Jacksonville Cleaning Olefin Carpet

Jacksonville Cleaning Olefin Carpet

Olefin is a popular material for manufactured carpet. Olefin is a synthetic fiber. It is made from petroleum byproducts. It is popular in broadloom carpet manufacture. Many homes have nylon in their bedrooms only to have an olefin in the family room. Jacksonville cleaning  olefin carpet requires certain ingredients that make it easy to clean.

These family room carpets are often Berber or loop (both even and uneven) and they are popular because of their bulk. Olefin carpet as a fiber is the least expensive yarn in carpet production. This is where the bulk or increased face weight comes from. Because it is a cheaper fiber, it is attractive for home builders looking to save money and still provide a loop configuration.


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Olefin cleaning challenges

The problem with olefin is in the way it is sold. For years it has been sold as a virtually indestructible. Carpet showroom employees typically mention to customers that olefin carpet can be cleaned with bleach. Let me be the first to say this is almost always a bad idea. The bleach simply adds oxygen to the spot and when used in excess can degrade the carpet backing and cause delamination. Moisture bypass to the backing is a real problem with olefin. Liquid go to the backing because the fiber holds no water.

Olefin is the most nonabsorbent fiber. Most fibers absorb a certain amount of water and this actually helps the cleaning process. Olefin has a specific gravity that is higher than water. If you cut off a piece of olefin and put it in a container of water it will float. More about this in a minute.

Super agitation for olefin carpet

Because olefin is solution dyed (it has no fiber dye sites like nylon or wool) it has some stain resistant characteristics. Another equally important negative characteristic is that the fiber is oleophilic – it loves oil. And this is really the Achilles heel of the fiber as far as cleaning goes.

Couple the lipophilic nature of the fiber with the unabsorbency, and we have a real problem. Most carpet soil that can’t be removed with a vacuum cleaner are oxidized oils. If during the cleaning the cleaning technician over wets the carpet trying to remove the stain, the water will migrate back to the top during the drying process. The oily dried soil wicks back to the top and the carpet is rapidly re-soiled.

Cleaning olefin stains typically calls for using aggressive agitation at the carpet face coupled with a surfactant that is alkaline based.


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I am the owner and founder of Fabric & Tile Masters and have decades of experience with all of the categories I write about. We refinish stone walls, counter and floors every day.

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