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A to Z Cleaning Service Glossary & Guide

Animal Fibres are natural fibres that consist of proteins. Instances are silk, wool, mohair, camel. The properties of animal fibres vary. For instance, merino is soft fine wool, while Cotswold coarse one.

Bast Fibre /Flax, Hemp, Jute/ is a plant fibre collected from phloem (the ‘inner bark’ or the skin), or bast surrounding the stem of certain plants. Most of the bast fibres are obtained from cultivated herbs, such as flax and hemp but also bast fibres from wild friends. Flax fibre is soft, lustrous and flexible. Compared to cotton it is stronger but less elastic. Jute is a long and soft vegetable fibre that is spun into coarse and strong threads. Jute is an affordable natural fibre and is second only to cotton in production and usage.

Carpet Protectors. There are three basic types of carpet protectors - Colloidal Silica, Silicones, Fluorochemicals. Colloidal Silica prevents soil from becoming embedded by filling up pores. Silicones work as a water repellant coating. Fluorochemicals shield the fibres and prevent soil and stains from sticking.

Dry Cleaning is a cleaning process for fabrics using a chemical solvent. The solvent used is typically tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene). It is used for washing delicate fabrics.

Equipment for hot water extraction method includes a vacuum system with capacity from 30 PSI to 3 000 PSI. The vacuum efficiency is measured by inches of lift and air flow. The inches of lift measures the pulling strength of the vacuum and the air flow measures the quantity of water, dirt and air to be removed. The preconditioning step involves a chemical to emulsify and suspend the oxidized oils and soils.

Flocked Fabrics are created with the help of electrical currents by embedding nylon fibres vertically onto a backing material covered with a latex adhesive. Extra care is needed when cleaning this fabric as the adhesive can be easily dissolved.

Good absorbency means that the fabric reacts well to a number of dye types and techniques. On the other hand, it also means good staining.

Hot Water Extraction Method involves injecting of chemical and hot water solution at high pressure and immediate vacuuming thus extracting the solution and the dirt from the carpet.

Ink removal. Most ink is permanent by nature and not all of them come out. The ink contains a concentrated pigment that is carried out in a solvent soluble resin. If the resin is removed from a fabric without the pigment, the stain becomes difficult to remove.

Jute is a long, soft and shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into strong threads. It is one of the most affordable natural fibres and is second in production and usage. Jute falls into the category of bast fibres.

Knitted Fabrics are elastic and they can stretch easily, depending on the material and knitting pattern. Due to the lack of dimensional stability, they are rarely used for upholstery.

Leaf Fibres. Sisal is an example of a leaf fibre. Fibre is extracted by crushing the leaves and beating them by a rotating wheel with blunt knives so that only fibres remain. Traditionally used for rope and twine, sisal has many uses, including carpets.

Mineral fibres comprise Asbestos. It is the only naturally occurring long mineral fibre.

Nylon fibre is the most common synthetic fibre. Many of its strengths include abrasion resistance, elasticity and low absorbance. Unfortunately, it stains easily and bobbling can appear on the surface of some fabrics.
Natural fibres are divided into animal, vegetable and mineral fibres. Not all of them are seen in upholstery, but some can be used as facing fibres and some as stuffing.

Olefin, also known as Polypropylene, is a synthetic fibre. It is a hydrophobic fibre and repels water which makes it more difficult to stain.

Pre-Cleaning inspection is necessary to gather information that will help the professional carpet technician to carry out his job more successfully. During the walk-through the level of soiling is inspected, the condition of the carpet is assessed, furnishings are considered, draperies and skirts from upholstery and preventing them from resting on the cleaned carpet are thought through, the need of any forced drying machines, if any, is kept in mind. During the walk-through, all the impressions from the condition of the carpet and the processing of cleaning are discussed with the customer.

Polyester fibre is relatively strong, abrasion resistant and resilient. It is a non-absorbent fibre and is cleaned easily. It doesn’t shrink or stretch and is resistant to wrinkling.

Quilting is an effect produced by stitching together three layers of fabric in a pattern, thus forming lifted areas. The three layers include the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and backing material. Quilting is done on bedspreads, clothing, and a variety of upholstery fabrics.

Quick drying - air movers, ventilation and dehumidifiers.

Rotary Shampoo Method or dry foam cleaning method is used as the first step in a process, followed by extraction. The foaming surfactant base used is a good lubricator and provides good soil suspension. The disadvantage of this method is that even if extraction process is involved, it does not provide such thorough soil removal as the hot water extraction method.

Rayon fibre is one of the first man-made fibres introduced as an alternative to silk. It is a cellulose material made up of cotton linter and wood pulp.

Soil types are divided into water-soluble which is mostly acid, solvent soluble, such as grease and body oils, and insoluble - such as sand and pet hair.

Stains can be absorbed, built-up or compound. The compound one is a stain that is absorbed into the fibre and has a built up on the surface as well. The built up stain is more successfully removed.

Seed Fibres are vegetable fibres. Examples of seed fibres are cotton and coir. Cotton fibre comes from the seed pod of the cotton plant.

Tufted fabrics are produced by inserting yarns through a woven backing material. Latex is applied to the opposite side of the fabric for securing the tufts. Tufted fabrics are rarely found in upholstery.

Urine leaves the body in an acid state. Besides its main ingredient- the uric acid, it also contains yellow pigment, enzymes and other chemicals. The uric acid changes upon leaving the body, the urine begins to oxidize and react with the carpet, which results in a colour change. If the urine is not removed, the colour change will become permanent.

Vegetable fibres are natural fibres.  Vegetable fibres are divided into seed, bast and leaf fibres.

Woven Fabrics are produced by the interlacing of many yarns. Examples of weaves are the plain weave, basket weave, twill weave and satin weave.

Xenon Arc Lamp is used in the lightfastness fadeometer test. It contains xenon, which is a special gas producing an intense light that speeds up the colour fading reaction. The fadeometre measures that an ink sample will fade when exposed to light.

Yarn dyeing could be skein dyeing and space dyeing. With skein dyeing, the fabrics have been spun into yarns. With space, dyeing yarns pass under rollers applying different colours.

Zippers condition check is part of the pre-inspection of the upholstered cushions for ink marks on the foam and the back of the fabric.

• Carpet Cleaning Technician, Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) course, National Flood School.
• Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician, Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) course, National Flood School.