How to determine what your carpet is
Knowing what type of carpet you have in your home or office is easy if you were the one who bought it in the first place, but here in London, this is rarely the case. We know that many of you are tenants and sometimes, even landlords, who are not sure what their carpeting is made of. Being aware of that is important not only when you decide to use a professional company for cleaning, but also when you are performing a cleaning procedure on your own. After all, we are sure that damaging your carpets or rugs is not in your priorities list. Here you will find some easy tips how to find what your carpet is made of:
Check the label
This is an obvious one, but we must address it. Many people assume there is no label on their rug, but in most cases, they have not tried to find it. Go around the edges of the carpet and check the wrong side of it for a label. Some manufacturers make really small labels, which will be useful exactly in this situation. If there is a one, you won’t need the following steps.
If there is not a label, but you happen to know the brand of your carpet or the store where it was bought, go online and search for it. You can find your carpet in an online catalogue and check in there, or call the store and ask for some help.
Make a test
If the options above are not helping, you can simply run a test to determine with what type of material you will work later. This test involves you cutting some fiber out of your carpet, so turn it on the backside and trim just a little bit near the edge. You need only 3 to 5 short fibres, so don’t trim too much.
The testing process requires you to burn those fibres and observe how the material is burning, the smell and the residue. In the best case you should use a butane lighter, but if you do not have one, grab a match or a candle. Be careful not to burn yourself or your surroundings. Use tweezers to grab the fibres and keep them a few centimetres from the flame. Observe what is happening, then put them directly into the flame and watch the reaction. After you pull them out, watch what is happening again. Keeping a clean ashtray or a plate (non-plastic) near you is also needed for collecting the residue.
- Nylon: When approaching the flame, it shrinks and melts. In the flame, it burns slowly and melts, smelling like celery. When pulled out of the flame, it burns slowly and tends to self-extinguish. The residue is hard,light-coloured bead, that is really hot.
- Wool: Wool does not ignite easily and curls when approaching the flame. One in the flame, it burns unevenly and slowly. When it is withdrawn from the flame, it is self-extinguishing. The leftover is cool, charred ash, that smells like burning hair.
- Acrylic: This material melts and shrinks when approaching the flame. It ignites quickly and burns with a bright, sputtering flame and a lot of smoke.It consinues to burn and melt once it is withdrawn from the flame. The residue is a hard, black bead, which is really hot and has an acrid (spoiled meat) odour.
- Polyester: Just like acrylic, it melts and shrinks from the approaching flame. It continues to burn and melt slowly in the flame. When pulled out the process continues and it drips. The smell is sweet (like a ripe fruit) and the residue – shiny black or brown bead.
- Polypropylene (Olefin): This material shrinks and melts away from the approaching flame. It melts and burns in the flame and when withdrawn from it, it continues to burn. It leaves behind a hard round bead, that is hot and light in colour and smells like candle wax.This is the only fiber that floats in water.
- Cotton/Linen: Cotton and linen are both types of cellulosic fibres. They burn easily when approaching the flame. In the flame, they burn with a yellow flame. When withdrawn from it, the material continues to burn with a red afterglow upon fading. The burned residue is gray to charcoal coloured light ash with smells like burning paper and easily crumbles.
Every material burns differently. Here is how to determine what you are dealing with:
Note: Download a printable pdf doc with the test table in it – Carpet Fiber Identification Guide & Test
We hope this tips will help you when determining what kind of carpet you have. If after running this test you are still not sure what is the material of your floorings, feel free to call us at 020 3868 1344 and schedule yourself an estimate. Our cleaners will be happy to check the type of your carpet for you and will leave it looking like new in the end.