Application Technology - Fiber Properties - CEBE Reinigungschemie GmbH

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Application Technology - Fiber Properties

Carpets and carpeting is not all made equal - if this were the case, then there would only be one cleaning procedure and the result would be easy to predict.

The type of fibre, how it is applied or integrated into the backing, its density, and mechanical properties that are often built into the material during production decide or rather determine the cleanability of the carpet.

The professional carpet cleaner does not only have to keep in mind the different fibre types, but also has to know their properties in order to determine the correct procedure for cleaning the carpet.

Each fibre has its pros and cons.

Here in Europe 4 different fibre types are currently being used in commercial production. They are:

• Polyamide (Nylon) 85% market share
• Wool  5% market share
• Olefine (Polypropylene)  5% market share
• Polyester <1% market share

Nylon is a very durable and resistant fibre. It is ideal for commercial settings.

+ high resilience
       + is easy and variably dyeable
       + reasonably colourfast
       + relatively easy to clean
       + does not attract oily dirt

- stains easiest with food and drinks
       - bleach can easily remove the dye

Polyamide may be cleaned with any of the available methods, also with a large variety of cleaning products also of an aggressive nature - this is what makes it so ideal for commercial settings.

Wool - the natural fibre. Even though the share of wool is comparably small, 5% of several million square metres is not a small amount.

+ Natural resistance
       + withstands mechanical wear
       + may be dyed in many varieties
       + footwarm
       + fire resistant
       + hides soil

- expensive
       - may felt (too much scrubbing or brushing may cause this, or alkaline cleaners)
       - dissolves in chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite)
       - not always easy to clean
       - stain removal is often difficult
       - use of strong chemicals not possible (choice of products limited)
       - colourfastness often a problem (bleaching by exposure to intense sunlight)

Wool is, especially in private settings, an excellent fibre that may last a long time. It is however extremely sensitive, which makes it difficult to clean, especially when it has not been cleaned in regular intervals.

Olefine (Polypropylene)

+ very colourfast (dye is added to the pellets before melting).
       + very resistant to chemicals
       + does not stain easily

- not very resistant to mechanical wear - quickly wears down
       - wicking effect very strong
       - low melting point
       - attracts oily dirt

Olefine is very suitable for outside use or wherever moisture is likely to be found, basements.
Polyester is not very common anymore, but you never know...

+ good grip (very soft)
       + colourfast
       + withstands bleach to a certain degree
       + natural resistance to staining

- very poor mechanical resistance
       - attracts oily dirt
       - wicking effect very strong

Polyester looks great but is, especially regarding its mechanical resistance only suitable as a decoration.
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