In recent years carpets made from natural sources like wool, plant fibers, or other eco-friendly materials have become popular. Natural and plant-based fibers react differently to cleaning solutions and water. Cleaning professionals know the treatments that can be used and the ones to avoid. The following tips help keep environmentally friendly carpet materials in solid shape.
Carpets Made of Natural Fibers
Wool is a natural stable fiber. It is resilient and durable. Wool is among the most popular choices of natural fibers. It lasts longer than carpets made of synthetic fibers. Wool provides positive air quality by aiding in trapping allergens like dust.
It ages gracefully and cleans well. Wool is also the most expensive natural fiber. Because it is so costly, wall-to-wall wool carpets are used in spaces designed for luxury. Wool has some drawbacks. Ripples can occur that present a possible tripping hazard.
They occur when there is a separation between the primary and secondary backing. A professional has to stretch the carpet to correct the issue. Using hot-water extraction to clean wool carpets may produce an odor. Wet wool can smell like a dog.
However, wool is not a fragile fiber. Its structure helps maintain its appearance. Unlike many other fibers that are transparent, wool is opaque. It hides dirt better. The acidic nature of wool and soils cause the wool to repel the dirt.
Vacuuming alone often removes more soil from wool than other fibers. It requires less periodic maintenance. Synthetic fibers pick up dirt relatively quickly. Soil is more evident due to the higher bond formed with synthetic fibers.
When a wool carpet needs a touch-up, wet cleaning methods are particularly useful. Wool responds well to the agitation that releases soil. The durability of wool is the primary reason home, and office building owners are willing to pay more for wool carpet. Most people feel they get their money’s worth.
Carpet that Is Plant Fiber-Based
Plant-based fibers include sisal, a plant cultivated for its fiber; seagrass; and jute, which is a strong vegetable fiber. Sisal survives in areas that have little rainfall. It requires little water when cleaning. Some cleaning service providers and manufacturers recommend sparse to no use of water.
The issue with fibers such as sisal and seagrass is absorption that increases the volume of the fiber. Filaments swell and cause shrinking of the fabric. Besides, oxidizing agents may not mix well with plant fiber-based carpet.
Repeated use of an oxidizer can make cellulosic fiber carpet hard and brittle. If proper daily maintenance for caring for these carpets is not carried out, periodic maintenance can do only so much. Water-soluble spots such as soda and coffee make up about ten percent of soiling.
Most of the time, all that is needed is a mild, neutral pH cleaning agent to address waterborne spills and spots. Do not exacerbate the issue with a large volume of liquid that will push the spot down and out. Some products cause more harm than good.
Sunlight can cause alkaline spot treatments to keep working if not thoroughly rinsed out. Portions of the carpet will begin to bleach out. Try to remove any spills by blotting with club soda. If a spot treatment is necessary, use a solution made of equal part of white vinegar and water. The combination will not harm the colors or fibers.
If aggressive blotting or another removal method has ground the stain into an area rug, seek professional carpet cleaning for off-site repair. Fibers that are permeated require multiple steps to restore the carpet to its original condition. Vomit or urine may require a multiple-day process.
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