12 Carpet Cleaning Terms to Know
Every profession has its own insider terminology, and carpet cleaning is no exception. Let’s look at 12 terms you might encounter as you talk with your carpet cleaning professional.
- Browning – The effect created when stains reappear because soil residue or old, dark-colored stains rise to the carpet surface.
- Builder – Compounds added to cleaning solutions to soften water and boost cleaning effectiveness.
- Clouding – The effect created when carpet is wetted and residue from past cleaning solutions rises to the surface, creating a cloudy effect.
- Digester – An enzyme-based cleaner that breaks down or digests stains to make them easier to remove.
- Fiber – The primary material used in the carpet pile. Fiber type is important because it determines cleaning methods and solutions. About 90% of carpeting is made with synthetic fibers like nylon, while roughly 10% consists of natural fibers like wool, bamboo or silk.
- Grooming – Some cleaners use this term to describe the process of applying a pretreatment and working it into the carpet fibers with a grooming tool. Others use it to refer to the final step where a grooming tool is used to distribute final protective treatments and remove cleaning marks, fluff the pile and produce a smooth, even appearance.
- Mat – Areas that have a crushed appearance because carpet fibers have been flattened and entangled by constant foot traffic or sustained heavy weights.
- Nap – The direction in which carpet fibers are woven into the backing creates nap, which causes light to reflect differently when carpet is viewed from different angles. Carpet is laid with the nap running the same direction for an even, consistent appearance, and professionals often clean carpet “with the nap” to preserve its overall appearance.
- Oxidizer – This class of cleaning product reacts with oxygen and is used to remove stains such as coffee, urine or those made by dark furniture. Oxidizers are effective on a variety of stains and most carpet fibers, but they can damage wool fibers and cause yellowing over time.
- POG – This acronym refers to carpet-safe spotting agents formulated to remove paint, oil and grease (POG).
- Reducer – This is a cleaning solution that eliminates or reduces oxygen levels in stains, making them easier to remove. Reducers are less likely to yellow, so they’re often used on wool carpet. They’re effective against a variety of colored stains, particularly those produced by foods, drinks and artificial food coloring.
- Stripper – This insider term describes cleaning agents that reduce or strip oxygen levels from spots and stains, making them easier to remove or minimizing their appearance. Many professionals avoid this term, because customers find it confusing.