Homeowners love carpeting because of its soft, comfy texture. Sometimes we receive phone calls from unhappy homeowners complaining about crunchy, stiff carpet after having their carpets cleaned by a less-than-reputable carpet cleaning company or after renting do-it-yourself carpet cleaning machines. There are several reasons why carpet fibers harden and clump. Here are the details.
Improper Cleaning Methods
When a carpet is cleaned too quickly, water, soap, and dirt is extracted from surface only. As the carpet dries, the remaining residue wicks up through the carpet fibers and the moisture dissipates, leaving behind dirt and soap particles.
Improper Cleaning Products
Carpet cleaning technicians encounter a variety of stains and cleaning problems on a variety of carpet types. Selecting the appropriate cleaning products with the appropriate pH levels is important. When an improper cleaning product is used, carpet fibers may turn stiff. Cleaners with unnecessarily high pH levels can be harsh on carpet.
Improper Product Amount
The water-to-cleaning-product ratio should be accurate for optimal results, that is, fresh, clean, soft carpeting. If carpet feels crunchy, it could be because too much cleaning product or not enough water was used.
Carpets Not Suitable For Water-Based Products
There are many different types of carpeting, and some are more water-tolerant than others. For example, cotton and synthetic carpeting are water tolerant, and wool can tolerate water in limited amounts, but “natural” (paper) fibers are not water tolerant at all.
Water-intolerant carpets that have been cleaned with water-based products may soften and fluff if raked with a carpet groomer and vacuumed.
If your tap water contains a lot of minerals and this water is used to clean your carpets, it can result in stiff, crunchy carpet. Vacuum often to dislodge the minerals.
How To Ensure Fresh, Clean, Soft Carpeting After Cleaning
Crunchy carpet is a dirt magnet. If your carpet is stiff, it is important to resolve the situation before abrasive substances stick to the residue, and after exposure to foot traffic and regular use cause permanent damage to the carpet fibers. If you are insistent on resolving the situation yourself, we recommend misting the carpet with distilled water and a neutralizing rinse (you can purchase a pH neutral rinse or use 1 cup vinegar per 1 gallon of water), immediately followed by extraction. The cheap route may not produce the desired result, though, and could make matters worse. The only sure way to resolve the situation is to hire a professional.
A reputable carpet cleaning company will have highly trained technicians who know how to select appropriate cleaners to resolve different types of carpet cleaning problems. They use the proper ratio of water to cleaning solution, and thoroughly rinse and extract moisture from deep within the carpet fibers. Although dry time is always necessary with carpet cleaning, it should not take long, and once the carpet is dry, appropriately cleaned carpet will feel soft, fresh, and clean.
This is one of a series of articles written and published on behalf of Surface Care PRO Partners.