Many people fall in love with the look and feel of Berber carpet, even though it is more difficult to clean than some other carpet types. Berber carpets are somewhat different to other carpets and this means you have to understand what the differences are in order to clean them in the right way, otherwise you’ll not only fail in your carpet cleaning efforts; you may even ruin it.
Olefin vs. nylon
Carpet cleaners know that one problem is the more affordable Berber carpet is made from something called olefin, which attracts grease and oil. If you walk on this carpet in bare feet or if you spill a spot or two of cooking oil in the kitchen and inadvertently tread in it, that will make your olefin Berber really happy – and really dirty or dull. As soon as you walk on it, the grease and oil will go straight into the carpet fibres. This type of carpet is a headache to get clean, even for professional carpet cleaners.
Another kind of Berber is made from nylon and that’s good news if you happened to have bought it because it’s much easier to clean.
The tight weave
No matter what they are made from, all Berber carpets are known for their tight weave. This makes even cleaning them professionally difficult. The problem is that the tight weave gets wet and takes a very long time to dry. It is often the case that this dampness actually makes the carpet go mouldy. When that happens you may as well throw it out and start again.
Wicking and oil
The olefin Berber has another problem called wicking. Wicking is good in clothing when it takes the dampness away from your skin. In carpets it’s not so good because a freshly cleaned carpet will start wicking oily water away from the base to the top, making the carpet look dull and dirty again. If the carpet was very dirty to start with, another complete cleaning is often necessary.
You may think dry cleaning is the solution and it’s true that dry cleaning is better for a Berber carpet than steam cleaning, but dry cleaning still uses water in spite of being called ‘dry’ cleaning. However, it doesn’t use quite as much water as steam cleaning, so it is in fact, somewhat better to use.
Know when it’s time to replace
If your Berber carpet is not new and professional cleaning does not make it look any better, it is possible that those dirty looking areas are not dirty, but crushed. A better term might be ‘smashed’. When this happens the loops are flattened down and damaged beyond repair. No matter how you try and clean it, it will still look horrible. Rather than waste time and money on trying to clean it, it’s better to start anew