Wool in a carpet is a complete game-changer for the professional carpet Technician.
Woolen carpets are VERY absorbent, and retain moisture at 4 TIMES the rate of your standard man-made carpet – Why is this a problem?
Better described as ‘problems’! – they are numerous, especially for a carpet technician. These are the key ones below:
a. Removing Spills and Staining.
Many [woolen carpet] customers ask me why their cleaning efforts have actually made the area worse! This is often due to the high moisture retention of wool.
- Over-wetting a spill/mark often just spreads out the material that you are trying to remove
- Most DIY products are not suitable for wool, as they are quite alkaline, and often bleach out the carpet dyes, leaving little white patches
- This is worsened as most do not have a high powered wet vacuuming device to draw out the dirty liquid either, so the dirty water ‘fixes’ onto the fibres as it dries
- Water corrodes wool if it is not thoroughly removed and dried after a clean-up. This is called ‘browning action’
- To make matters worse, many tannic spills on wool, like tea, coffee, wine, colas, bio stains like urine, do not respond to DIY cleaning products, once they start drying on.
b. ‘Steam’ Cleaning/High Pressure Cleaning
This is a common technique for commercial carpet cleaning; but it’s not at all good for woolen carpeting! The absorbency of wool is still the major factor; and there are also other danger factors:
Firstly, there is a difference between hot water extraction and steam cleaning. Wool carpets clean beautifully up to an absolute maximum rinse of 65ᵒC, with hot water extraction, and with a much more moderated water rinsing pressure than usual [i.e. less water in the carpet]
- Steam cleaning tends to work by blasting the carpet with a large quantity of highly pressurised boiling water– on man-mades this is usually OK; as polyamide fibres only absorb water at about 4%.
- As the woolen carpet dries, the excess water can often shrink it.
- High temperatures are also really bad for wool because it strips the fibre of its natural lanolin, which weakens it, and also destroys its natural conditioning and sheen.
Therefore you should NEVER use steam cleaning as a cleaning method on woolen carpeting!