of certain types of carpet. It can be slowed down by vacuuming or brushing the pile in one direction during daily or weekly maintenance.
Do you snap, crackle, and pop after walking across your carpet? This is static formed by the friction of your shoes against fibers in the carpet. Usually there is enough moisture or humidity in the air to carry off the static charge as it is formed, but when the weather turns dry and the humidity is low—watch out!
The tendency to generate a static charge at low humidity varies from carpet to carpet. Some new carpets have anti-static agents built into the fiber. Others use very fine metal wires or even conductive latex within the carpet to carry off the static. Anti-static protection of this type usually lasts for the life of the carpet.
If your carpet has none of these innovations and bites back in dry weather, it may still be possible to obtain some relief through increasing the humidity or by use of an anti-static agent sprayed on the face of the carpet. Many products of this type are available from your local store for use in the home. These, however, are not permanent and generally become less effective after a period of time. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can apply an anti-static agent to your carpet that will last through an entire heating season.
Furniture legs may cause depressions in your carpet if allowed to stay too long in one position. If furniture is moved, the depressions will spring up in time, but often it can take weeks or even months.
Almost every carpet will lighten in color, fading over a period of time. The extent of damage depends on the location, exposure, color, intensity, and type of dye and method of dyeing of the carpet. A carpet that has been solution-dyed (or dyed during the synthetic fiber-producing process) is the least susceptible to sun fading. The pigments are added to the polymer before the fibers are formed, locking in the color. Most polypropylene (olefin), many acrylics, and some polyester carpets are dyed by this method.
Lighter shades will usually fade more quickly than darker shades because they contain less dye. Most dyes are composed of two or more colors. If one color is affected more than the others, the fading may appear as a color change rather than a lightening of the color. For example, a green carpet yarn is made from blue and yellow dyes. If the yellow dye is affected and the blue is not affected, the green carpet may seem to turn more blue. In other cases, the colors may fade uniformly, appearing as a lighter shade of the original color. In severe cases, the color may be completely removed and can appear to be bleached white. The fiber itself can also deteriorate.
You may be able to prevent carpets from fading in sunny locations by keeping the windows covered by draperies or by treating the windows with a protective coating which filters the ultra-violet rays. If you live in an area where sunlight fading is a problem, shop carefully for your next carpet purchase.
The Forgotten Spill
Sometimes stains that have been hidden by soil are revealed after cleaning. These stains, which did not immediately cause discoloration, are usually from spilled liquids containing colorless sugar that remained on the fibers. After long exposure to the air, they changed to insoluble brown stains, but would not be noticed because of dirt covering them.
Other kinds of stains can be caused by water soaking through and absorbing sizing, browning, or fugitive dyes from the backs of the material. Because the fibers act as wicks, moisture will rise to the surface and evaporate, and discoloration will be left. Carpet owners who try to remove stains by using the wrong cleaning compounds and procedures may only make the stained areas more noticeable.
Cats may be considered one of the cleanest animals, and dogs may be man’s best friend, but neither pet is easy on carpeting. Neglected animal stains have always been a problem with carpets and rugs. Two types of reaction can take place between the chemicals in the urine and those in the fiber dye. Some dyes change color as soon as urine comes in contact with them. Original color can often be restored by the immediate addition of a weak solution of ammonia or white vinegar. Pick an inconspicuous area of the carpet and test small amounts of solution to determine its effect on the fiber and dye.
The other change develops over a period of several months and results in permanent change of fiber dye. Along with the dye change, some fibers become weakened or destroyed. After cleaning, these areas are more obvious because the soil which hid the true color has been removed.
The next time you are confronted with an animal accident, immediately absorb as much liquid as possible. Use the directions and products in your SERVPRO Spotting Kit specifically made for these types of cleaning tasks. If you no longer have a Spotting Kit, wash the area with a solution of one teaspoon of neutral detergent (which contains no bleach) to one cup of lukewarm water. Absorb into white tissues or toweling. Add a white vinegar solution (one part white vinegar to two parts water). Absorb till the surface is as dry as possible. Place a ½-inch layer of white absorbent material over the area and weight it down. Allow it to dry for about six hours.
If immediate action is taken to remove the stain in this manner, no change in color should occur, and that forgotten accident will not become apparent after your carpet has been professionally cleaned.