How Does Stain-Resistant Carpet Work?
Consumers have become quite demanding. We expect that the things we buy and use will last a long time, work properly and outlive the warranty. Our high expectations extend straight down to our carpets. We expect them to resist staining and look new for many years. Fortunately, with modern stain-resistant applications, we can get years and years of life out of our carpets with proper care.
Understanding Stain-Resistant Fibers
True stain-resistant carpet is referred to as 5th generation nylon. Although these fibers are stain resistant, they are not stain-proof. In order to understand how carpet can be made stain-resistant, we have to define what a stain is.
A stain is something that has added color to the carpet fibers, and cannot be removed with regular cleaning. Some stains are fairly simple to remove. Others are difficult or even impossible to remove completely. One type of stain that gives owners of carpet nightmares is the red food coloring typically found in soft drinks. These products dye the fibers in much the same way that carpet is dyed at the factory.
5th generation nylon carpet fibers are factory-dyed using an acid-based dye system. This means that the dye registers on the acid side of the pH scale. Nylon fibers have microscopic areas on the surface called dye sites. These dye sites are negatively charged. The acid based dyes are positively charged, as are many staining agents like food coloring. Opposites attract, and the molecules of dye attach themselves to dye sites on the nylon fibers giving you the color you want. However, staining agents can do the same thing.
The Magic of “Invisible Dye”
When the carpet is dyed, not all of the dye sites are filled. This creates an open space for any acid-based, positively charged stain molecule to attach itself. To help prevent staining, fiber producers invented a process where they fill the open dye sites with what can be described as “colorless dye”. These “colorless dyes” are called acid dye resistors (ADR’s). ADR’s make it very difficult for stains to permanently enter the dye sites, buying you precious time to blot and remove a spill before the spot becomes a permanent stain. If it weren’t for ADR’s, most food spills would instantly stain the carpet for good!
ADR’s are not the same as carpet protectors like Scotchgard or Teflon, which are referred to as fluorochemical soil retardants. Fluorochemical soil-retardants help carpet resist common soils, spots and spills. It’s the combination of soil retardants and acid dye resistors that make modern carpet last much longer and clean up much more easily than carpets of a generation ago.
There are things that can damage the factory-applied acid dye resistors. Untrained, uneducated carpet cleaners using the wrong type of cleaning agents can void your carpet’s stain-resist warranty. That’s why Hansen Steam Way is always your safest choice when it comes to having your carpets professionally cleaned.
Hansen Steam Way use the methods, cleaning agents and equipment most recommended by major carpet manufacturers. When we apply a quality fluorochemical protector, your carpets stay cleaner longer. The result is that your carpets look beautiful, resist stains and last longer, maintaining your valuable warranty.