If you have been thinking about upgrading your carpets, you will know what a difficult decision such a big investment can be. As well as the look of the carpet (which can make a huge difference to your home and even the value), the carpet cleaning division of Jim's Cleaning Group advises that you should consider aspects such as the fibre, length and make up of your new carpets as well as your budget.
The same goes for upholstery, drapes and rugs, all big investments and worth plenty of consideration. And even once you have decided on your carpet, you need to understand the stain and fabric protections available to help keep it looking new for much longer.
It may help to start by understanding the different fibres available for carpet and upholstery and how these can affect the long term care and look of your home.
To make things easier, Jim’s Carpet Cleaning have provided you with a summary of the main fibres both natural and man made making up today’s carpets and upholstery.
All fibres can be divided into two categories: synthetic and natural. Natural fibres are fibres that come from natural sources such as plants or animals. Synthetic fibres are fibres that are man made from thermoplastic material.
These fibres can be further divided into two categories, both of which are obtained from living organisms.
- Protein fibres – Those coming from animals
- Cellulosic fibres – Those coming from plants
These are usually wool and silk, but other protein fibres can be used i.e., leather (not really a fibre, but a hide), horse hair (pads) goat etc.
Wool comes from the fleece of sheep or lambs. This is one of the oldest fibres used by man, dating back over 2000 years. It is still one of the fine face yarns available for carpet.
Chemically, it is made up of standard organic elements including sulphur, which accounts for the wool smell when it is damp. If you come across wool in an upholstered fabric, it is usually more for a decorative effect.
Wool is not a comfortable fibre next to the skin. It is often blended with another fibre. Remember that most of your upholstery fabrics are blends of more than one fibre.
Silk is an expensive fibre and do to this expense you will never see it used in carpet. Silk is obtained from the cocoon of the silk worm. Silk is the only natural fibre that can really be considered to be a continuous filament fibre as opposed to a staple fibre.
Cellulosic fibres are fibres that come from plants. They are rarely used in the face yarn, but are extensively used in the backings of tufted and woven carpets.
Cellulosics, especially cotton, are used extensively in upholstery and drapery fabrics. With the exception of silk, these are delicate fibres you will clean and they are especially sensitive to over-wetting, pH, and slow drying.
Other categories of fibres include the following:
World War II brought about the manufacture of thermoplastic fibres. Until then fibres were either natural or synthesise from natural materials producing rayon and acetate.
Thermoplastic fibres are made of by products of the coal and petroleum industries, which produce plastics.
Synthetic fibres are made by forcing molten polymer through a shower head device called a spinneret. This liquid falls four stories and cools as it dries and solidifies into a yarn. This process is called extrusion.
Rayon and acetate are classified as a synthetic only because they go through this extrusion process. Because they come from cellulosic material, they must be treated like a natural.
Synthetic fibres include: