The various types of carpeting fibers used will for the most part determine a carpet or rug's characteristics.
A fiber can be categorized as either:
- A natural fiber, which is produced from living plants or animals:
- those produced from plants are known as cellulosic fibers.
- generally not used in the face yarns (the part of the carpet you walk on) of manufactured carpet but rather as the backing material or in the construction of a woven carpet or rug.
- they stain easily, are very absorbent, are subject to cellulosic browning, shrinkage and mildew.
- cotton, jute, rayon, sisal, sea grass, and cordage (paper) are all types of cellulosic fibers.
- those produced by animals or insects are known as protein fibers. This category of fibers include wool and silk.
- A wool fiber has the advantage of being flame resistant, resistant to mild acids, is strong, resilient, and can be easily dyed. This fiber can be damaged by highly alkaline cleaning products. Although wool repels dry soil well, it can be easily stained.
- Silk is naturally non-flammable and is a strong fiber. This fiber can be damaged by highly alkaline cleaning products and is very absorbent.
- Synthetic fibers, classified as thermal plastic resins, are derived from petroleum, coal or natural gas by-products. Four different types of synthetic fibers comprise almost all the face yarns used in carpet manufacturing today. The four, listed in order of popularity are: nylon, polypropylene (olefin), polyester, and acrylic.
- The nylon carpet fiber accounts for over 50% of all manufactured carpeting sold.
- Nylon is a long wearing fiber that cleans well, is soil and stain resistant, moth and mildew proof, easily dyed, and economical.
- Nylon may discolor from sunlight or oxidizing pollutants, and can be easily stained by foods, beverages and other substances containing dyes. High alkaline cleaning agents (over 10.0 on the pH scale) can affect the stain resistance of nylon carpet.
- The polypropylene or olefin carpet fiber is gaining popularity in manufactured carpeting.
- Olefin offers excellent stain resistance, cleans well, is mildew and moth proof, non-allergenic, abrasion resistant (long wearing), and is economical.
- Polypropylene is not resistant to oil based soil. Another disadvantage is its poor resilience (remains matted or crushed with foot traffic).
- Polyester is a lesser used carpet fiber. It looks and feels like nylon but offers some advantages over nylon.
- Polyester offers good color retention, is soil and stain resistant (non-absorbent to water based stains), strong (abrasion resistant), moth proof and mildew resistant, non-allergenic and can be recycled.
- Polyester does not offer good resiliency and can absorb oil based soil.
- The acrylic fiber is predominately used for blending with other fiber types rather than alone in manufactured carpeting. The appeal is it's wool-like texture and appearance.
- Acrylic is a strong fiber that wears well, resists staining, is mold and mildew proof, non-allergenic, and retains its color well.
Written by: Healthier Cleaning Products;
Posted by: spiderling.com