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Carpet Cleaning Issues - Carpet construction, upholstery cleaning, stain removal, equipment, events, etc.

carpet testing

Posted by paul@ctcs (paul@ctcs), 12 November 2003

i would appreciate it if someone would be kind enough to tell me the best way to test what a carpet is made of as i understand using water too hot in a HWE machine on wool carpets can have bad results,also how hot is too hot?

many thanks

Posted by Fintan_Coll (Fintan_Coll), 12 November 2003
Paul ,you should try to find a NCCCA course or some similar course, carpet fibre identification is very important. Wool. I never exceed 60 degrees, but other people may differ.
Posted by paul@ctcs (paul@ctcs), 12 November 2003
Thanks fintan i`ll look into the course.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 13 November 2003
Hi Fintan

I do agree.... ask a domestic lady customer if she would wash Woollens in hot water....the look of horror on her face will give you the answer.

Gets the message across

Posted by mike_halliday (mike_halliday), 13 November 2003
Derek, you are comparing apples & oranges, when you wash your woolens in the washing machine they are totally submerged at a constant temp' for about 20mins, when you clean a wool carpet the hot water hits the carpet and is removed  in seconds also the water temp' is reduced almost instantaniously.

Wool carpet are widely used in pubs & nightly clubs due to thier resistance to burning. pub carpets get really trashed so most T/M owner who clean these carpets will blast them with very temps

I think Identifying what the fibre becomes more important when choosing what chemical to use and in advanced stain removal.

Paul, you need a burn test chart I would do a search on the net to find one, if you get really stuck email me and I'll photocopy one for you
Posted by woodman (woodman), 13 November 2003
Hi Paul

Agree with the above, get yourself booked on a course.

In the mean time the burn test is a very good way of identifying fibre content and type of cleaning to carry out as a result.Also the float test to establish if carpet is olefin.

High temperature cleaning should no longer be a problem due to improved construction and infact it will improve cleaning results with the exception of Belgium Wiltons (Derek don't get me started Grin) you should be able to quite happily clean at high temperature, and I do every day, with no side effects at all.

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 13 November 2003
I go with Mike on temperature for wool. I seem to remember reading in, I think, one of Eric Brown's books, that wool, although sensitive to higher temperatures, is only exposed to it for a mere moment, so for our purposes, he considers temperature irrelevant re. safety.

As for Paul, I would go along with the others re. training. The NCCA would be my first choice course, but there are other excellent courses available. The ones that spring to mind are Prochem, Chemspec and IICRC. As is often the case, geography may dictate which one you use.
Posted by paul@ctcs (paul@ctcs), 13 November 2003
thanks guys for all your help i`ll book my self on a course and search the net for info on burn testing.

many thanks

Posted by Dynafoam (Dynafoam), 13 November 2003
Another post in line with Mike and Ken re. temperature for HWE cleaning of wool !

However I would point out the temperature limits may apply to the chemical being used eg. S781 iquid Woolsafe (one of my favourites) requires that the temperature be limited to <65oC for the self-neutralising action to take place.

Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 13 November 2003

A very simplistic approach to carpet fibre identification.


If you suspect it's synthetic, take a tuft or two. Make sure there is no adhesive or other foreign body attached. Soak it in water so there are no air bubbles present, then immerse in a glass of water. If it returns to the surface it's polypropylene. All other fibres, natural and synthetic, will sink.


Burn a tuft of uncontaminated yarn carefully. If it's wool it will smell of burning hair and have a soft ash. All synthetic fibres will have a hard bead when cool.

Upholstery fibres tend to be more complex because of the various blends, but usually there's an identifying label.

Hope this simplistic view helps.

Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 14 November 2003

As my tec cosultant.

Due you carry out a burn test in customers home.

Have you put together special kit.

I use small round metal bowl and matches.

Have you any better ideas.

Also do you do ph  test as a matter of routine.

On oriental wool rug do you think it would be ok to use temp above 65c ie water through my heat exchanger as oposed to hand warm water from tap.
Posted by Ken_Wainwright (Ken Wainwright), 14 November 2003
Yes Ian, the more you can demonstrate your technical knowledge and expertise to your prospect/customer, the more confidence they have in your ability, and helps to justify why you may be a little more expensive than companies X,Y or Z. It is only occasionally that I need to carry out a burn test. As I use a Woolsafe solution for everything, I don't usually need to know the fibre from the chemistry angle. I carry out the test in the kitchen. Never use a match to burn the fibre, the sulpherous odour may confuse your diagnosis. Use a lighter. Hold the sample in tweasers to protect your little pinkies, working over a dish or suitable container. Make sure the sample has cooled before you touch it. I posted elsewhere a few months ago about a burn test where the molten bead stuck to my thumb. OUCH Cry

I rarely pH test my solutions. I'm more likely to test the carpet for it's pH value if there's any area of concern on the job.

Why would you need to exceed 65C on a rug? Orientals have enough problems on their own without adding to them. I'm thinking of special finishes, rucking,  etc.
Posted by woodman (woodman), 14 November 2003
What do you think the cigarette lighter in the van is for?

Burn Tests of course Grin
Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 14 November 2003
I dont need to exceed 65c but my heat exchanger does.

At present I dont use it on a rug just wondered if I could.

Posted by Ian_G. (Ian_G.), 14 November 2003
I dont smoke and matches are cheap . I am going to invest 95p on Saturday and put it with my bowl and tweezers.

I think my orioginal one got nicked.
Posted by Derek (Derek Bolton), 15 November 2003

Don't forget that when contemplating cleaning wool / wool blend carpets at high temperatures that twists in the fibres are heat set.
Man-made twist pile carpets are heat set at much higher temperatures
High heat can and does in some instances have the effect of felting a carpet


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