What's Wrong With My Rug?
This area of our web site is especially useful to help you determine the exact problem with your rug. We, of course, will be glad to help you understand the condition and what we can do to eliminate the problem or at least improve the appearance of your rug.Please click on a condition below to read more information. • Pulled Wool Is Bad Wool
Wool is a splendid and revered luxury fiber for Oriental and area rugs, as well as in carpeting, apparel and other textile furnishings. Typically, wool fiber and pile is durable, long lasting and resilient, and has a pleasing luster, natural crimp and bulk. This prime quality or good wool is obtained from shearing live sheep, which removes the wool in first class condition.
But this is not always the case with what's known as pulled wool, also referred to as "dead wool." From the outset of first production or manufacture, this is a poor or bad quality, already weakened wool. Pulled wool enters the market in an already degraded or weakened form. It can and does find its way into the pile of rugs and, to a lesser extent, carpet. When pulled wool is used in rugs, they will wear prematurely, lose pile texture and yarn twist, and fade or lose color more rapidly than expected of good wool. The result is a rug or carpet that not only looks bad and worn, but will respond poorly when cleaned by what customarily is a safe and professional wet cleaning process for rugs and carpet. This is not the fault of the cleaning, but a consequence of the original fiber selection.
The fiber is called pulled wool since it is "pulled" from the hides of dead sheep as a byproduct of the slaughtering process. Hides from the sheep, containing both skin and hair-wool, are treated with strong chemicals to ease the removal of fiber. The hides are impregnated with either a chemical depilatory or a strong caustic (alkaline) chemical. As a consequence, the wool fiber is severely weakened where it emerges from the animal skin. This facilitates the later process of pulling out the wool fiber, separating it from the hide. This pulled wool, however, has already been affected. It has begun degrading and weakening even before it's spun into yarn or dyed. This is a result of its initial exposure to strong, debilitating chemicals by the process of pulling the wool from the animal skin.
There is no assured way of knowing if any Oriental rug, area rug or carpet is manufactured from pulled wool, as opposed to virgin or shorn wool. There are, however, some indications of the use of pulled wool. It is often a worn rug appearance, missing areas of pile fiber, irregular or inconsistent dyeing or coloration, fading and color loss on the upper portion of the pile tufts, loss of pile texture, irregular shading (or pile lay), and other unexpected or unsatisfactory rug response to proper cleaning.
These and other unfortunate conditions, directly resulting from the original selection of pulled wool yarn or rug pile, lead one to conclude that the textile was manufactured from its inception with pulled wool. No means are possible to correct this inherent, latent weakness or defect arising from the selection and use of pulled wool.
We have taken care to minimize the difficulties and latent damage caused by pulled wool. But some resulting damage, unanticipated texture and appearance changes following cleaning are often inevitable.
Frosting is a condition of color change in textiles, most often occurring with fabrics and upholstery, also result in appearance changes on rugs and carpeting. It is caused by preferential abrasion or a wearing away of colored fibers and dye from the fabric or pile surface. This occurs primarily in those areas where use, wear and abrasion are most concentrated. In upholstery, it could be on the front edges, side and top of the seat cushion, or arm areas. In draperies, it may be worn sections at the hem. In carpet or rugs, it would be the wearing away of surface pile that then reveals a slightly different or more original pile color underneath.
To textile scientists this condition is known as "frosting," most likely because the resulting worn away color is usually lighter, whiter or "frosted" compared to the original. But it could result in other color changes as well. The analogy to frosting or whitening is best known and understood by analogy with denim jeans. These fabrics are typically woven with a thin blue warp yarn, and a thicker white filling, weft or woof yarn.. The fabric is a 2/1 or uneven twill weave. When new, the blue warp tends to predominate on the surface and hide or cover the white filling. But as wear progresses, the blue surface yarns are abraded and worn away so that the fabric becomes increasingly light white or "frosted" in these main wear areas. This same condition can occur with textile furnishings such as upholstery fabrics, where concentrated use and wear will abrade away the surface fibers and possibly also rub off some of the dyed fabric surface.. This latter condition is known as "crocking.." Whether the cause of color change is primarily abrasive wear known as frosting, or rubbing off of the dye known as crocking, the resultant color change is a permanent condition. It is not, however, the fault or doing of a professional cleaning, as conditions creating the color change in the wear areas had already occurred.
There are times when this slowly developing color change or lightened areas of the fabric may seem more noticeable after a professional cleaning. But this is the result of removing surface soiling and greasy wear stains during cleaning, only to reveal the lightened areas of worn fabric underneath. The actual condition had existed, however, prior to the cleaning. Also, worn rug or carpet areas can reveal more of the backing or foundation underneath, at times seen as "grinning" up through the pile and showing a lighter or different color. So, too, can white knots, normally buried in the carpet pile or obscured by soil and dirt, become more noticeable after a thorough rug or carpet cleaning, These, too, are conditions of abrasive pile wear during ordinary use, and not the result of rug or carpet cleaning.. The professional cleaner may consider, at the wish of the customer, coloring in the white knots or worn pile areas to better match the surrounding pile color. It must be recognized, however, that this cosmetic coloring is temporary and the underlying color changes will eventually return.
The underside of your carpet has begun to separate from the top. This is a common occurrence with fairly new as well as older carpets, and especially those exposed to heavy wear or chemical action.
Your carpet is actually like a triple-decker sandwich. The topmost layer is the face yarn, which is held firmly in place because it is tufted or sewn into the middle layer or "primary" backing. The third layer of fabric, which rests against the floor, is called the "secondary" backing. The two backings are "glued" together by a thin layer of latex, a type of rubber cement.
Like most other rubber articles, latex will deteriorate with age. It becomes brittle and crumbly and loses the ability to hold the two backing layers firmly together. Heavy traffic, heat, as well as spills of various sorts, can also cause embrittlement and eventual weakening of the latex.
In a few cases, your carpet cleaner may be able to remove the old latex and reglue the two backings together. However, this could be a costly procedure because it is time consuming and requires a great deal of skill.
If your carpet has begun to show backing separation, discuss it with our cleaning professional.
Custom made rugs are increasingly popular each year. These rugs can be broadly classified under two categories: (a) hand tufted or hooked and (b) assembled component. Assembled component rugs are manufactured by joining together different rug components, either tufted or woven. Components are joined using a hot melt adhesive tape or by sewing or both. Custom rugs are available in a variety of contemporary designs, colors and shapes. Although expensive, they are elegant, often exclusive and provide an aura of opulence to the surrounding areas. Custom rugs, however, pose a challenge to carpet and rug cleaners. Ifproper cleaning procedures are not followed, problems can occur during cleaning. Let us examine some common problems with custom rugs and why they occur.
The two most common problems with custom rugs are shrinkage and rippling. Shrinkage and rippling occur especially with assembled component custom rugs. In wet cleaning of any custom rug in which different components are joined together, there is always a propensity for differential shrinkage to take place. This is due to the inherent differences in the properties of the various components. The absence of preshrinking rug components prior to assembly also contributes to the problem. Further, use of components that vary considerably in properties (tufted carpet assembled with a woven one, jute backed carpet with an olefin backed one) accentuates shrinkage and rippling even more.
In addition to the two problems described above, some custom rugs can soften upon application of heat or cleaning/spotting solvents; others may show drastic changes in size as well as texture distortion due to a loose construction. Dyes in custom rugs are often unstable and color bleeding or color loss may result during normal cleaning. Due to the problems described above, special procedures are required for problem-free cleaning of custom rugs. It is critical that these special rugs be cleaned by knowledgeable, professional cleaners. We have the information and expertise to provide the best cleaning services for your custom rugs
Finally, it should be noted that more intense cleaning is usually required to restore the appearance of an excessively soiled rug. Such thorough cleaning procedures, however, have a higher propensity to cause shrinkage and rippling in custom rugs. Therefore, these rugs should be vacuumed regularly and cleaned more frequently than other rugs, before they become excessively soiled. Consult us for further information and special services to preserve your expensive custom rugs.
Yellowing occasionally appears after professional cleaning of light colored carpeting, rugs, upholstery, draperies or other textile furnishings. This discoloration occurs for a variety of reasons, and it is usually indicative of another preexisting problem. The yellowing is generally not noticeable until after the item is cleaned, either because the dirt is 'hiding' it or some latent problem is catalyzed by customary cleaning. This is not the fault of the cleaning process. The customer is often disappointed that the interior furnishing is clean but did not return to its new condition. Occasionally, the yellowing will be in one area but not in another, such as under furniture, or in front of a window where some other condition has initiated the yellowing, only to be exposed by the cleaning method.
One Common Reason forYellowing: Photo-Oxidation
Some fibers are prone to photo-oxidation due to normal exposure and use. With ordinary light, sunlight and atmospheric fumes, certain white fibers, especially when bleached or optically brightened, will eventually begin to yellow. Customary wet cleaning is sometimes enough to induce a yellow coloration in white or off-white colored wool that was previously damaged by light and atmospheric conditions.
Stain-Resistant Chemistries and Early Generation Nylon
On some stain-resistant finishes, silicone-based soil retardant finishes and early generation nylon, the manufacturing chemistries tend to yellow with age, exposure to UV light and/or cleaning with a high pH cleaner.
Many textile finishes also yellow with age. These finishes can include: flameproofing, crease resistance, insecticides, anti-static and textile lubricants or softeners. All are used on textile furnishings.
Fluorescent Brightening Agents
Some fluorescent brightening agents (FBA) can yellow with age and exposure to UV light. These brighteners are found in many detergents and spot removers. FBAs are also used on some white colored textiles.
Anti-oxidants, such as BHT and formaldehyde, are found in carpet cushioning, some latex preparations, upholstery foam, in carpet backings and many other common construction materials. The anti-oxidants redeposit or wick up to the carpet face yarns or fabric surface and yellow on contact with oxygen.
Light colors such as beige or tan are often composed of several dyes. Some of these dyestuffs can fade, altering the hue towards yellow.
Long forgotten spills, stains and pet accidents also can yellow with age. Sugary drink stains and animal urine are examples.
Common soil and dirt from normal use can be yellow in coloration. Abrasive action on carpet fibers from normal soiling can also cause permanent discoloration.
There are many possibilities for yellowing. A yellow discoloration is more apparent when it occurs on a white or off-white background. A professional cleaner has several different techniques available that may reduce the effect of yellowing caused by many of these preexisting conditions. These include treatment with special yellow remover products, bleaches and adjusting the fiber's pH to improve its appearance. Using professional chemicals, yellowing can be removed in some cases; in other cases, it can be lightened somewhat, but in many situations the yellow discoloration is permanent.
Spills, snow and water tracked in, rain through an open window, pipes bursting, leaky radiators, floods and even overwetting by do-it-yourself carpet cleaners can wet out the backing yarns of carpeting.
Followed by slow drying, this wetting will allow dye-like materials to dissolve out of the backing yarns and "wick" to the face of the carpeting. The brown discoloration which forms is usually referred to as a water stain.
After a water stain has developed, it may be impossible for even a professional cleaner to remove it. Gradual and uniform soiling on the face yarns may cause the stain to go unnoticed until the carpeting is thoroughly cleaned. Once the dirt is removed, the dye-like water stain becomes quite apparent.
Water is essential to professional cleaning of carpets and rugs; however, we know the proper amount and the conditions under which water can be used on carpets and rugs. For example, in a modern rug cleaning plant where controlled drying temperatures are possible, it is a safe and normal procedure to use hundreds of gallons of water on a single rug.
Authentic Oriental rugs with luxurious, hand knotted pile are a thing of beauty. One inherent characteristic of Oriental rugs is known in the trade as "white knots." These are small white or off-white spots that appear at random in a few or sometimes many places on the rug surface. These "spots" are actually knots from the rug's cotton foundation yarns that have worked their way up to the surface of the rug, sandwiched between the pile fibers and thus exposed as part of the pile. If you look more closely, you can also find them in the lighter colored areas as well.
How and why do these "white knots" occur and why are they more noticeable after a thorough professional cleaning? The rug's pile or fuzzy surface is actually hand knotted onto a foundation of warp and weft yarns. In most Oriental rugs this foundation is composed of off-white or light colored cotton yarns. Because the cotton comes in short lengths, several pieces will be knotted together to make the appropriate length. Inevitably during the weaving process, some of these yarns will break and need to be spliced together, creating additional knots.
When a rug is new, the white knots can be obscured by the full length of pile surrounding them although they can be close to the surface. These knots are bulkier than the surrounding face fibers, and ordinary foot traffic will force them to the surface at the same time that the pile fibers are wearing down. Since they are a different material and color than the face fibers, they may be a cause for concern. Their appearance is normal and careful inspection can often find them in almost any Oriental rug.
Immediately following completion of the rug or during distribution and retailing, the more obvious knots may be colored over with a slight tint or dye marker. As the rug is used, the knots will darken and become obscured due to surface soiling. Following a thorough cleaning, the soils, grime and possibly the tint are removed, making the knots more prominent now. This is neither a defect in the rug nor a problem with the cleaning, but rather a normal result from the use of the Oriental rug.
If the customer wishes, he or she may have the rug cleaning professional provide an added service to hide the appearance of these knots. The trained professional can do a minor repair to retouch the most noticeable of the knots. A set of dye sticks or indelible markers, especially suited to Oriental rug colorations, are used to recolor the tops of the "white knots" so that they either disappear or become much less noticeable. You, as the rug owner, may also perform the same process if you can obtain appropriate permanent markers. These knots should never be cut as you can make a hole in the foundation of the rug that could lead to a larger hole and the loss of face fiber. Given normal foot traffic and soiling, the "white knots" will also become soiled, darken and disappear until the next thorough cleaning.
White knots are a normal consequence of wear and an inherent characteristic of beautiful, hand-made Oriental rugs. It is a feature of these unique rugs whose face and foundation are both made by hand. It's all part of the "mystique" of Oriental rugs
For practical tips and information about your Oriental rugs, spot and stain removal, or professional cleaning, maintenance and repair, always rely on an expert.
Soil is the enemy of your carpet and rugs, upholstery and draperies. One of the most important aspects of proper maintenance is to vacuum often and to vacuum correctly. Most people do not vacuum their textile furnishings often enough. And even when they do, the vacuuming may still be done incorrectly or inefficiently. This fact sheet will explain how to vacuum correctly with effort-saving tips and helpful pointers.
Ground-in dust, dirt, sand and grit are the enemy, and it is your vacuum's job to remove them. But did you know that an excessively soiled carpet can hold up to one pound (1/2 kg) of dirt in each square yard (square meter)? This can occur especially at entrance ways and in heavily trafficked areas that are seldom vacuumed properly and not cleaned frequently enough.
Few people really know how to vacuum efficiently with minimum effort. Let's explain how, covering both vacuuming technique and equipment. Most of the damaging soils, oily or gritty particles collect where there is most usage or foot traffic. These are the areas that require most of the vacuuming. It is far better to vacuum only the heavy traffic areas much more frequently or repeatedly than it is to cover everything or everywhere with a once-over-lightly vacuuming.
Residential carpet and rugs, for example, should vacuumed according to the amount of traffic and abuse they receive. Vacuuming should be done at least once every two weeks, preferably once each week and even twice each week if heavily trafficked or soiled. The best way to remove ground-in soil is to vacuum against the nap of the carpet. It removes soil and helps to improve the carpet's appearance. A light vacuuming would cover the same carpet or upholstery areas with three or four overlapping strokes. A more thorough vacuuming could be six or even eight strokes over the same, heavily soiled areas. Contract or commercial carpet needs to be vacuumed thoroughly at least three to five times per week. In high traffic areas, such as traffic lanes and entrance ways, carpet should be vacuumed nightly.
Well maintained vacuuming equipment helps both in overall soil removal and better long-term appearance. Do not allow the dirt collection bags to become more than one-half full. This greatly reduces suction power and vacuuming efficiency in most machines. Vacuums with cloth bags should be turned inside out at least every third emptying and be swept off. This allows for better breathing of the bag and greater soil pick up. Canister or backpack vacuums are versatile and convenient, but they may not have a beater bar, thus requiring more effort (passes or strokes) than upright vacuums to achieve similar soil removal. Canister vacuums used on carpet should preferably have a separate motor- driven beater bar. We recommend the use of an upright vacuum with beater bar for carpet, and canister type vacuums for upholstery, draperies, blinds, light dusting, and so forth. Commercial pile filters and heavy duty dual motor vacuums are the best machines for portability combined with maximum power and effectiveness in vacuuming carpet.
Some vacuums require that they be adjusted to match the pile heights of the carpet. Higher pile and loosely textured carpet may show shading marks where the vacuum last passed over. For the most even surface appearance after vacuuming, keep the final vacuuming strokes all in the same direction.
Good vacuuming is equally important for upholstery and draperies. There are special accessories and hand tools to vacuum these fabrics. Some machines come with suction- lowering adjustments to keep the fabric from binding or being drawn in the nozzle during vacuuming. Do not let the dust and soil build up. In higher soiling conditions or where there is heavy usage, vacuum every few weeks or more if needed.
You usually cannot vacuum too much, and it is more likely that your furnishings are suffering from insufficient vacuuming. It's the ground-in soil that dulls, discolors and damages your valuable textile furnishings, never the vacuuming. The loose fibers that are vacuumed out of new carpet are normal, and no reason for concern. Remember to vacuum often, vacuum properly, and well. It's worth the effort.
Carpet beetles and clothes moths have not been eliminated. In the past years, textile-eating insects were common due to the large amount of wool fibers in clothing and home furnishings. The popularity and widespread use of synthetic fibers has led to the incorrect assumption that insect damage is a thing of the past. Clothes moths and carpet beetles can digest protein fibers such as wool, silk and specialty hair fibers, but these insects will also attack synthetic fibers if they contain protein substances. This means that carpet, rugs, draperies and upholstery made from nylon, acrylic, polyester, acetate and other synthetics can be damaged if they contain food or beverage stains, blood, urine, perspiration or other sources of nutritional protein.
Firebrats and silverfish are also textile pests that attack carbohydrates. They eat the paste on wallpaper and book bindings as well as starched clothing. Termites digest cellulosic materials, including wood and carpet backings, in addition to yarns made of jute, cotton and kraftcord.
The most effective way to prevent an infestation and inhibit growth is to keep textile furnishings clean. Spills should be removed immediately. Carpet, rugs, draperies and upholstery should be brushed or vacuumed regularly as insects do not generally attack clean materials. Regular dry cleaning of these articles will also decrease the chances of infestation because dry cleaning solvent is toxic to most textile pests. Similarly, regular carpet cleaning will remove the nutritional contaminants that can attract and support insects. If an infestation has occurred, you should consult us or a licensed pest control operator who is experienced in treating textile products for insect control.
Does your rug, carpet or upholstery look different now that it has been cleaned? The change is probably due to the removal of soil, revealing cleaner fibers and also some earlier pile distortion.
The appearance of a textile furnishing depends on various factors including texture. Foot traffic and normal wear cause the majority of soil accumulation on floor coverings or upholstery. They also produce a physical change on the face yarns of a carpet or rug. This physical change on the face yarns begins as soon as the textile furnishing is put to use and eventually changes the texture and hence appearance.
A change in the carpet pile will always take place when the carpet is subjected to use. A comparison of the areas protected by furniture with adjacent used area should graphically demonstrate the effect of foot traffic on the appearance of the carpet or rug. This appearance and texture change is a normal occurrence to be expected and may occur either as pile crushing, fuzzing or "blooming" the tufts. The fiber used in the face yarns, yarn twist, pile density and the amount of traffic over the carpeting will determine the type and amount of distortion.
The extent of physical change cannot be determined, however, until soil has been removed. The professional cleaner makes every effort to correct distortion during the cleaning process. But in many cases, distortion has reached a point where it cannot be returned to even near the original appearance. Some very sensitive rugs, carpet or upholstery will also exhibit a certain amount of unavoidable texture change even after a careful cleaning.
Texture changes that occur from normal use and wear, improper maintenance and necessary cleaning actions are usually permanent. Pile brushing and vacuuming in the preferred pile direction may help to even out some irregularities or changes in texture.
Your textile furnishing was treated to expert, professional care during its recent cleaning. An extra effort was made to treat all stains before and/or after cleaning. Even with the best of cleaning and spot removal efforts, however, certain stains may not have come out completely. These tenacious stains were absorbed by the fibers, just like a dye, and have permanently discolored or recolored the fibers in the stained area. It is also possible that the prior spillage or stain produced a damaging chemical change to the fiber and its original dyed color. Such color changes are usually permanent and cannot be reversed or returned to their original color. Some common causes of permanent stains on textile furnishings are discussed below.
Many common spills will permanently stain certain fibers and affect dyes. Pet urine stains are a very common occurrence, and can lead to permanent discoloration. This discoloration may be visible before cleaning or it may become evident during or after the cleaning process. Spills of coffee, tea, cola and other drinks can also cause permanent stains, especially on wool, some nylons, cotton and silk. Even "stain resistant" nylon carpets can be permanently stained by hot coffee, hot tea, and other common foods, bleach household chemicals or medicines.
Many over-the-counter acne creams and medications may cause lightening or color changes on textile furnishings; however, these changes may appear during or after cleaning. The primary cause of these discolorations is the presence of benzoyl peroxide (a bleach). Benzoyl peroxide is a powerful color remover, but often does not become fully activated until the moisture in the textile (usually carpet) is increased, usually during cleaning or humid weather. There are numerous other household chemicals that may produce stains, such as some pesticides, ammonia, strong cleaners, chlorine bleach or peroxides, chlorine from pool or spa water, furniture scratch remover, shoe dye, chemical preservatives, cosmetics and many more.
We have attempted to identify the source of any residual stains or discolorations and have treated them accordingly. Unfortunately, not all stains can or will come out, even with the best professional stain removal and/or cleaning methods.
An additional service offered by some cleaners is spot dyeing of discolored areas. This may provide a closer color match to the surrounding, unstained areas, but is only possible on some textiles. Stronger stain removal treatments may also be possible but with these come the added risk of further color change or color loss. Many cleaners avoid these specialty procedures because of the difficulties and risks involved. Some cleaners will undertake these measures in selected cases, with the permission and signed damage release from the customer, for an additional service charge.
To lessen the possibility of staining, immediate action should be taken when any spillage or accident occurs. Blot up all liquid or scrape up as much of the spilled substance as possible. Then, put a thick layer (1/2"-1", 1-2 cm) of clean, white absorbent material or toweling over the area and weigh it down with a large book or suitable weight. Replace the absorbent material often in order to absorb as much of the spill as possible until no more stain removal is evident. Then call us to learn how to safely treat the area before it becomes a permanent stain. Our skilled professional technicians can give your textile furnishing the best cleaning and stain care possible.
Do you "snap, crackle and pop" when you walk across your carpet? Do you feel a slight shock when you touch a metal object like a doorknob? This is static, generated by the friction from your shoe soles against the fibers in the carpet. In the spring or summer months there is usually enough humidity or moisture in the air to carry off the static charge as it forms. When the weather turns dry and the humidity is low, however, static electrification due to walking across carpet is much more likely to occur and to cause an annoying or unpleasant shock..
The tendency to generate an unpleasant static charge at lower humidity varies from fiber to fiber and carpet to carpet. It's possible to build up on your body surface an electrostatic potential of 2,000 to 5,000 or even 10,000 volts or more. By touching a metal object and conductor such as a doorknob, the static charge is transferred from you to it in the form of a noticeable or unpleasant shock, although at extremely low current so that no danger exists.
Individuals also vary in their response to this static discharge. Below about 2,500 volts of static charge, most people have no sensation or awareness of its presence. But between 2,500 to 4,000 volts, many individuals will notice or feel the static discharge when touching a conductor or metal object after walking across the carpet. Above 4,000 volts, there is an increasingly unpleasant shock and it's noticed by most persons.
Untreated nylon and wool carpets are more prone to noticeable static problems, but so, too, may be polyester and olefin carpeting. This is especially true in the drier winter months with their low humidity. To avoid this static problem, some carpets have conductive filaments or antistatic agents built into the carpet pile fibers. Other specialty carpets add antistatic backing fabrics and/or conductive latex adhesive to the carpet to further reduce or eliminate static buildup. But certain carpeting may not have these features and is thus prone to static buildup.
If your carpet "bites back" in dry weather, it may still be possible to obtain some relief by increasing the humidity in the affected room, office or your home. Adding a room humidifier or a central heating humidification system can accomplish these goals of raising the humidity to 30, 35 or even 40%. As the humidity goes up, this lessens both the static charge and resultant shocks.
Another procedure is the addition of an antistatic spray treatment onto the carpet and pile fibers. Home use products of this type are available, although slightly increased soiling may be a by-product of the static reduction treatment. If you select this route, follow the manufacturer’s directions exactly and do not over use or over apply the product. These topical anti-static spray treatments are not permanent and will become less effective after a period of time. You should expect to clean the carpet regularly or more frequently in order to maintain top appearance, reapplying an antistatic spray as directed or needed.
Even better is to rely on us to apply a topical antistatic agent to your carpet. Although this treatment is not guaranteed to be permanent, usually it is more effective and lasts longer because it is applied with professional skill, special equipment and techniques.
With prompt use of the correct procedures on fresh spillage or recent spots and stains, you can minimize or remove spills or spots from textile furnishings such as carpet, rugs or upholstery. The best time to remove any stain is as soon as it occurs. Once dried or aged, that same spot has migrated well inside the fiber or hardened so that removal is much more difficult. Here are a few tips on spot removal to help avoid a permanent stain. We can advise you on a treatment if needed.
1. Remove residue and blot. Blot up or remove as much of the fresh spillage or discoloration as possible. Keep blotting using absorbent or paper towels for 15 to 30 minutes or more, until no further residue can be removed. Weight down the absorbent toweling with a telephone book or any large book, and keep changing the towels to a fresh or unused area every 5 to10 minutes. Blot only—do not rub and do not press down heavily onto upholstery fabric as you may damage it. Be patient; continue the blotting until no further discoloration is seen.
2. Moisten lightly and blot again. If the stain is water based such as cola, fruit punch or juice, tea, coffee, latex type paint or animal/pet urine, you can moisten the absorbent towels with water and repeat the blotting process above to see if any more of the stain or residue is removed. An alternate method is to dissolve a few drops of a mild, colorless dish washing liquid in a cup of water, moisten the stain or towels and blot as above. Be certain to rinse with water any detergent or soap residues even after the spot is removed.
If the stain is oily or greasy such as butter, milk, crayon, shoe polish, tar or asphalt, motor oil or lipstick, use an evaporating type dry-cleaning solvent or cleaning fluid. Many Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration professional cleaners sell these products. Follow the product directions and safety warnings. Apply the spotting solution to your absorbent toweling rather than to the stain and again blot as in 1 above. Repeat as necessary.
3. Check with your fiber company, carpet mill or upholstery manufacturer. Most of the fiber companies and several carpet mills or upholstered furniture manufacturers have toll free numbers or consumer "hot lines." Contactthese manufacturers as soon as possible. Obtain their specific recommendations for stain removal procedures and confirm that the spot removal product is safe to use on their fiber, carpet or upholstery. If not, you may void the warranty as to stain resistance (where appropriate).
4. Avoid use of any harsh chemicals, strong cleaners or "home remedies." There is always some risk in spot removal of damaging the textile, irreversibly altering the stained color, or otherwise setting the stain. This is especially true if using strong chemicals, improper products or procedures. Avoid overuse or over-wetting the stain, as this may cause it to spread or be absorbed deeper into the carpet pile fibers or fabric. Harsh rubbing or use of cleaners with optical brighteners will result in variations in color, pile direction or “shading.” These changes may remain even after stain removal or following a thorough cleaning.
5. Multipurpose carpet or upholstery stain removers. There are spot and stain removal products specially formulated for consumer use. These can be effective on certain water- based and some oily or greasy stains. If you have used these successfully before and know how they work, you may try it on your current spillage. If in doubt about the product's safety or applicability, do not risk further damage. Follow the product directions and pretest all spot treatments in an inconspicuous area before using; otherwise, color damage may result. Avoid over usage of the product (less is often better than more). Rinse and blot any residual chemicals or spotting agent as the last step.
6. Some stains are tenacious or impossible to fully remove. Without prompt treatment using the right methods, a fresh spill or spot will dry into the fibers and be much harder or maybe impossible to remove. Prompt attention to spot and stain removal is really your best ally. Some spillage or stains, however, contain dyes, colorants, bleaches or strippers that can permanently discolor the fibers and no heroic treatments can remedy the discoloration.
Soil filtration lines are dark soiled areas that develop gradually on carpet. They are most common around the edges of a room next to the wall, under floor-length draperies and under doors. But they can develop anywhere there is an air space, such as between floorboards or spaces in the subflooring. Also known as soil lines, smog lines and perimeter soiling (when they occur around walls), the problem is usually more obvious close to heating ducts, electric floor outlets and gas valves. Bedroom doors that are closed at night, especially when windows are left open, are likely to develop the lines.
The soiling is caused by the passage of air through or across the carpet. Air carries microscopic particles of dirt, dust and soot. As air passes over the carpet, these soil particles settle and become embedded in the carpet pile yarns. In areas where the air flows over the carpet more rapidly than normal, the carpet acts as a filter, extracting the soil particles from the air. The soil is very fine and can penetrate deeply into the yarns. Special techniques by a professional carpet cleaner are usually required to improve the appearance of soil filtration lines.
Unfortunately, the discoloration cannot always be removed completely. The degree of removal depends on the amount and type of soil, length of time the soil has accumulated, amount of air flow, color of carpet and type of fiber. The lines can be removed from most synthetic fibers. However, in severe cases, especially on light colored carpets, traces may remain after cleaning. It is usually very difficult to remove filtration soiling completely from wool or olefin carpets.
Soil found on a carpet can be classified as spots and stains; surface litter (paper, pet hair, lint, and so forth); gritty unattached particles; and that which is adhering to the fibers.
Surface litter can be picked up with a vacuum. Although unsightly, generally this material does not soil or harm the carpet.
Most gritty, unattached soil is tracked in on the feet. The longer it remains on the carpet, the more damage it causes. Gritty soil scratches and produces pits on fibers, dulling them and making them appear to be more soiled than they are. Grit also produces a cutting action that removes fibers and shortens the life of the carpet. Remove this soil by daily vacuuming of traffic areas and overall vacuuming at least once a week.
Soil that gives the carpet its dirty look is composed of sticky oils and greases containing tiny pieces of soil materials. Thorough professional cleaning can remove most of this type of soil. The longer oily soil remains on the fiber, the more difficult it is to remove.
Some oily soils change chemically and produce a yellowish film on the fiber that is impossible to remove. Other oils actually dissolve into some synthetic fibers, becoming part of the fibers themselves. These cannot be removed without damage to the fiber.
For proper carpet maintenance, remove spots immediately, vacuum traffic areas daily, vacuum thoroughly once a week and have a professional cleaning when traffic areas begin to show soil.
Smoke is an inevitable by-product of fires. We may think of it as simply a dark cloud, but smoke also contains finely dispensed liquids and gases. In fact, the most dangerous components of smoke are the invisible gases present during the fire.
After the fire, the gases disperse but the smoke solids and liquids remain on exposed surfaces. These deposits are more accurately called "fire residues" than smoke, because they are no longer the same as the heated cloud generated by the fire.
Fire residues vary in character. Some appear as dry particles, others as smeary flakes; still others are sticky and viscous. The type of residue depends on the items that burned and their rate of combustion. Smoke residues often emit obnoxious odors that persist long after the fire.
Questions of toxicity arise, particularly when the odor is intense. Off-gassing from fire residues may cause eyes to tear, particularly in confined spaces. While no studies have been performed on the effects of breathing fire residues after a fire, it seems obvious that they cannot be healthful. It is important to remember, however, that fire residues are not the same as the fire gases and therefore do not pose the same threat to health.
In typical residential fires, the introduction of outside air by direct ventilation will temporarily lower odor levels as well as allergic responses. Complete and permanent return to pre-damage conditions requires both removal of burned components and effective restoration procedures. Thorough cleaning with appropriate detergents does neutralize and remove fire residues.
Occasionally fire residues seem to penetrate finishes or stain-absorbent surfaces. These are permanent changes in the materials themselves rather than loose fire residues. Because fire residues are often acidic, prompt removal from exposed metals is important in order to minimize corrosion.
It is important to note that, in an overwhelming majority of cases, prompt and effective restoration can return smoke-damaged items to their original attractive and wholesome state. We can analyze the character of the smoke residues left after your fire, as well as provide the expert restoration work required.
Silk fibers are being used increasingly in textile furnishings such as rugs, upholstery and draperies. Silk is a luxury fiber used in the manufacture of expensive, high-fashion products. It can be dyed and printed to produce very beautiful designs and bright shades. These properties make silk a beautiful, very desirable fiber.
Silk, however, also characteristically exhibits several problems when cleaned. Silk dyes may be soluble (dissolve) in water, detergent and/or dry cleaning solvent. Silk is also prone to color bleeding and the formation of water spots, ring marks or perspiration stains. Color bleeding is more of a problem with dark colors than with pastels. Being delicate, silk is susceptible to abrasion, yarn slippage, sunlight damage, discoloration and can show texture changes. These problems often are revealed or accentuated by normal cleaning.
In order to minimize the problems described, special procedures are required for cleaning silk. The choice of method depends on various factors such as the age and condition of the silk textile, spots and stains present and consumer expectations. In general, it is more prudent to dry-clean silk. Some silks can be wet-cleaned successfully, but others can not. Wet cleaning of silk aids soil and stain removal, but may result in texture distortion, which is often permanent.
Remember, more intensive cleaning usually is required to restore the appearance of an excessively soiled rug or fabric. Such thorough cleaning procedures, however, have a higher propensity to cause damage. Silk textiles, therefore, should be maintained well (vacuumed regularly) and cleaned more frequently, before they become excessively soiled. It is also advantageous to use silk textiles prudently. For example, use silk rugs in areas with no foot traffic (as wall hangings) or, at least, limit the amount of foot traffic on them. Avoid using silk draperies in sunny windows and protect them with drapery linings. Consult us for further information regarding special services to preserve your silk textiles.
Sewer backups show no concern for floor coverings—they contaminate Oriental rugs as thoroughly as bath mats. People intuitively understand that the dense structure of carpeting can provide a breeding ground for bacteria. This makes sewage and carpeting a troubling combination.
Not all backups are identical, of course. Sewer backups can range from clear water to raw sewage. Also, carpets vary in their construction and method of installation.
Can sewage-contaminated carpet be restored to its original wholesome state?
There are some germicidal treatments available to eliminate sewage-borne bacteria. When combined with proper cleaning techniques, these germicides may restore many carpets to safe and attractive use. To be effective, however, the germicidal and cleaning procedures should fully saturate the carpet. Unfortunately, treating the carpet surface alone will not provide adequate protection.
This is good news for Oriental rugs, area rugs and wall-to-wall carpet installed on tack strips. These can be treated in a rug-cleaning plant with excellent results. But it is bad news for direct glued-down carpet, carpet tiles and wide expanses of carpet, which do not lend themselves to in-plant treatment. Contaminated carpet cushion (padding) cannot be effectively treated and should be discarded.
What if the water was clean?
Even water that looks clean and clear can carry harmful bacteria. If it came out of a sewer, it should be presumed to be contaminated.
Saturation cleaning and germicidal treatment of carpeting are difficult to perform at the damage site. Both sides of the carpet must be cleaned and treated along with the floor and baseboards, all without cross-contamination. On-site treatment is most effective when just a portion of the carpet has been exposed to contaminants.
How can I be sure the treatment is effective?
The principal indicator of contaminated sewage is the presence of bacteria from the family E. coli. Germicides used after sewer backups should be designated to be effective against E. coli. Swab samples can be collected at the site and incubated in a growth medium to indicate whether wholesome conditions have been restored.
Economics also plays a part. The age, condition and replacement cost of the carpet will influence the cost-effectiveness of restoration. With so many factors to consider, the best assurance of satisfaction is to retain an experienced professional.
Shedding is the fluffing or fuzzing of short, loose fibers that remain in a new carpet after manufacture. Shedding is a normal process that does not damage the rug, nor indicate any defective condition. New carpet and rugs tend to shed loose fibers for several months. If during this time the carpet is not vacuumed thoroughly and regularly, the fluffing may continue for as long as a year, sometimes longer. The fibers coming out are those that are not anchored into the back of the carpet. They are short fibers that are not tightly held in the tufts or fibers that have fallen into the pile during the shearing operation. Even though the volume of fiber lost may appear to be great, the actual amount is small when the total amount of fiber is considered. This loss will not appreciably change the wear life.
In some cases, only one end of the fiber is worked out. Sometimes the fiber is tightly twisted or entangled in the tuft. When this situation occurs, the fibers entangle and form a fuzzy ball, referred to as a "pill." Pilling is not a problem if the pills break off or are pulled out by the vacuum as they form. A strong 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, with scissors, cutting the fiber which holds the "ball" onto the carpet. Take care not to pull any excess fiber from the carpet or damage the pile when cutting.
Almost every interior textile (carpet, rugs, upholstery, draperies and wall coverings) will lighten in color or fade over a period of time. The extent of damage depends on the item's location, exposure to light and elements, color, intensity and type of dyes, and the dyeing method used.
An interior textile that has been solution-dyed (or producer colored) is least susceptible to sunlight fading. The pigments are added to the polymer before the fibers are formed, sealing in the color. Most olefins (polypropylene and polyethylene), many acrylics, and some polyester and nylon fibers used in carpet are dyed using this method.
Lighter shades usually will fade more quickly than darker shades because they contain less dye. Most dyes are composed of two or more color components. If one color is affected more than the other, the fading may appear as a color change rather than a lightening of the color. For example, many greenish hues are made from yellow and blue dyes. If the yellow dye is affected and the blue is not, the green textile may seem to be turning blue. To confirm this process for yourself, visit a museum and examine antique tapestries with trees and grass. These green colors now appear very blue because the yellow dye has faded.
In other instances, colors may fade uniformly, appearing as a lighter shade of the original color. In severe cases, the color may be completely removed, appearing to be "bleached" white. The fiber itself may also deteriorate. This is especially problematic with silk textiles.
You may be able to prevent interior textiles from fading in sunny locations by keeping the windows covered with draperies (which may fade, too) or by treating the windows with a protective coating that filters out the ultra-violet (UV) rays of sunlight. If you live in an area where sunlight fading is a problem, shop carefully for all interior textiles.
A carpet or rug may seem to change color in certain areas. When you look at the carpet from one angle, these areas will appear to be lighter than the rest of the carpet. Viewed from the other side, these spots appear darker. This condition is called shading.
Carpet pile has a natural slope in one direction. As long as the tufts slant in the same direction, the carpet has uniform color throughout. However, some of the tufts may slant against this normal pile lay, causing a variation in the way light is reflected from the napped surface.
Changes in the lay of pile usually develop gradually in traffic areas or in front of frequently used articles of furniture. However, shading may also occur in areas of less traffic and under furniture. It can even be present in brand new carpets! Shading occurs most frequently on dense, deep, velvety, cutpile carpets. Many Chinese and dense-pile Indian rugs will show some pile distortion after use or the first cleaning. Although it can affect multicolored or printed-design carpet, the problem is most obvious on solid colored carpets.
In some cases, shading becomes more apparent after the carpet is cleaned, which may lead you to believe the shaded appearance developed during the cleaning process. But, this phenomenon cannot occur overnight; it must develop gradually over time. The shading was probably not visible before cleaning because of lighting, the placement of furniture or uniform soiling over the entire surface.
Little can be done to prevent or correct shading; it is an inherent characteristic of certain types of carpet. It can be slowed by vacuuming or brushing the pile in one direction during daily or weekly maintenance.
Owners of Oriental and area rugs often inquire about the appearance and condition of the rug fringes. The cleaning of these rugs is a complicated and intricate process and a major concern during this process involves the fringes. Rug fringes are prone to inevitable deterioration with normal use. They may begin to pull away, tangle, unravel or rot. This may be due to the fringe fiber content (usually cotton but may be wool or silk) loose or low yarn twist and open or cut ends. These characteristics make rug fringes susceptible to untwisting and texture loss during normal use vacuuming and walking. Since fringes extend out beyond the rug cushion or padding, they are subject to the full impact of foot traffic, abrasion and vacuum brushes.
Many rugs received for cleaning have tangled fringes. Greasy and oily soils can act like an adhesive to hold decaying fringe fibers and yarns together. This condition makes cleaning more difficult, plus the cleaning action removes sticky soils and exposes the weakened fiber. Also, the tangles may not be correctable and may make the fringes more susceptible to breaking during cleaning.
Another cause of fringe deterioration occurs before the rug leaves its country of origin. A procedure called "chemical washing" or "luster washing" is given to most rugs as part of the finishing process. This "wash" consists of controlled use of strong chemicals including chlorine bleach, caustic soda or alkali that give the wool a luster or antique finish. This "wash" weakens fringes even when the rug is new, and the deterioration continues over its lifetime. This preexisting damage is seldom noticed until after the rug is cleaned. Rugs prone to this damage may include those from Pakistan, Romania, India, China, Persia, Iran and others.
Fringes may require special treatments during and after cleaning. Extremely soiled fringes may require more aggressive cleaning in an attempt to get them back to their original condition. A second reason for special fringe cleaning is cellulosic browning of the fringe yarns. Rug fringes are mostly made of cotton, a cellulosic fiber that undergoes natural changes with time and wear. These changes may develop into a tan-brown staining or discoloration. A third reason is change in fringes' color due to water damage and dye migration. This color bleeding occurs as fugitive dyes from the wet rug are absorbed into undyed or whiter colored fringes.
These are various methods used to clean fringes. Each procedure has its advantages and disadvantages. One treatment does not weaken the fringes, but may leave them off-white or slightly discolored. Another, harsher process involves bleaching the fringes, which will whiten them but may result in a change in their strength and texture. The procedures best suited for a particular rug comes from the knowledge and experience of a skilled rug cleaner.
Generally, any fringe treatment, either when new or during professional cleaning, will cause a greater or lesser degree of deterioration over time. Rugs with weakened fringe will continue to deteriorate from normal “wear and tear” and this will be particularly noticeable after each cleaning. Rug fringes look beautiful when new, but they are the Achilles’ heel of most Oriental and specialty rugs. Many professional cleaners can renew your rug's appearance by refringing or replacing the fringes with undamaged yarn.
Carpeting, like most other textiles, is made under tension. Tension is necessary so that the loom will function properly, producing a carpet uniform from one portion to the next.
Yet carpeting differs from most textiles in that the backing may be composed of several layers, which are not generally preshrunk. When backing yarns absorb moisture, the fibers swell, resulting in the relaxation of the yarns previously held under tension. Moisture that produces swelling may result from humidity, spills or cleaning.
If two adjacent areas of a carpet or rug are not manufactured under the same amount of tension, unevenness or rippling can develop. This will also occur if the tension of the second carpet backing is not uniform with the primary backing.
Each case of rippling is different. The ripples may extend across the entire width of the carpet, from the edge to the middle, in the middle only, along the edges, or in one small section. Ripples can also be caused by dragging heavy furniture across the carpet or by sliding and pulling of carpet in traffic areas caused by walking.
Improper carpet installation may also cause ripples. If installation over padding is not done by power stretching, the carpet will still have some capacity to stretch. Itwill likely stretch in heavy traffic areas, and this may result in buckling, which is a form of rippling. In this case, the carpet must be restretched and reinstalled.
For area rugs and Oriental rugs, this situation can sometimes be corrected by wetting the backing and tacking the rug out in a stretched position. However, the ripples may recur when moisture is again present.
When rippling or buckling occurs on wall-to-wall carpet, contact the carpet retailer or installer immediately. Some installers warranty their work against stretching or buckling for 12 months following installation and can restretch the carpet to fit properly. Other retailers or installers may have different policies on restretching wall-to-wall carpet.
Have you recently had your carpets cleaned, only to find a mysterious stain appear where it may not have been noticeable before? Or was the cleaner successful in removing certain stains when the carpet was just cleaned and still damp, only to have some stains reappear after the carpet had thoroughly dried?
This common situation known as reappearing or wicking stains is caused by staining matter from a prior spillage having dried down at the base of the carpet pile. Although the surface staining may have been partially or fully removed from the tips of the carpet pile fibers, some of the discolored matter remained behind and unseen, hidden down in the pile.
During a thorough wet cleaning, the hidden stain normally becomes moistened or wetted. Once wet, the stain becomes mobile and wicks up to the top surface of the pile as the carpet dries. Since wall-to-wall carpet dries from the bottom up, this leaves the top part of the pile as the last to dry completely. And this is how the mysterious staining matter now wicks or finds is way up to the carpet surface.
You can usually remove most or all of this reappearing stain by moistening it and then blotting with absorbent white toweling. Lightly mist the stained area with water and blot with towels. Cover the stained area with toweling, add a layer of aluminum foil or wax paper on top of the toweling, and then weight it down (for example, with a telephone book). Wait 30 minutes or so and then remove. Repeat as needed until the stain is removed.
A second approach is to use a multipurpose carpet spotter or dry cleaning fluid type spot remover—that is, if you've used such products before and know they are safe on your carpeting. Follow the manufacturer's directions exactly and pretest the product for safety before using. Use the product sparingly; don't overdo it. You can also rinse lightly and again blot with absorbent towels as the last step.
A third alternative is to apply one of the dry extraction carpet cleaning compounds (a "powder" type carpet cleaning product). Lightly massage or brush the cleaning compound into the stain. Leave it to work for 30 to 60 minutes to absorb the staining material and then thoroughly vacuum. Like the above methods, any of these approaches should remove most or all of the reappeared stain.
Consumers who try to remove stains by using the wrong cleaning products, compounds or methods may only make the stained areas more noticeable. If in doubt about any of these procedures or their safety, contact us.
There are few soft floor coverings that are guaranteed against shrinkage; therefore, dimensional changes of your rug should be expected during cleaning. Your skilled professional rug cleaner takes every step economically possible to minimize this inherent characteristic.
During the spinning and weaving process, fibers and fabrics must be kept under tension for proper functioning of equipment. For example, warp yarns are held under tension on a loom during a rug's construction. Stretching occurs during this and other operations and fibers and fabrics remain stretched until moisture causes them to relax. Shrinkage at this point is often referred to as relaxation shrinkage.
The amount of shrinkage that can be expected will depend upon the construction of the rug and the fibers used in the backing. Most shrinkage is due to the type of backing fibers used. The density of the face fibers will also have a bearing on the amount of shrinkage. The type of face fiber has no relation to the amount of shrinkage.
Shrinkage that causes dimensional changes results entirely from wetting the backing yarns. Moisture causes the fibers to swell and this forces the weave threads to contract, causing the overall floor covering to shrink. Most of this type of shrinkage will occur during the first thorough wetting (usually the first cleaning).
On some rugs, as much as ten percent shrinkage will take place. It is more realistic to see about two percent shrinkage of the average rug.
Shrinkage can also take place in the home due to the rug's backing yarns absorbing moisture from humid air.
Painting of both new and old rugs has become epidemic. A recent trip to the New York rug market revealed room after room of employees painting old rugs. The problems with painted rugs are many and the consumer needs to be informed of the consequences. First, if the paint is not washfast—and it usually isn't—the rug will be prone to subsequent color bleeding during professional wet cleaning. Second, the painting is often used to cover over worn areas, but this is not disclosed to the customer. If the painting is, in fact, disclosed, then the buyer should pay a fair price for the painted rug. They should not pay for a rug that was obviously worn but has now been painted over in a circumspect or event deceptive manner.
Why do some dealers or retailers paint over Oriental rugs, whether worn or new? One common scenario is to hide worn areas of an older rug where the foundation has become exposed. Using dye markers, colored inks, water or solvent based tints, the lighter colored worn areas where the foundation is exposed are "tinted" or colored over in an attempt to match the original pile color and disguise the wear. This surface painting or tinting is quicker and less expensive than re-knotting or inserting new pile, which is the proper way to restore a worn area or missing pile. By merely painting over the wear spot, these worn areas will quickly return to their prior faded appearance during use by the customer.
A second and more serious problem, however, is that the surface painting will often bleed into surrounding areas of the rug when liquids are spilled or when the rug is washed. Many of the surface colors, when overpainted, are not washfast and can bleed profusely even with the best of professional cleaning and care.
Some newer Oriental rugs are also painted, either on the back or on the face (pile side). New rugs from India and Pakistan are sometimes "painted" on the back (or underside) of the outer border or fringe. When painted, the colors in the outside border are typically black, dark blue, red or kelly green; these colors are prone to bleed or color run when wet.
Other reasons for painting the pile of Oriental rugs, even though new or not noticeably worn, is to enhance surface colors and/or to eliminate color variations. These variations in surface dye color are known as "abrash." Though normal or pleasing to most, abrash coloration may be disliked or misunderstood by buyers and thus some dealer decides to "paint" over this special effect. It's a strange way to go.
But how can you know if the rug you've purchased or are considering purchasing has been painted? First, ask the dealer or retailer several related questions. Has the rug ever been tinted or painted over, and how do they know one way or the other? Ask if the dyes and rug coloration are guaranteed to be washfast; that is, can the rug be safely wet cleaned? They may assure you it can, even when it cannot, so get the assurance in writing. The best way to determine washfastness is the simple Turkish towel test mentioned later. Dealers selling painted rugs are not the most trustworthy. So if you're not assured or confident about the purchase, then avoid it and look for another rug or rug dealer, or both.
Inquire also if the dyes are natural or synthetic in origin. Naturally dyed rugs are often more aesthetically pleasing, and more expensive, but your main concern should be "Are they color fast?” That is, are the dyes and colors resistant to premature light fading and to color bleeding when wet? Some naturally dyed rugs (and certain painted rugs) may have excellent color fastness, but many others do not. If the dyes are not "fast" or secure and the pile has been "painted," then the rug cannot be successfully washed and adequately cleaned.
Our best advice is to do a simple pretest to check for fugitive dyes, poor surface coloration or rug painting. The test is easy for anyone to do. Any suspicious areas should be tested, or do the test on all darker colors or major colored areas. Moisten a white (or Turkish) towel with tap water and then rub or blot persistently on all colors. Do this on both the face, or pile, and on the back where appropriate. If any color transfers onto the towel, it is indicative of a latent color bleeding problem that can cause serious problems later. Testing the colors on the surface or pile applies to both new and old rugs. If any color transfers or would appear to bleed during the test, then do not buy this rug. We cannot recommend buying a "painted" rug or any rug that is not colorfast.
Dinner was in the oven, but what remains is a charred clump of roast, chicken or other meat—and a penetrating, rancid odor. It is called a protein fire, and professional restorers recognize it as a special category of damage.
Unlike the typical kitchen fire, protein "fires" produce little visible smoke residue. The low level of heat reduces the animal fat and protein to a fine mist, leaving a clear, almost invisible film. That can be a problem, because the casual observer sees no black residue and mistakenly assumes the condition to be minor. In fact, the obnoxious odor, combined with the absence of visible smoke, makes protein fires one of the most frustrating types of damage.
Standard smoke odor removal processes are seldom effective with protein odor. Attempts at a quick fix usually fail. An important first step to recovery is a thorough washing of all affected surfaces, using appropriate cleaning agents. Because the burned material is consumed slowly, the residues are able to penetrate cabinet interiors, soffits, range hoods, closets and ducts. Some painted surfaces develop a beige-to-pink discoloration which may be permanent. When cleaning is not sufficient, sealing with clear sealants or repainting may be required.
Affected upholstery, carpets and clothing also require thorough cleaning to remove the odor-generating residue. Textiles frequently release the odors better than hard kitchen surfaces.
Experienced restorers follow a progression of steps until the problem is resolved. The important thing is to understand that protein residue is more damaging and more persistent than its appearance would suggest. Repeated treatments or trial-and-error approaches do not mean the restorer is inexperienced! They are an essential part of solving the protein problem.
In recent years there's been a profusion of lesser quality, odorous area rugs that have appeared in the consumer marketplace. Most of these are hand-tufted rugs from the Asian subcontinent, particularly imported from India, Pakistan or China. One of the common problems with these rugs is a tenacious unpleasant odor that emanates from the latex back coating or adhesive, which is a part of the carpet construction. Unfortunately, this foul odor is "built in" and no amount of professional cleaning or deodorization will permanently remove it. New rugs should never smell this way and good old rugs seldom do either.
The odor can vary from mild to strong and oppressive. One characteristic smell typical of these rugs is of "diesel fuel" or "burnt" oily type residues coming out of the latex. But other odors such as “curry” and more are possible. These rugs may even smell bad right in the store, but the odor appears more concentrated and noticeable in the smaller rooms and spaces of your home. The mass market importers often sell these shoddy rugs, and this foul condition is a defect in the rug from manufacture and distribution
Area rugs with this foul odor problem are usually hand tufted. The pile fiber is usually wool but it also could be acrylic, cotton, olefin or others. This construction has the pile inserted through a primary backing and latex "glue" or adhesive is applied to the underside of the backing fabric to help secure the pile yarns in place. Also, this same latex adhesive is used to glue or adhere the secondary backing fabric to the rest of the rug. The secondary backing fabric—usually a coarse cotton duck fabric and often dyed green, blue or other colors—is what you would see when looking at the back or underside of the rug.
We believe the odor is caused by defective, low quality latex adhesive used at the time of rug manufacture. There may be diesel oil odors absorbed into the latex during shipboard transport from India, or the odors used to cover up other problems. Or some odorous microbial degradation or musty deterioration of the latex may be occurring, even when the rug is brand new. When cleaning the carpet to remove stains and soiling, or in attempts to eliminate the oppressive odor, the carpet is often customarily wet cleaned. It's possible that during or after any normal and safe process of wet cleaning or in-plant rug cleaning, one may notice an accentuated foul latex odor. This is not a result of the cleaning but a continuing degradation and off-gassing of odorous components from the latex adhesive in the carpet. The cleaning industry's best experience is that this offensive odor cannot be permanently removed, and may or may not be temporarily alleviated.
In addition, there are discolorations and dye transfer problems associated with Indian or lesser quality Asian area rugs that further compound their defective nature. When these area rugs with dyed backing are placed on top of light color carpet, the poorly dyed cotton scrim or canvas backing fabric may "crock" or transfer its green, blue or other offensive color onto the carpet or rug underneath. During wet cleaning, fugitive dye markers used to stencil the pattern for hand tufting can bleed up to the surface of the rug pile. With cotton hooked rugs, discoloration from cellulosic browning can occur during cleaning and drying. In addition, some of the darker colors can bleed during cleaning. None of these offensive conditions should ever occur with a well-made Oriental or area rug. As we noted above, in our professional opinion, rugs with persistent foul odor, dye transfer, discoloration or color bleeding are fundamentally defective and should be returned to the retailer for adjustment or replacement.
What should you know about the care and maintenance of your valuable Oriental rugs? Haven't you ever wondered which are the safe and effective stain removal products or cleaning methods for your prized Oriental rugs? Or how often the rugs should be professionally cleaned? Should you attempt a do-it-yourself, consumer cleaning method or leave this job to the rug experts?
Have you pondered such questions or worried so much that you've clenched your fists until your knuckles turned white or you've tightened or clenched your jaw in anticipation? Well, worry no more, since honest answers are available from trusted rug cleaning experts. We are here to help you. We can answer your questions, allay any undue concerns and do a first class professional cleaning for you.
Have you ever been told never to clean or even vacuum your Oriental rug; or never to use water for spot removal or cleaning of any rug? Or have you heard some "gospel" from the retailer, maybe an old wives’ tale about how to supposedly care for and maintain your beautiful Oriental rug? Or that cleaning will remove all of the wool fibers’ lanolin and natural lubricants or somehow damage the rug? In fact, long before you ever saw the rug, the original lanolin and natural fiber residues were removed. This occurs during wool fiber processing such as scouring, and again during dyeing of the pile fiber and yarns.
Did you know that regular professional cleaning can prolong the life and appearance of a valuable rug? Proper cleaning will remove most embedded soils and stains, helping to return the rug to its prior luster, color and design clarity through an improvement in overall appearance and useful life of the rug.
And were you aware that a proper rug pad or cushion can add measurably to the safety, appearance and long life of your prized Oriental rugs? And that specially designed rug cushions are available to prevent rugs from slipping and sliding over your hard floors? And that special cushions are also available to minimize rug sliding and wrinkling when laid over wall-to-wall carpet? The appearance of the surface or top of your rug is aided tremendously by the pad underneath your rug.
What happens when your rug fringe begins to ravel and fray, especially as a result of periodic vacuuming? Can it be repaired or made to look better? Yes, the rug ends and fringes can be restored or repaired, or a new fringe can be sewn onto the top of the original fringe, thus improving the rug's appearance while preserving its original integrity.
You've paid handsomely for a beautiful Oriental rug in silk pile, but is the pile fiber really silk? And is it all silk? Fibers such as rayon, acetate, mercerized cotton or others, and so called "art silk" can be made to resemble silk, but are not silk at all. Sometimes they use a less expensive or inferior substitute to make the pile and the real fiber content may be obscured. How can you tell or confirm that your expensive Oriental rug is really silk? Or you may be considering the purchase of a "silk" rug and want assurance that you are really getting real silk. Then it's wise to first seek the advice of an expert so that you're getting value and honesty with your rug purchase.
Has your rug begun to feel harsh, or make a slight cracking or snapping sound when you pick it up to move it, or when you fold it over? It might indicate the presence of "dry rot" in the cotton backing yarns. This slow degradation can eventually cause serious weakness in the rug's foundation, or splitting and tearing of the rug when moved, lifted or cleaned. Your rug expert can tell if the rug has indications of latent dry rot and advise accordingly.
The pet had an "accident" on the Oriental rug and what should you do, how can you find help? Does club soda really work on this or any other stain, and do home remedies make it worse? Even minor spillage or pet accidents, when subject to inexpert spot removal or the use of harsh and inappropriate chemicals, may turn a common stain into a permanent discoloration, unless you're relying on the expertise of an Oriental rug cleaning professional.
An Oriental rug has a label that says "dry clean only." Why is it there, what does it mean and how or why would somebody dry clean an Oriental rug? Although so called "dry" rug cleaning is a safe way to clean most rugs, it may not always get the rug as clean as other methods, such as the more customary wet cleaning. And the term does not mean dry cleaning as you know it when applied to renovation of one's clothing. Sometimes the reference to dry cleaning on a rug label is inappropriately used or deceptive. What are my choices, then, of the best methods to clean different types of Oriental rugs and rug fibers? In most cases, a professional wet cleaning is the preferred and safe method by which to clean Oriental and area rugs. But there are times—such as with silk rugs or those that might not be fully washfast, and thus at risk for dye bleeding—that modified or other specialty methods of cleaning might be considered. Trust us to know the best method to clean your particular Oriental rug.
Congratulations on the purchase of your new textile furnishings. We hope that you will be pleased with the carpet, rug, upholstery or draperies you have just acquired. Here are a few hints to help you enjoy these new items and ensure their proper installation in your home or workplace.
Almost all new furnishings will give off some odor until they are fully aired. This may be true whether it is a rug, carpet, pad or cushion, or products used to install the carpet. It may also include the foam, fabric and construction materials used in furniture manufacture or the fabrics, linings, vinyl or foam backing used on some draperies. The odor is related to a low level of emissions from the new furnishings.
Most emissions drop significantly after the first day or two following the carpet installation or removal of the plastic covering protecting new upholstered furniture. In those situations in which the odor lingers, it is usually due to poor ventilation. Any odors, if noticeable at all, will generally disappear within a few days to a week for most textile furnishings.
The key to minimizing the odor and speeding up the "airing out" process is to ventilate, ventilate, ventilate. Ask the retailer to unwrap or unroll the textiles for a day or two prior to delivery and installation to minimize the new product odor. Open the windows or doors to let in fresh air. Run the fans or air conditioner on the "fresh air" ventilate or exhaust setting. If you work in an office building without windows, or with those that don't open, ask the building manager to be certain that the fresh air intake is open on the central air handling system. If the odor is objectionable, request to be moved to another room or area of the building, or try another part of your home, until the odor has subsided or disappears.
The small initial emissions and odor do not pose any known health risk. But some people more sensitive to these emissions at first experience some allergic or flu-like symptoms; again, fresh air is the best remedy. Some have also asked if carpet contains formaldehyde. You'll be pleased to know that it does not and has not for more than ten years.
Another common question asked is whether the excess pile fiber (or fuzz) removed during vacuuming of new carpet is normal. It is and does not indicate anything unusual. After the initial wear period and vacuuming, the loose surface fibers will be removed. This has no bearing, however, on the carpet's eventual service life.
Mildew is a destructive growth that feeds on a variety of organic materials such as cotton, wood and leather. While dormant mildew exists freely in the environment, conditions of dampness and warmth can provide the ingredients for rapid growth, frequently within 72 hours. Some individuals are sensitive to mildew and experience an allergic reaction in its presence.
Since mildew feeds on organic materials, it eventually causes a loss in fiber strength and unsightly staining or discoloration. These effects are not reversible. Once deteriorated by mildew, textile fibers are permanently affected. The gray splotches that sometimes develop on walls and fibers following water damage are colonies of the mildew fungi and represent an advanced stage of growth.
The characteristic musty odor of mildew results from its digestive action. The odor disappears when the mildew has been eliminated and the absence of odor is evidence that improvement has occurred.
A variety of fungicidal solutions are available that kill mildew without damaging fabrics. They must come in direct contact with the organism to be effective, and the procedures sometimes require multiple treatments. Because many household items utilize organic materials, these furnishings are frequently affected by mildew, especially in humid environments. Oriental rugs, upholstery fabrics and clothing in closets are frequent victims. Thorough drying is an essential step in mildew removal.
Complete and permanent elimination of mildew requires that the conditions that stimulate mildew growth—primarily dampness—be eliminated. No matter what germicides are employed, a continuing damp condition at temperatures over 65°F (l8°C) will eventually result in renewed mildew growth.
Leather has become a very popular and durable natural upholstery covering material. Leather and suede are products derived from the skins and hides of animals. Hides originate from larger animals from which leather is obtained. Suede is the fleshy side of leather, produced by reversing the skins or hides and mechanically brushing the surface to create a nap. Ultrasuede is not leather, but synthetic fabric with a napped surface, made to look like leather. Typically, leathers come from domestic animals such as cattle, goats, sheep and pigs. But specialty leathers may also be obtained from other animals. Leather is a rugged but unique product that requires special care.
There are numerous types of leather and suede incorporating a large variety of tanning methods, finishes, dyes or colorants; protectants, sealants, oils and waxes; plus special texturing, finishing and patterning to impart final appearance. Production of leather begins with removal of the animal skin as well as hair and fibers. The skins are then subjected to the tanning process. Tanning is used to displace water and fluids remaining in the skin and to prevent it from future spoilage and deterioration. Following the tanning procedures, the leather may be split into different thickness depending on the intended usage and further finish needed.
There are three general classes of leather, known as A, P and N. These letters denote aniline (A) or unprotected leather, protected (P) or pigmented, and Nubuck (N) Aniline is a colorless material used for making dyes and resins. In upholstery covering, aniline finishing produces a more natural looking but unprotected leather, often with surface texture and markings. At best, it is given only minimal coating or short term surface protection. Aniline leather's porous surface is covered with only a clear or transparent dyestuff and has little or no protective treatment or water repellency.
Protected (P) leather is the most common and practical. It usually has a more uniform, colored appearance. It is dyed or pigmented, then specially treated and protected to better resist wear, usage and potential stains. The more protective finish that's applied, the greater is its durability during use. Nubuck (N) leather is least used for upholstery and often confused with suede. Nubuck is an aniline type leather, but one where the surface has been brushed like velvet, making it soft and comfortable. True suede leather is seldom used for upholstery coverings.
One of the most important consumer decisions with leather furniture is to properly protect it when new. Unprotected leather furniture is especially prone to damage from food and drink spills, stains, scratches or scars, color and texture changes. It's vitally important to have a leather care professional apply a soil, spill and stain repellent to your leather furniture. This initial cost is worth the investment in protecting and enhancing the useful life of your leather. It's also necessary to do periodic conditioning with leather. This can and should regularly be done by consumers using leather care products. But for quality and expertise (including rehydration, cleaning and conditioning), the job is best entrusted to a leather care professional.
Choosing leather wisely at time of purchase will assure its longevity and satisfaction. A quality leather product, appropriate for its intended usage, is the smart choice. Delicate, specialty or unprotected leather furniture should not be placed in family rooms or high usage areas. Colored or dyed leathers are prone to fading and color loss, especially when exposed to sunlight. If you do have an accident or spillage, immediately scrape and blot up as much as possible. Promptly contact an Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration leather care specialist to minimize further damage. They might be able to remove some stains and recondition or repair the affected areas. Further specialty care may also include treatment to the surface finish, coloring or redyeing to match, refinishing and then conditioning or protecting the leather.
Latex is an adhesive material applied by the carpet or rug manufacturer to anchor tufts to the back, give additional weight and to hold the backing onto the rug.
Latex starts to deteriorate as soon as it is put into service, similar to the rotting of automobile tires, elastic bands in garments and rubber bands. The breakdown is caused by gases in the air, floor waxes, traffic and sunlight.
A complex mixture, latex contains many chemicals affecting both its wear properties and cost. Chemicals are added to latex in an effort to retard this breakdown, but cannot prevent its taking place. Other chemicals are added to reduce cost. Such chemicals could be compared to gravel in a concrete mixture; they take up space but have no adhesive properties. Increased use of this material reduces the adhesive power of the latex, causing an earlier breakdown and, therefore, a separation of the backing from the rug.
The more expensive latex compounds will better withstand aging as well as cleaning, but even these will deteriorate eventually. The rate of the deterioration is influenced by the ingredients of the rubber mixture as well as the conditions under which it is used. This breakdown will not take place evenly, but will appear in smaller areas in the form of "bubbles" or separation. In many cases, it is more apparent along the rug edges exposed to gases in the air.
Haitian cotton is an upholstery fabric made from 100% cotton, grown in Haiti or India. The fibers are not thoroughly processed; as a result, bits of cotton seeds, stems and other plant components are in the yarn. These specks of brown give the fabric its natural and rustic appearance. The yarns are thick, coarse and usually off-white, cream or tan in color. Occasionally, they are dyed with colors such as red or blue, or may be two-toned.
Haitian cotton fabrics are very susceptible to cellulosic browning. The spillage of plain tap water is sometimes enough to produce discoloration. The seed particles will also release a brown dye when wet, and this stain may be impossible to remove completely.
Complications of this type could normally be overcome by professional cleaners, who can use a variety of dry cleaning solvents to supplement water-base cleaning solutions. Unfortunately, the weave of Haitian cotton fabric is too loose to stand alone and must be manufactured with a latex backing to bind the yarns together into a fabric. This backing is softened or degraded by dry cleaning solvents, so texture changes as well as color changes may occur with any type of cleaning.
Haitian cotton cannot always be safely cleaned by normal upholstery cleaning methods. Some professional cleaners may have specialty cleaning chemicals and techniques designed for handling Haitian cotton and similar fabrics. These techniques require more time and expense The degree of cleaning that is possible may still be less than is normally attainable, and some risk of staining may be present. We can advise you on the cleaning of your Haitian cotton upholstery.
Dyebleeding occurs when a colored fiber loses dye while wet. Uncolored or light colored fiber or yarn may readily soak up fugitive (runaway) dyes from the darker fiber or yarn and become stained. This is most often seen in rugs and carpet where deeply dyed shades (for example reds, blues, blacks) become fugitive and bleed into white or light colored areas.
At least two conditions cause dyebleeding in colored fibers and yarns. The first is a defective dye or dyeing method. In such a case, the dye is either poorly selected or not properly handled during manufacture. The result is excess, unsecured, weak and/or unstable dye. When a dye with poor stability or washfastness is used, it may bleed during or after the first few cleanings. Likewise, when too much dye is used during manufacture, the excess adheres near the outside of the fiber, where it may readily wash away. Such defects in dye or dyeing method, at the time of manufacture, produce a textile product that is defective. Unfortunately for the consumer, these defects are not visible at the time of purchase.
In the second condition, dye is affected by use. Sunlight, atmospheric fumes, common chemicals, animal/pet residues, and so forth can weaken dyes over time. Once dyes are weakened, they may run or bleed with cleaning.
If pretesting or experience does not indicate a potential dyebleeding problem, the carpet cleaner should not be held liable for using what would otherwise be usual and customary cleaning procedures.
Sometimes stains that have been hidden by soil are revealed after cleaning. These stains, which did not immediately cause discoloration, are often from spilled liquid containing colorless sugar that remained on the fibers. After long exposure to the air, they changed to insoluble brown stains. The stains may look like brownish discolorations, but often they remain unnoticed because of the accumulated soil covering them. Some food and drink stains may inevitably turn even darker from the necessary drying action after a thorough cleaning.
Other kinds of stains can be caused by water soaking through and dissolving materials that cause browning, or dissolving fugitive dyes from the back of the carpet, rug or upholstery. Because the fibers act as wicks, moisture will rise to the surface to evaporate, and discoloration will be left. Consumers who try to remove stains by using the wrong cleaning compounds and procedures may only make the stained areas more noticeable.
Professional cleaners use specialty cleaning and stain removal treatments to improve the appearance of forgotten drink spills—cola, coffee, tea, alcoholic beverages, soda and others. Even with the best treatments, some colored residue or caramelized sugar stain resulting from the prior spillage may remain.
To lessen the possibility of stain damage, immediate action should be taken. Thoroughly absorb all moisture and, when possible, put a half-inch thickness of clean, white, absorbent material, such as paper or cloth toweling, over the area and weight it down. Keep replacing with fresh absorbent material and repeat as needed. Then call us to learn how to remove the spot safely before it becomes a permanent stain.
Your carpet, rug or upholstery has had the best cleaning possible, done by skilled professional technicians using scientific methods recommended by the laboratory specialists of Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration.
Flatwoven rugs, or "flatweaves," comprise numerous types of rugs with names such as Aubusson, Berber, dhurrie, drugget, killim (kilim or kelim), Navajo, rag rug, soumak and Zapotec. These rugs are usually handwoven in a tapestry-like construction, and have a flat surface without a distinctive raised pile. Many f1atwoven rugs are reversible. Currently the most popular flatweave types are the dhurries with cotton or wool face yarns, killims with wool face yarns, and rag rugs made of cotton or polyester fabric scraps. Dhurries traditionally are woven in India and Afghanistan; killims usually are woven in Turkey, but also are produced in other countries; and rag rugs are woven in many countries, including the United States.
These popular rugs provide excellent service, along with good value and a pleasing appearance. Unfortunately, they also characteristically exhibit some problems when cleaned. The warp, or lengthwise yarns, in most flatwoven rugs are generally cotton, although they may be wool, or occasionally silk, in older or finer rugs. These lengthwise yarns are hand-wound onto the loom before weaving. Irregularities in warp and weft positioning, tension and weave structure appear in woven goods from even the best weavers. Additionally, there may be a range of variations in yarn twist and diameter. Cleaning reveals these inherent irregularities, which may or may not be visible before cleaning, in the form of curling, rippling, striping or buckling in the rug. The sides or edges of these rugs are especially prone to curling.
Some f1atwoven rugs may have pattern markings placed on the warp by the weaver. These are usually marked with colored chalk or ink (red, blue or black) to aid in the weaving The markings are completely hidden as the rug is woven, but since the markings are seldom colorfast they can bleed during cleaning. Since the cleaner has no way of predicting this inherent problem in advance, it is not the cleaner's fault.
The yarns on the surface of the rugs are sometimes bright, bold colors that may bleed when cleaned. Your professional Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration cleaner takes precautions to avoid this condition by using the most appropriate cleaning techniques. Despite cautious handling of such rugs, there is some unavoidable risk of dyebleeding (or color run) after cleaning. It may not be possible to remove dyes that have bled. This problem is linked to poor dye selection and improper dyeing and handling during manufacture. In addition, most dyes are weakened by age, exposure to sunlight, atmospheric fumes, and pet urine and spills—all of which contribute to dyebleeding before, during and after cleaning.
Many flatweaves have fringes that are continuations of the warp yarns, which are part of the rug's weave structure. All fringes fray and darken with age and dirt. Only special chemical treatment can lighten the fringe color. Some cleaners prefer to leave the fringe "natural" looking.
Flatwoven rugs have limited cleanability because their flat surface readily shows soil, dirt, dust, spills and stains. Many dhurrie rugs are designed in pastel colors and, hence, always appear more soiled than darker rugs. Flatwoven rugs, therefore, should be vacuumed regularly and cleaned more frequently than other rugs. Application of a fluorocarbon-based protective treatment may be advisable.
Draperies and other window textiles play an integral part in enhancing the comfort, beauty and luxury of a room. A variety of fabrics are available to consumers for use as draperies. Although fabric selection, installation and use conditions of draperies vary, all draperies in general are exposed to more destructive conditions than either wearing apparel, carpet or upholstery. Draperies may receive direct or indirect exposure to the harmful rays of sunlight. Draperies also interact with the air circulation system of each room. As a result, they accumulate dust and dirt, as well as residues from cooking, smoking, heating and other combustion. Higher humidity and temperature conditions tend to accelerate the damage caused by these destructive conditions. Therefore, various problems or changes in the draperies can occur as a result of use and exposure. Sometimes the changes occur so gradually that they are not even perceived until after cleaning.
The most common drapery problem is yellowing or development of yellow streaks. This occurs because of sunlight exposure, which can cause a yellowing of all fibers and breakdown of optical brighteners, sizings, coatings or finishes. Exposure to light can also reduce the strength of most fibers, sometimes after only a few months of use. The fiber content of the drapery fabric and its construction, and the additives and finishes used all influence the extent of sunlight damage. The weakened drapery and/or its lining may lack the strength to withstand the normal agitation involved in cleaning. Damage or shredding of draperies may appear after cleaning because of this loss of strength. There is no way to prevent light damage, but it can be reduced by having a good lining, and rotating draperies to minimize direct sunlight exposure.
Yellowing and weakening of fibers can also be caused by environmental pollutants. When moisture in the air reacts with gases such as sulfur oxide or nitrogen oxide, weak sulfuric and nitric acid are formed. (This phenomenon can be referred to as "interior acid rain.") These acids attack drapery fibers, resulting in a loss of strength. Again, these effects may not become evident until after cleaning.
Color changes can also occur on draperies. Most dyes are affected or weakened by exposure to sunlight, atmospheric fumes, heat vents, pet residues and the like. The weakened dyes may be removed or may run or bleed during cleaning.
Water marks that appear as tan, yellow or brown stains with heavy irregular edges can also develop. These are a result of condensed moisture or rain transferred onto the draperies. The stain is due to either a weak dye or dirt in the fabric that is carried along with moisture as it wicks into the surrounding drapery fabric. It is not removed during dry cleaning and even special spotting procedures are not always successful.
Shrinkage is another factor to consider. Some draperies can be observed to raise or lower with changes in humidity and temperature but, in many cases, draperies can be resized to their original length.
Abrasion damage or worn out areas can occur in draperies due to rubbing against the window sill, cornice, and walls.
To ensure that your draperies enjoy a maximum attractive life span, it is imperative to maintain them properly and have them cleaned regularly by reputable drapery cleaners.
Authentic Oriental rugs, by their very nature, have many variations because they are hand made rather than machine made. This hand manufacture results in certain distinct, beautiful and unique characteristics that set Oriental rugs apart from lesser reproductions. Rugs made by hand will always have certain variations in their surface coloration, density of hand knotting the pile, irregularities in shape along the edges or borders, and differences along the fringes or fringe ends.
One of the most common and typical characteristics of a real Oriental rug, and especially among older or “nomadic” rugs, is the beautiful color variation known in the trade as “abrash.” The effect of abrash is to create or produce differing color patterns, colorations, various shades or hues. Gradations can often be seen within one color or color field in the design, such as the blues, reds, browns or other colors. These variations may appear as bands or horizontal bars, but other shapes or sections of color variation are possible. Abrash coloration can vary from very subtle shade differences to distinct or even bold variations in certain colors of the rug.
Abrash results from differences in the dyeing process. Small quantities of skeins of pile yarn are dyed by hand before the rug is made. Each dye lot is hand knotted into the rug, but when another dye lot is next used, some color variation is inevitable. Connoisseurs of antique and semi-antique Oriental rugs value the beauty and handmade appearance that is typical of abrash.
Sometimes abrash color variation is covered over or obscured by soiling and compaction of the rug pile with use and wear. When the rug is cleaned, much surface soiling is removed and the pile is groomed and made more erect. The truer and authentic pile coloration is now revealed, along with some abrash color variations that were there at the time of manufacture. In addition, there is a possibility that slight variations in pile direction or “shading” will also be seen after a thorough cleaning. One or both of these effects show up as color variations in the rug.
These distinct colorations are not defects at all, but are characteristic of the many variables and dye lot differences that went into the original handmade rug. Indeed, some of the highest quality rug manufacturers spend a lot of time and money simulating this abrash in their machine woven rug designs. Abrash is part of the beauty and distinctive natural appearance of handmade Oriental rugs, and even of some machine made rugs that try to reproduce real abrash.
Older textiles and furnishings, especially those with a cellulosic fiber such as cotton, flax (linen), jute and similar fibers, can slowly degrade over time—sometimes years or decades. This lengthy, slow but relentless deterioration and weakening of the fibers leads to eventual damage that can be seen as rips, tears, slits or other structural damage in the fabric, carpet or rug. It may take a few years for dry rot to manifest itself, or it can take decades; sometimes 40 to 50 years or more. This misnomer “dry rot” implies that the rotting or damage took place in the absence of moisture, whereas the damage was previously done during some conditions of wetness and mildew. It is understood that although presently "dry," there were actually preexisting conditions creating localized or smaller, concentrated areas of moisture buildup and damaging fungus growth therein. Once dry, the result is weakened fibers that can easily be broken and have a dry appearance, feel or sound.
One condition that may have contributed to the onset of dry rot is prior uncontrolled wetness for long periods of time. Typical of this is the section of rug or carpet underneath plant pots, especially those planters made of clay that can transpire moisture and dampness into the carpet.
Another contributing factor may be residues in the base of the rug or carpet such as those typical of animal pet stains. Buildup of salts from pet stains become hygroscopic and thus "moisture attracting” and keep that section slightly damp for long periods of time. This condition in the textiles can thus cause moisture to be continually absorbed from the air and dampness to accumulate in the rug or fabric. The result is a slow but continual process of fungus growth and deterioration in the affected fibers or yarns of the rug or fabric. Rugs suffering from this condition may often smell during hot humid weather. The most common type of damage from dry rot occurs in cellulosic fibers that often make up the foundation (or unitary backing) of rugs and some woven carpet. Although the rug pile or face yarns may be wool or another fiber, it is actually the backing or foundation fibers that are more likely to be damaged. This ongoing condition of dry rot shows no outward or obvious signs while the damage is slowly accumulating. That is, until the real damage is done and some normal moving or handling of the textile brings this latent condition to light.
But eventually the affected yarns become stiffer, less supple and eventually brittleness sets in. This later condition typically results in a subtle but distinctive "crackling" or "snapping" sound when, for example, an older rug or carpet is bent or rolled between the hands. Very fine quality, very dense or tightly knotted Oriental rugs are especially prone to such damage. In advanced conditions, merely lifting or moving the rug, textile or fabric for cleaning or restoration can result in slits, rips or tears in the foundation of the rug, carpet, tapestry or fabric.. It is not caused by the customary and normal handling, but by the progressive "silent" damage that has been occurring for years before.
Unfortunately there's no remedy to reverse this premature aging process in the affected fibers. The damage has already been done and has occurred due to preexisting conditions during use. The prescription is for a careful, thorough professional cleaning and then any additional repairs needed to rebuild or reinforce the area of obvious damage. An antimicrobial/antifungal treatment to arrest some of the inherent conditions leading to damage may also be considered, but there's no assurance that the dry rot will not appear again in the same or other areas of your rug or textile in the future.
Corn rowing is a condition that may appear on carpets before or after cleaning. It looks like distinct rows of tufts have fallen over and the tips have become embedded in the carpet pile. It usually forms in a regular pattern, with every fourth or fifth row bending over, as might happen in a row of corn. The condition may develop in traffic lanes and under doors that scrape the carpet as they are opened and closed. It generally occurs perpendicular to the traffic direction.
Corn rowing appears most commonly on carpets made from fine, soft yarns, with a fairly high, cut pile. Inmost cases, the overall density is not adequate to support the yarns and keep them upright. If there is too much space between the rows, the tufts may be bent over when they are walked on. Soft, fine yarns do not spring back as readily as other carpet yarns made from heavier and denser fibers.
Although cleaning the carpet may bring the problem to light, it is not the cause of the distorted pile surface per se. Corn rowing is simply an inherent characteristic of certain carpet constructions. Vacuuming and raking the carpet perpendicular to the traffic patterns may help in some cases. In extreme situations, we suggest you contact the manufacturer.
Dyes are chemical compounds that are added to fibers to give them color. Sometimes these dyes react with chemicals or gases and changes in the color occur.
Fume fading is a reaction to gaseous pollutants, such as oxides of nitrogen or sulfur, in the air. It is a gradual change, accelerated by sunlight, heat, high humidity and the presence of acid on the fiber. The most common color changes are blues to pink, greens to yellow, and browns to red. The color change usually starts at the tips of the tufts and progresses toward the backing.
Ozone fading is caused by ozone gas in the atmosphere. It is also accelera1ed by high humidity and heat. Ozone is more prevalent around electrical motors, fluorescent lights and during lightning storms It is also formed by a reaction between light and pollutants in the air. Fibers subjected to ozone fading may lighten, turn white, or change from one color to another as in fume fading.
Some carpet fibers are dyed with Indicator Dyes. These dyes are sensitive to either acid or alkaline chemicals. An alkaline-sensitive dye will change color if exposed to ammonia or high alkaline (high pH) detergent. The color often can be changed back with dilute acetic acid (white vinegar). An acid sensitive dye will change color when exposed to vinegar or other mild acids (low pH) used in cleaning. The original color often can be restored with dilute ammonia. These color changes may not be permanent and often can be reversed. Other color changes due to strong chemicals (concentrated acids and bases or other reactive chemicals) are not a result of this "indicator effect" and may not be reversible.
Color changes that become apparent after cleaning are sometimes incorrectly blamed on the cleaner or cleaning process. In many cases, however, the color change is due to the ravages of time—the aging of dyes and fibers. Cleaning reveals the true color by removing dirt and loosened dyes.
Occasionally a brownish discoloration appears on a carpet or rug after it has been cleaned. One of the causes of this discoloration is a condition called cellulosic browning. In order for this discoloration to develop, several factors must be present: a cellulosic fiber, moisture and slow drying. A high pH or shampoo residue may also contribute to its occurrence.
Cellulosic fibers are present in all jute carpet or rug backings and are a major source of cellulosic browning. The drying time following carpet cleaning depends on humidity; during rainy periods and summer months, the air contains more moisture, making it more difficult for the moisture in the carpet to evaporate.
The age of the carpet is also important. Jute backings deteriorate in time and undergo chemical changes. These changes produce brown or red colorants (lignin), which can wick up to the face yarns and appear on the surface of the carpet after cleaning. As the carpet dries, the brown or red color remains on the tips of the tufts.
Cellulosic browning of a similar type occurs when newspapers are left outdoors, or gradually age indoors. Cellulosic materials in the paper turn brown and become brittle.
If browning does develop after cleaning, the discoloration can often be removed by professional carpet cleaners as it is not always a permanent stain. In other cases, however, the discoloration cannot be completely removed. This arises more often with wool, sisal or cotton carpets, or when the carpet is old enough for advanced cellulosic fiber degradation to occur.
Gum removal is the bane of many carpet owners. A common removal method requires simply freezing the gum with an ice cube, then cracking off the residue with the back of a spoon. This works when the gum is only on the surface of the carpet. This method can also damage the carpet, when the gum has been worked into the pile, by breaking off fibers during gum removal. There are increasingly fewer solvents available to consumers, and professional methods often require strong solvents. The Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration laboratory has documented a new, simple gum removal method for consumer and professional use. This method is most useful in situations where there is an occasional need to remove chewed gum.
Hand-held electric hair dryer
6 to 12 squares (3"x3") of polyethylene film [e.g. cut from Zip-Loc® bags]
Extra Strength Deep-heating Rub containing 30% methyl salicylate (e.g., Extra Strength Ben Gay® or equivalent)
Clear or white mild dishwashing detergent (e.g., Ivory clear or equivalent) mixed one teaspoon in one cup of warm water
White toweling and a sponge
Have squares of polyethylene film nearby. Heat the gum residue with a hand-held hair dryer set on high for 30 to 90 seconds. Do not bring the hair dryer too close to the carpet because it is possible to melt some carpet fibers with high temperatures. Use the polyethylene squares to remove as much of the warm softened gum as possible. The gum can be largely "picked off" the surface of the carpet. You will need to reheat the gum with the hair dryer, then pick and wipe it with a fresh square of film several times. This removes approximately 80% of the gum residue.
Rub one gram (1/2 teaspoon) of the extra strength deep heating rub evenly into the remaining gum residue. Heat the residue and deep-heating rub 30 to 90 seconds with the hair dryer. Wipe and pick the area repeatedly with fresh polyethylene squares. This is useful to remove the remaining bits of gum from between the carpet pile yarns. Work the area in one direction, then in the opposite direction. Repeat if necessary.
Soak a sponge in a mild detergent solution and partially wring it out. Blot the area containing gum residue with this solution to remove the deep heating rub, then blot the area with clean, dry, white, toweling to remove the excess solution. Blot the area with plain water to remove the detergent, finally blot with dry toweling. Allow the carpet to dry in daylight if possible. The daylight helps to gently bleach any residual color, especially from green-colored gum.
In some cases, there may be a slight stickiness remaining from the gum residue after the carpet has dried. Carefully reheat the area again with a hair dryer and remove the last traces of gum with polyethylene film using the picking and wiping motion described previously. This method works very well on synthetic carpets.
Correct installation is imperative for any carpet to perform successfully, both during use and after cleaning. Here are some points to consider any time carpet is installed or reinstalled.
Most residential and some commercial carpet is installed over a cushion or pad and is fastened to the floor by stretching the carpet onto pins protruding from wooden strips around the perimeter of the installation area. The wooden strip with projecting tacks or pins is known as "tackless strip," so named because it contrasts with the now-obsolete installation method whereby carpet was tacked directly to the floor.
A properly installed carpet must be fully stretched according to the manufacturer's specifications. All the "give" in new carpet must be removed during installation, so that no buckling, rippling or "growth" occurs during use. Unfortunately, many carpet installers now use a "knee kicker" device rather than a proper power stretcher. The knee kicker is seldom, if ever, capable of adequately stretching carpet to correct specifications. With use, the carpet shifts, especially in high traffic areas, and appears lumpy, with buckles, bumps and waves (or worse), and often requires reinstallation.
Another carpet installation problem is poor seaming when carpet sections are joined. Over time and with wear, the defective seam comes apart. A seam is no better than the quality of the seaming tape used and the care taken by the installer who joins the carpet sections.
Cut carpet edges first must be beaded or "buttered" with a line of carpet adhesive. The edges are then brought together, forming the seam, which is held in place with hot-melt seam tape or other manufacturer-specified method. Very few carpet installers do this step properly, if they do it at all. Low quality installation usually involves the use of a poor grade adhesive seaming tape, with the least amount of glue. The result is a weak seam, prone to break open when subjected to normal use or to the ordinary mechanical action of carpet cleaning.
Some woven carpets, such as Axminster or Wilton, call for specialized seaming methods. Many are made with natural fiber backing, such as jute or cotton, and even minimal shrinkage during wet cleaning may be enough to break open seams. These special woven carpets, and certain custom-made carpets, require either hand-sewn seams or use of only top grade seaming tape to properly join carpet sections. A split seam is the likely result of improper or insufficient seaming during installation; usually it is not the fault of the carpet cleaner.
Stretched-in carpets absolutely MUST be power stretched to avoid buckles and ripples later on. Alternately, many commercial carpets may be glued down, using a contact-type adhesive, which is a better method for carpet in high-use areas or under moving furniture. Proper trowel-notch size and "open time" (time it takes for the adhesive to develop "legs"), as well as proper floor preparation and adhesive selection are all required for a successful installation. A newer method of contract carpet installation is "double glue down." In this process, the cushion is glued to the floor, then the carpet is glued to the cushion.
Many consumers find "new carpet odor" objectionable. To minimize odor, it helps to air a new carpet before it is installed. The carpet retailer or the installer may be able to unroll the carpet and air it for a few days prior to delivery and installation. An in-plant rug cleaner, with controlled drying room facilities, also may be able to assist with airing new carpet. Once the carpet is installed, keep all areas well ventilated. Open windows, open the air conditioner's fresh air vent, keep inside doors ajar, and move as much fresh air as possible through the newly carpeted area. In a short time the new carpet will be "right at home," bringing great pleasure to all.
Dogs and cats may be our best friends, but not necessarily the best friends of our carpeting, draperies and upholstery. Neglected animal stains have been a problem ever since people and animals bonded together in companionship.
Urine: There are two types of reactions that can take place between the chemicals in an animal's urine and those in the dyes and fibers of textile furnishings. The first type of reaction is immediately noticeable. Some dyes can change color as soon as urine comes in contact with them. Often the original color can be restored by immediate application of the standard ammonia solution.
The other reactions develop slowly over several days to several months and can result in permanent changes to the dyes and fiber. Not only can the dyes change but some fibers may become weakened or destroyed by the aged urine. The decomposing urine can also produce an objectionable odor. After cleaning, these areas are more obvious because the soils that hid the changed color and damaged fibers have been removed. Also, dyes weakened by urine can be removed or bleed during cleaning.
The next time you encounter an animal accident, immediately absorb as much liquid as possible. Treat the area with the standard detergent solution. Absorb this into white tissues or toweling. Then blot the area with the standard ammonia solution. Again absorb this into toweling. Then blot the area with the standard vinegar solution. Absorb the area with toweling until it is as dry as possible. Place several dry white terry cloths over the area and weight down. Allow to dry a minimum of six hours.
Feces: Pet feces tend to be easier to deal with than urine. Compact deposits can be quickly removed with a plastic bag. The surface should then be cleaned with the standard detergent solution and blotted dry. Rinse the area with water and blot again. Follow this treatment with a disinfectant recommended by your veterinarian.
Loose feces require the same clean-up procedure as described above for fresh urine removal. This should also be followed with an application of disinfectant. If your pets' food contains red dye to make it look meatier, this could leave a red discoloration at the site of the accident. A professional cleaner may be able to remove this.
A word of caution: some disinfectants may cause discoloration of textile furnishings.
General Information: If immediate action is taken to remove the animal stains, little or no change in color should occur and that accident will not become apparent after your carpet or other textile has been professionally cleaned.
However, if the pet accident is forgotten or never discovered, it will return to haunt you. Dried urine will smell like strong ammonia when humidity is high or when the spot is rewetted. Feces and urine can contain harmful bacteria. A spot that is small on the surface of carpeting is often many times larger on the underside. The urine can damage both dyes and textile fibers as described above. The change usually isn't noticed until the textile furnishing is cleaned. The damage caused by aged urine generally requires professional restoration, possibly color tinting, and sometimes removal of the offending carpet and cushion.
A professional cleaner has methods available to minimize the discoloration, disinfect the area and reduce the smell. It is often impossible, however, to completely restore the original appearance of a textile furnishing that has been damaged with aged pet urine.
Standard Solutions: Test these solutions first by applying a small amount in an inconspicuous area to determine its effect on the fiber and dye. Wait thirty minutes to an hour to see if any color changes or other problems may arise.
- Standard white vinegar solution: one part white vinegar to two parts water.
- Standard ammonia solution: one tablespoon clear or sudsy, uncolored household ammonia in one cup of water.
- Standard detergent solution: one teaspoon neutral white or colorless detergent in a cup of lukewarm water. Make sure the detergent is bleach free.
One of the most common problems in recent years has been the occurrence of color loss in carpet or upholstery resulting from a chemical named benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide is contained in acne medications, other skin care products, dog mange medicine and adhesive activators. It is a powerful bleaching agent and can discolor most dyes used on carpet, upholstery or other textiles. The chemical discoloration appears as mysterious areas of bleached or lightened color, in places where no apparent spillage has occurred. The bleached areas are often of a yellow, pink, orange or off-white color.
Widespread use of acne medications containing benzoyl peroxide has increased the problem. Although the color loss can occur soon after the chemical touches the fibers, it often does not appear until some time later. The reaction is accelerated by high humidity, heat and moisture Itis particularly common for these spills to appear after rainy weather, or soon after a carpet or upholstery cleaning. Spillage of this medication may have been overlooked, only to have the forgotten spill reappear later! Inaddition to spillage of the medication, it is easy to unknowingly transfer the chemical onto the fibers from the hands or face. The medication does not readily wash off the skin, leaving enough behind to get onto carpet or upholstery where it causes color loss to appear without warning.
The bleached areas are permanently discolored, as the dye has been chemically damaged. These color changes that may become apparent after cleaning are sometimes blamed on the cleaner or cleaning process. However, the problem is due to the hidden benzoyl peroxide component of these acne medications when activated by heat and moisture.
Removal of odors will depend upon what is producing them and under what conditions they are treated. Odors are most commonly caused by spills. Spilled material produces an odor, or the odor develops from bacteria that is producing decay on the spillage. If the spilled material has not penetrated deeply into the fiber and thorough washing methods can be used, complete removal can usually be expected. The deeper the material penetrates into the fiber and the longer it remains, the more difficult it will be to remove completely. When limited amounts of cleaning solution must be used, only a small proportion of the odor may be eliminated. It is most difficult to satisfactorily remove odor producing stains from the backing of wall-to-wall carpeting and upholstered furniture.
Odors produced from materials such as animal waste are virtually impossible to eliminate completely. Often the most practical solution is to replace the affected part of the carpet and underpad or cushion with a new piece. In severe cases, the plywood subfloor may also need to be cleaned or deodorized and then sealed. Some odors, such as those produced by mildew, although removed, will recur with new mildew growth.
Natural fibers, dyes, finishing agents, foam or latex backing compounds may also have odors. If one is present in a new textile, a good airing should dispel it. It may, however, take from days to a few weeks for the new odor to disappear. On an older fabric, the most satisfactory solution is to attempt to replace the disagreeable odor with a more pleasant one.
Professional cleaners and restorers use highly effective deodorizers, special deodorizing equipment and freshening fragrances to reduce or to eliminate unpleasant odors from many sources. These include prior spillage; animal pet stains; and mold, mildew or musty conditions.
There are an increasing number of complaints about color loss, mysterious stains and damage occurring on carpet, rugs and upholstery. These can be due to bleaching and color loss of the dyes. The rise in occurrence of bleach damage parallels the popularity of consumer products containing strong oxygen type bleaches. These products are sold to consumers for spot and stain removal. They carry a trade name akin to "oxy-" or "oxi-" something. This prefix connotes an oxygen bleach (and oxidizing agent) as the main ingredient, in contrast to the more familiar chlorine bleach.
There are several causes that can contribute to fiber damage and dye loss, which unfortunately are permanent when they occur. First is the lack of care and attention by the consumer or user to pretest the product. But all product directions prescribe that it must first be pretested in an inconspicuous location. Many consumers avoid this step, although it's critical in determining if the dyestuff is sensitive to color change or loss of color from the oxi-type bleach.
A second cause of latent bleach stains is using these bleach products without proper mixing or dilution as required.. Recommended dilutions are low, usually 1/4 tablespoon per 16 ounces of solution. The adage "if it works, then more is better" is never safe when using bleach! Overuse can indeed result in permanent color loss.
Third is the product's use on upholstery, bedding or textiles instead of carpet and rugs.. When used on carpet and rug fibers, the solution might be safer. But on upholstery, there is an even greater risk of color change or dye bleeding. Directions often specify rinsing out these stain removers after use.. We know, however, that rinsing is not always done as required. In addition, most bleach-containing products state that they should not be used on wool, wool blends, silk, leather or non-washable items.
The oxi- or oxy-type bleaching products for stain removal may contain sodium percarbonate, or hydrogen peroxide. Color loss and bleach damage can result from using benzoyl peroxide acne medication and cosmetics. These products, when used in very dilute form, might be color safe on most textiles. But if used improperly or at higher concentration, they are capable of damaging textile dyes, resulting in a permanently bleached out area of color change or color loss.
Cleaners and restorers are often asked about or improperly blamed for these mysterious
bleach stains. Yet, the latent bleaching and damage was likely present before, or the color loss had already begun. Such color changes can be less obvious or obscured by dirt and soils prior to cleaning, only to be revealed after a thorough cleaning. If in doubt about their safe usage on any fibers or for your precious furnishings, contact an experienced Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration member cleaner or restorer. We can also provide a fact sheet on bleach stains caused by benzoyl peroxide acne medication.
There can arise a potential problem of slowly developing acid degradation on fabrics, especially fabric coverings to upholstery, but also draperies and textile wall coverings. This will slowly cause the fabric to appear darker or "burnt." The fabric and upholstery will become discolored to a tan, orange or brown color over time. The problem may be seen as irregular areas, streaks and blotches or an overall condition of discoloration with tan, yellow, orange or brown staining. This can happen when the fabric or furniture is treated with an acid or acidic finish.. During ordinary usage, the fabric is subsequently exposed to light, heat and moisture from sources such as sunlight, heat registers or radiators, and later wet cleaning. These conditions provide the environment that can contribute to acid type burns on cotton and cellulose fabrics..
The most common fibers and fabrics affected are those containing cellulosic fibers— namely cotton, rayon, flax or linen—and blends made from these fibers. One of the more common causes of acid burning is from applied finishes and acid salts used as fire and flame retardants (FR). These can often be found on natural fiber lining fabrics that cover cushions stuffed with goose down, feathers or cotton batting. Over time, the acid can migrate out to the face yarns and discolor the upholstery fabric. Customary wet extraction cleaning, the most widely used cleaning process, can inadvertently accentuate prior damage caused by acid burning.
Acid burning problems from fire and flame retardants have been occurring for more than ten years, although they are fairly rare. It appears to happen more so on higher quality, custom-made furniture and draperies. We believe the cause is the formation of oxycellulose and other tan-brown colored degradation products that can occur in cotton, rayon and other cellulosic fabrics. It can take several years for this discoloration to fully occur. But not all flame retarded upholstery linings, interliners, cushion covers or FR treated draperies will cause this problem. Certain FR treatments and fabric finishes are more acidic than others, contributing to the development of acid burn stains over time.
We do not know of any practical, definitive tests to foresee this problem prior to upholstery or drapery cleaning. Once these tan or brownish stains develop, they likely cannot, in our experience, be permanently eliminated. Oxidizing or reducing bleaches can temporarily improve the appearance by lightening some discoloration, but later (weeks or even months) the darker coloration or staining may return.
This information was provided with permission from the
Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR)