Before you begin cleaning your carpet it’s important to know which type(s) of carpet you have and what material(s) it is made from. Use the guide below to help determine your carpet type and material. When you have determined this information, proceed to the Floor & Carpet section of this site to find specific stain information and proper cleaning tips.
Types of Carpets
– These carpets are created by starting with a loop and then cutting the top while the fibers are standing straight. Textured cut pile is one of the most popular carpets. There are several types of cut pile carpets listed below
- Saxony – Saxonies are made of two or more fibers twisted together in a yarn. The twisted piles are then heatset to be straight. These show every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark when you move across them. There are also textured saxonies that have a multi-colored look to disguise these marks.
- Velvet/Plush – These carpets are lightly twisted to maintain a single, uniform color. They are more level than textures but also show every footprint and vacuum-cleaner mark when you move across them.
- Frieze – Frieze carpet consists of short fibers that curl in different directions. These curls help to hide footprints and vacuum cleaner marks. It is a highly twisted cut pile making it suited for high traffic areas.
Cut and Loop Pile
These carpets consist of cut and looped fibers. They often have several surface textures or designs. The many different levels make dirt and footprints much less noticeable.
Level Loop Pile
This carpet is created by weaving loops of yard into carpet backing. The strong loops make it very durable and help resist tracking marks. The level loop piles make it easy to clean.
Berber is a popular level loop pile carpet. They are highly durable, limit tracking marks and can be created from almost any fiber. Be mindful of the loops, they can hold dirt and can be damaged from snags.
Multi-Level Loop Pile
This carpet is similar to the level loop pile except that it usually is made of two to three different loop heights. These different heights give the carpet a textured look. It has the same sturdy features, but the smaller loops can also hold dirt.
These carpets are made on a loom very similar to woven cloth. There are several different yarns used and they usually contain very detailed patterns. This is the highest quality of carpet available.
These carpets can consist of cut pile, loop pile, or a combination of both. The yarns in these can be dyed or printed with a design. Tufted carpets can be very inexpensive and are usually at the lower end of the market.
These carpets consist of interlocking warp and weft threads. Flatweave is often used in creating oriental rugs and carpets.
Carpet Materials / Types of Fibers
Almost all carpets are made from synthetic fibers. They are more economical and resistant to stains. There are six individual types of fibers commonly used in carpets. They may be used individually or blended for added features.
Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that looks and feels like wool. It is resistant to moisture, mildew, fading and staining. It is commonly used in Velvet and Plush level loop carpets. While it is durable, it is not recommended for high traffic areas.
Blends consist of nylon and olefin. The two fiber types lend to uneven stain resistance making stains stand out.
Nylon is the most commonly used fiber in carpets. It’s durability, resistance to soiling and staining, and ability to maintain color makes it a popular choice for all areas of the home. It is strong enough to handle heavy wear and won’t crush under heavy furniture.
Olefin (polypropylene) is the second most commonly used fiber (after nylon). It is strong, moisture resistant, easy to clean, and also maintains its color. It is often the material used in Berbers as it works well for loop carpets. This fiber is also the least expensive option for carpet. Olefin can be used for both indoor and outdoor carpets and is often used for artificial turf.
Polyester is often found in cut pile carpets. It creates a luxurious carpet that is easy to clean and resists water. It is more economical than wool or nylon. However, it has a tendency to fade with sunlight.
If you’re looking for a “green” option, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) carpet is made from recycled plastic, mostly soda bottles. It is designated by the EPA for with moderate-wear. These carpets are not as soft as other synthetic fibers, but are very strong and water resistant.
Wool is a natural fiber that is strong, stain resistant, and less likely to crush from wear. However, it can hold moisture and is more expensive.