Retail Steam Cleaners Can Damage Carpet

Be careful with retail steam cleaners and your carpet. Too much heat is not good, and some retail steamer products can damage or destroy your carpet. Professional steam cleaners do not use steam to clean your carpet, despite the name. Instead, they use hot water extraction. Read more about tips and info on cleaning your carpet.

Carpet is Made in America

Did you know that, according to the Carpet and Rug Institute, 98% of carpet in use in the U.S.  is manufactured in the United States? Remember to keep your American-made carpet clean with a local American company – Commercial Steam Team!

How often should you clean your carpet?

Fiber producers and carpet manufacturers recommend that a residential carpet should be professionally cleaned at least every 6 to 12 months for best performance.  Soil that is not removed from the carpeting cuts and slices on the carpet fibers, breaking down the carpet yarn. The result is that even with restorative cleaning, it won’t correct the damage that has been carried out to the fiber.

If you are someone who has heard the phrase “Wait as long as you can prior to having your carpets cleaned..” or “Once you’ve cleaned your carpet, it’s never the same..”, these comments are a result of carpet cleaners that have left  the carpet  with an overload of detergent residue and heavy oils, that do not get completely extracted with some cleaning systems.  As a result, the new dirt is attracted back to the ‘old dirt’ and heavy oils that were brought to the surface during the cleaning process.  Once you walk around in the space for a few weeks, the carpet looks dirty again because the new dirt is attracted back to the old dirt.

In conclusion, carpet that is cleaned properly, every 6 to 12 months, will last longer and be healthier for the environment of your home.

Carpet Styles – Twist

This is actually a cut loop style of carpet, but with extra twist added to the fibers.

Also known as frieze carpet, this style gives a ‘modern’ look.

Frieze carpet is casual and durable.

See our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Styles – Cut Pile

Often called “cut loop” carpet, cut pile carpet is available under a wide range of names and brands.

Cut loop carpet is made by cutting off the tops of looped carpet. It provides a more refined loop than looped pile carpets. It also offers more options for the amount of twist in the carpet fibers.

There are different styles of cut loop carpets. Here are a few:

Textured provides a casual look, often with alternating twists of material providing a two-tone carpet. Because of this textured appearance it hides footprints and vacuum marks more readily than other styles.

Frieze carpet is tightly curled due to the extreme twisting of the fibers.

Saxony offers a refined look for traditional interiors.

Plush is dense and luxurious, but readily shows footprints and vacuum marks.

Textured Plush provides the benefits of textured carpet to the luxurious feel of plush.

See our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Styles – Cut and Loop

Also known as patterned carpet, this style combines loops and cut loops to allow for the creation of patterns in the carpet surface. This style of carpet is also sometimes called tip sheared or random.

More durable than cut styles and more elegant than most loops, patterned carpet represents a combination of elegance and practicality. It also hides stains and soil well and stands up to traffic.

This is a popular style of carpet and is available in a wide range of patterns.

See our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Styles – Loop Pile

Also known as Berber carpet, this is a great choice for high-traffic areas. This is because there are no exposed fiber ends to capture and wick dirt and contaminants.

Loop pile carpets are made using yarn that is uncut and looped at the same height. Although loop carpets can and do have different loop heights to create patterns, all loops within a pattern section typically have approximately the same height.

Different colors and types of carpet fiber can also be used to create patterning and vary durability and cost.

Loop carpets are generally easier to clean than carpet fibers that have been cut, because spills and soil tend to remain on the surface of the carpet rather than penetrate.

See our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Materials – Wool

Looking for a carpet material that is elegant and luxurious? Then wool may be the carpet for you. Wool is more expensive than any other carpet, and is usually made from the hair of sheep, although alpaca, goats, and llamas are also used.

Wool carpet has an excellent “memory”, largely because the hairs grow in spirals allowing them to link together well when twisted into tufts.

Wool has several other advantages. Dust mites do not seem to care for it, it insulates well, and because it absorbs and releases moisture it can act somewhat as a natural humidifier. It is also made from a sustainable resource meaning that it is wool carpet is better for the environment than other carpet materials.

While wool carpet can last for decades, it requires high maintenance. This usually means professional cleaning as well, in order to catch and abate problems before they permanently damage the carpet.

Wool can absorb protein-based stains such as blood and meat. It’s also sensitive to coffee, tea and wine stains. On the other hand, the fibers tend to bend light, which can help hide mild stains.

Wool is more fire-resistant than synthetics, which can make it a good choice where there are smokers present.

Wool is susceptible to static-electricity, so wool is not a good choice for a room with computers.

Most wool carpets are now moth-proofed, but you should check with your supplier to make sure this is the case.

See our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.
As noted earlier, wool absorbs and releases moisture. In a moisture-rich environment this can be a decided disadvantage, as wool can absorb up to ten times its weight in water. This makes it susceptible to mold and mildew. As result it can pick up odors as well. If it does get wet it can shrink. It is often best used for area rugs rather than full-room carpeting.

Wool is best used in low-traffic areas, and is not a good choice for locations where children and pets are present.

Carpet Materials – Olefin

If you need a great indoor-outdoor carpet, then olefin may be the best option for you. The second-most common carpet in American homes, olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a stain-resistant, fade-resistant, moisture-resistant, and static-resistant colorfast synthetic carpet.

Olefin is often used for entryways. Because it is moisture-resistant and fade-resistant, olefin carpet is a good choice for porches and patios, and the moisture aspect also makes it a good choice for basements.

The static-resistance makes this a good selection for a room with computers.

Olefin is chemically inert and resists acid and bleach well, making it a good choice for laundry rooms and rooms with home aquariums, and for areas leading to or adjacent to swimming pools, such as changing rooms.

Olefin can be challenging to keep clean, because it attracts dirt. Even after drying, olefin tends to wick dirt from the base causing streaks and spots to reappear.

Olefin is very susceptible to heat, so much so that even dragging a piece of heavy furniture across olefin can leave scorch marks.

When choosing olefin, look for a carpet with loops. The loops can help avoid matting. Whether you choose loops or pile, look for a low carpet (loops or pile). This can help it resist crushing.

Olefin is generally the cheapest carpet available.

Trying to choose the right carpet? Read our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Materials – Acrylic

If you’re looking for a carpet that looks and feels like wool but is less expensive, you may want to consider acrylic carpet. Popular in the 1960’s, acrylic was marketed as a wool substitute and can be used for family rooms, recreation rooms, and finished basements. It is springy like wool and feels luxurious.

Acrylic carpet is moisture-resistant and fade-resistant and resists stains, soiling and mildew. It also resists static which can be a benefit in rooms with computers or other electronics.

On the other hand, acrylic is less durable than wool. It is easily stained by grease and oil. The fibers have a tendency to deteriorate resulting in pilling and a “fuzzy” appearance. These drawbacks make it most useful in low-traffic areas.

Acrylic is often blended with some degree of wool. You may see it with brand names such as Creslan, Acrilon, and Orlon.

For more information to help you find the right carpet, see our entire series on Choosing Your Carpet.

Carpet Materials – Nylon

Looking at new carpet for your home?

Nylon carpet is the most common form of carpet in American homes today. This synthetic fabric is resilient, durable and stands up well in high traffic areas. Because nylon is the hardest synthetic carpet fiber it resists wear and abrasion.  This makes it a great choice for entryways, living rooms, and finished basements, yet it shows well and is an excellent carpet for sunny areas, particularly with solution-dyed nylon which is colorfast.

Nylon carpet also holds its twist, (this is called yarn memory) so it won’t begin to look ‘frizzy’ for quite some time if ever. It’s both stain-resistant and crush-resistant, and is available in a wide range of colors, making it generally easy to match to your look you want for your home in general or for specific rooms.

Nylon carpet is also available unbranded. Unbranded carpets generally have less robust guarantees and warranties but still offer you the value and benefits of nylon carpet. Unbranded carpets are often selected by people planning to sell their home soon.

This is the third installment in our series on Choosing Your Carpet. Click here to see the entire series.

Carpet Materials – Polyester

Polyester carpets are good for low traffic areas such as bedrooms, family rooms, and living rooms. It is a plush carpet that is soft and comfortable.

Polyester carpet is particularly stain-resistant and fade-resistant, making it a good choice in an environment where spills and stains may be frequent. This is a good choice for homes or pet hotels where pet urine may be an issue. Make sure to look at your warranty to find out which stains are covered. Hair dye, for instance, is generally NOT covered.

A large percentage of polyester carpets are made from recycled materials, particularly recycled water and soda bottles.

Polyester carpets retain their bright colors well.

This is the second in our series on Choosing Your Carpet. Click here to see the entire series.

Choosing the Right Color for Your New Carpet

This article on carpet colors begins our Choosing Your Carpet series. In the weeks ahead we will cover carpet materials, types of carpet, padding, and many other important topics to help you find the right carpet to install in your home.

We have a few tips for you when planning your new carpet that can help you get the perfect carpet for you.

Of course, an important considerations is color. Aside from picking a color you like, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • If you’re planning to sell soon, then you may wish to choose a neutral color. It’s easier for people to visualize their furniture and style with a neutral carpet.
  • Do you like to redesign your decorating frequently? The neutral colors are the way to go. You’ll find it much easier to change furniture and accent pieces with a less polarized neutral color.
  • Carpet often (but not always) looks lighter when installed than it does in the store. Types of lighting, lighting orientation, volume of visible carpet, wall colors, space size, and much more can affect this. Keep this in mind when trying to match color depth and lightness.
  • Darker carpet can make a room feel smaller, while lighter can enhance a sense of openness and space. Do you want cozy or more space? Coming back to preparing to sell, buyers may not see the same ideas that you have in mind, so it may be better to give an impression of a larger room with lighter carpet.

Enjoy your new carpet, and when it’s time to clean and protect carpet, come to Commercial Steam Team. We know carpet!

The New American Carpet Industry

It was not until the late 1950’s that carpet began to be affordable for most people.  In 1950 most carpets were made out of wool on looming machines in carpet mills in the Northeast US. By 1960 that had changed completely and most carpets were now made out of tufted synthetics in the southeast US. This was in large part due to the development of Dupont BCF nylon – an inexpensive durable product that quickly achieved dominance in the US flooring market.

By 1970 there were over 400 carpet mills in production. The 1980’s recession changed that, and by 1992 there were only about 100 mills remaining, and about 80% of all production was consolidated into 4 companies led by Shaw Industries and Mohawk.

Today carpet remains the most popular floor covering choice in America.

American Carpet in the Early Years

The American carpet industry started in 1791 with William Sprague’s carpet mill in Philadelphia and for most of the next century skilled workers produced carpets with hand looms. Congress first began protecting the industry in 1816. By 1834 there were about 20 carpet mills producing about 1 million square yards of carpet. By 1850 that amount had risen to 116 mills producing 8 millions square yards. Carpet became greatly popular in the early years due to the poor quality of home floors at the time. The first power loom was created in 1839 by Erastus Bigelow, but it wasn’t until after 1870 that power looms began to replace hand looms and began to make carpets more affordable. Even then you needed to be fairly well off – at least part of the upper middle class – to be able to afford carpet.

Stay tuned for our next post to learn more about the history of carpet in the US.