Carpet and Upholstery Anti-Stain Treatments Keeping Your Home Furnishings Cleaner Longer

Published: 04th November 2011
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Many people have different opinions about carpet and upholstery protectors, usually based on their own personal experiences, they are either fantastic or no use at all. I have taken this opportunity to explain a little about protectors to hopefully clarify what they are, how they work and what they can and more importantly what they cannot do.
Most protectors are based on fluorochemical chemicals, these are a variety of organic fluorine compounds which are man made and consist of fluorine and carbon atoms. Fluorochemicals have been applied to carpets and fabrics for about fifty years and give three characteristic properties:-
Oil Repellency
Water Repellency
Soil Resistance
Fluorochemical protective treatments work by lowering the critical surface energy of the fibres making up the carpet or fabric below that of the wetting liquid. In simple terms each fibre is coated with a fluorochemical shield which gives protection against spillages because fluorochemicals do not mix with oil or water. This does not mean, as I've been told a number of times that any spills will "pool" on the surface of the carpet or fabric, most spills will soak into carpet or fabric effected and can be removed usually by blotting however sometimes where there is a large amount of liquid or the liquid is hot or where a stain is more difficult, such as glues or dyes, specialists stain removal may be required. Soiling is a problem on carpets and upholstery because all household dirt contains a high proportion of oil which causes dirt to adhere to fibres. When a fibre is treated with fluorochemical the oil repellency means that there is poor adhesion between the fibre and the soil particle so that more soil can be removed by vacuuming. However it must be pointed out that even with a protection treatment any carpet or upholstery will become soiled over time although a treated item will remain cleaner for 2 to 3 times longer than an untreated item.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q Does the application of protectors affect the appearance of carpets or upholstery?
A No, protectors are invisible and odourless and does not affect the appearance or the feel of the item it is applied to.
Q Will protectors prevent fibres discolouring or fading on exposure to sunlight or over a long period pf time?
A Protectors do not prevent fibres discolouring or fading due to the effects of sunlight, UV or age, but nor do they contribute to it.
Q Do protectors prevent "wear and tear" of fibres?
A No, but because the treatment makes the removal of dust and dirt by vacuuming or cleaning easier, the fibres are less likely to be subject to abrasion caused by imbedded dirt.
Q Do protectors affect the flame retardancy of materials?
A No. It does not affect the inherent flame retardant properties of carpet fibres or flame retardant finishes, and can be applied to carpets treated with flame retardants.
Q Does a product treated with a protector need different care or maintenance than non-treated products?
A No. Every carpet or piece of upholstery requires regular care and maintenance. Ideally, items should be vacuumed regularly to remove loose dirt, and liquid spills should be dealt with promptly and items should be professionally cleaned from time to time. Items treated with protectors make cleaning more effective and helps the item look newer longer.
Q Can wool carpets be treated with a carpet protection treatment?
A Yes
Q Does the treatment come off when a carpet or item of upholstery is "steam cleaned"?
A Cleaning carpets or upholstery by hot water extraction (steam cleaning) has little effect on the properties of protectors. When items are cleaned by shampooing, it is important that no shampoo residues are left on the fibres as this can actually attract dirt particles.
Q Do protectors stop soiling on carpets or upholstery?
A No. Soft furnishings will always become soiled. Protectors help remove soiling more easily and effectively through regular vacuum cleaning compared to a non-treated item.
Q Do protectors wear off when a carpet is walked on or an item of upholstery is sat on?
A No, the molecules of protectors are strongly bonded to the fibres of carpets and upholstery and wear has little effect on the properties of a protector.
Q How long does protection last?
A Protectors have a very durable finish and in a typical domestic environment, with proper care, it will remain effective for many years. A combination of professional cleaning and wear will gradually reduce the level of performance over time, and "top-up" treatments can be applied to restore the level of protection.

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