This question comes up quite often when we ask our clients if they’d like us to apply a carpet protector after our cleaning. However, when the same question is asked after we clean tile, it seems to be assumed that the grout gets sealed after it gets cleaned. There is less hesitation and doubt. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that when tile gets newly installed it always gets sealed after its installation. Contrast this to carpet, which just gets installed. Most people are not aware of the fact that carpet already has the protector (sealer) applied when the carpet is made at the carpet mill.
The quick answer to the original question; “Do carpet protectors work and am I being ripped-off when I’m sold Scotchguard?” is yes, they do work and no you are not being ripped off when you’re being sold Scotchguard. However these answers come with one big warning: Do you trust the individual who is selling it to you?
Do you trust the individual who is selling it to you? Although carpet protecting products do work (more on that a little later) it is virtually impossible for you as a consumer to determine that on the spot. It in big part is a trust issue. Do you trust the company or individual who is selling and applying the product? Think about it. The product that will be applied to your carpet after its cleaning is a clear liquid, virtually indistinguishable from plain water.
How do I know what is being applied to my carpet?Who is to say the actual product that is being applied is the real deal and not just plain water. You, as a consumer, won’t know if the product applied will do its job of repelling soil and giving you a longer lasting clean until weeks or even months later. In reality you won’t know what is being applied. You ultimately have to put your trust in the company that is performing the work for you to being honest, reputable and trustworthy.
How do carpet protecting products work?When you think about it, carpet is an amazing product in the sense of its wear and stain resistance. What fabric that you can think of could withstand years and years of foot traffic, food and drink spills and numerous other abuses inflicted onto it and still come out looking like new after a thorough, professional cleaning? A big part of that being the case is the carpet protector products being applied to carpet fibers in the manufacturing process.
Scotchguard, Teflon, GreenGuard and many moreAlmost all carpets that are made today will have some type of product applied to it to give it better stain resistance. The famous brand names are Scotchguard and Teflon, which are both fluorochemical based. Then there are also some greener alternatives such as GreenGuard, which is an encapsulant. Although the specific reason why one product might perform better in repelling oily staining substances versus another being able to repel water based stains better is outside the scope of this article (I haven’t earned my chemistry PHD yet), suffice to say that all are designed to repel soiling and staining substances. This is not to say that it makes carpet bullet proof. Far from it. However it does give you, the homeowner who faces a carpet calamity, a fighting chance to clean-up most spills that can happen in everyday living on top of a carpet.
What benefits do I get from re-applying the carpet protector?Say you bought your carpet about two years ago and you’ve had your fair amount of spills. You were successful in getting them cleaned-up, however your carpet is showing some traffic areas and some of your spot clean-up areas have re-soiled. It’s time to call a professional to get your carpet thoroughly cleaned. The good news for the professional is that most carpet have carpet protector on their fiber which makes them usually clean-up really well. You see the protector acts like a shield between the spots, spills and soil and the actual carpet fiber. Once all the grime has been washed off the carpet fiber it’s returned to virtually “as-new” condition. We look like the hero!
Like periodically waxing your car, re-application of carpet protector after cleaning is a must.However the combination of the spot & spill cleanups and all the foot traffic and soil your carpet has been subjected too over those two years will weaken and diminish the protective properties of your carpet. Take your car for example. Wax is the protective shield between the environment and your cars paint. Waxing your car will keeps its paint in top condition and will prevent everyday grime from ruining it. Same is true for your carpet.
Possibly putting my credibility at risk?I realize that singing the virtues of a product category that serves as an additional service offering in our business, puts my credibility at risk. However facts are facts and it can’t be denied that carpet protectors work. So my recommendation to you is to definitely have protector applied after your cleaning, assuming you trust the company and individual performing your service especially for homes with children and pets and heavy foot traffic.