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Carpet Cleaning FAQ 3

Q: I’ve got a commercial account with carpet tiles that don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. They are brown and hairy, almost wiry fibers. Any ideas on how to clean them?

A:What you have sounds like Huega Tiles to me. These carpet squares or tiles are made of pig hair that is bonded to a backing material with various types of adhesive.Then a fairly rigid backing was applied for dimensional stability. Originally, they used a tar-based adhesive and if you used a volatile dry solvent spotter, the adhesive would leach upward in a circle of ever-increasing size.


Don’t know all the construction components today, but I think it’s considerably improved.

The good news is that the material is durable and cleanable. In heavy traffic situations, we never hesitated to “power precondition” (a.k.a., shampoo) the carpet with neutral detergent, due to the protein nature of the hair. Then we extracted with hot water, and force dried with airmovers.

I searched the Net for Huega and Huega+Tiles, but didn’t come up with anything.

Q: How do I get mold and its odor out of clothing and furs? Will cleaning do it?

A:Regarding your inquiry about removing fungal spores from clothing and furs: First, it’s important to understand that fungal spores are fairly large, some 3-30 microns. As such, they are fairly easy to clean from clothing. Moreover, the 130 degree temperature used in wash cycles, combined with the length of the cycle – some 10 minutes plus – combined further with detergents, usually kills vegetative organisms, both fungal and bacterial. Lacking documented studies, my impression is that most of the spores are simply washed from clothing fabrics, along with soils.

Many “color-safe” home laundry detergents contain sodium perborate, which essentially converts to hydrogen peroxide in water. Peroxide is a highly effective biocide, especially when combined with the detergency, heat, and time of the wash cycle. Unlike chlorine bleach, it leaves no residue in fabrics to pose health problems for sensitive people.

For clothing that can’t be washed and must be dry cleaned, the combination of detergency and heat in the dry cleaning cycle, should kill or remove most fungal contaminants.

Furs are another story. Obviously, they can’t be washed, and most immersion dry cleaning is impractical, due to its effect on the skin of the animal. Normally, dry compound cleaning is undertaken. I have no idea of what the effect of this process is on the fur.

I would suggest that you contact the International Fabricare International (IFI) headquartered in Silver Springs, MD, for further information on this subject.

Q: I have a direct glue commercial carpet that’s a real headache. I just cleaned it and there are ripples everywhere. What happened and what should I do?

A:Right off, I’d say that the carpet’s installation has failed. Could be improper glue, improper installation, or simply the traffic that has contributed to the installation failure.

Second, I’d predict that the rippling you’re experiencing will disappear in 24-48 hours. It’s related to moisture being absorbed into latex used in the backing system.

There’s nothing you can do to avoid it, and it will happen repeatedly each time you clean. I watched a carpet at our airport do that for 12 years before it was replaced. It even responded with ripples each time the weather got humid.

What to do? Let the client know that the adhesive has failed. Let him know about the rippling that occurred during cleaning. Let him know how it was resolved – if in fact it was.

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