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Carpet Cleaning Terms


Understanding carpet cleaning terms can help provide you with better service

Every profession has its own terminology and if you're not familiar with it it's easy to get lost in the conversation. When spending money on a product or service you want to know exactly what you're getting without any confusion. Here are some terms we may talk about at your appointment:


  • Browning - This is what is created when stains reappear due to soil residue or old, dark coloured stains rise up to the carpet surface.

  • Builder - These are compounds added to cleaning solutions to soften the water and boost the cleaner's effectiveness.

  • Clouding - This can happen when carpet is wet and residues from past cleaning solutions rise to the surface, creating a cloudy effect.

  • Digester - This is an enzyme-based cleaner that breaks down or "digests" stains to make them easier to remove.

  • Fiber - This is the primary material used in the carpet pile. It's important to kow the type of fiber that your carpet is made of as this determines the cleaning methods and/or solutions. Most carpet out there, about 90%, is made from synthetic fibers like nylon while roughly 10% is made up of natural fibers like wool or silk.

  • Grooming - Some companies use the term GROOMING to describe the process of applying a pre-treatment and working it into the carpet fibers. Others use it as a final step where a grooming tool is used to apply the final protective treatments and to remove cleaning marks, fluff the pile and produce a smooth, even appearance.

  • Mat - These are areas that have a crushed or flattened appearance because the carpet fibers have become flattened or damaged due to constant foot traffic or heavy furniture weights.

  • Nap - The nap is the direction in which the carpet fibers are woven into the backing. It causes the light to reflect differently when the carpet is viewed at different angles. When the installers are laying the carpet they lay it with the nap running in the same direction and carpet cleaners often will clean carpet with the nap to preserve its appearance.

  • Oxidizer - This is a class of cleaning product that reacts with oxygen and is used to remove stains like coffee, urine or those made by dark furniture. Oxidizers are quite effective on most carpet fibers but they can damage woo fibers and cause yellowing over time.

  • POG - This is an acronym that refers to carpet-safe spotting agents that are specially formulated to remove paint, oil and grease.

  • Reducer - This is a cleaning solution that reduces or eliminates oxygen levels in stains, making them easier to remove. These are generally used on wool carpet as they are less likely to yellow. Reducers are very effective against a variety of coloured stains like those in drinks and artificial food colouring.


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