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Cleaning Harvey Norman SmartStrand, EcoStrand & Triexta based Carpets.

September 8, 2014

I’m going to say it. As a carpet cleaner, if I was to lay new carpet through my home, I’d be using Harvey Norman SmartStrand IQ or one of the equivalent Triexta based carpets from one of the independent carpet retails such as eco-strand.

Triexta is the latest carpet fibre to reach the market, and is a sub-class of polyester. Unlike polyester, it has much better resilience (stands up to traffic and furniture).

While I recognise that Triexta is by no means perfect, and certainly isn’t cheap, it has some features that make it a great choice for the home owner. These include;

  1. It can’t be dye stained – as the fibre itself does not have dye sites. This gives it a significant advantage over wool and nylon.
  2. Can’t be urine stained – for the same reason as above. Urine contains urochrome pigment. Triexta has no dye sites – so no urine staining! This makes it a better (not necessarily ideal) option for pets. Note that pet odour is not so easy to deal with here!
  3. Doesn’t crush easily like other synthetics such as polypropylene and polyester.
  4. Has a very fine denier, and is soft and luxurious.
  5. Will not sun fade! Can’t be bleached! The dyes are locked into the fibre in molten state during manufacture.

Given all these great features, this carpet would be easily to professionally clean right? WRONG! Being a new carpet fibre, and with scant instructions from the manufacturers, carpet cleaners have been on their own, sussing out the best way to clean SmartStrand, EcoStrand and other Triexta derivatives. Having cleaned a number of these, and having assisted carpet cleaners who have run into problems and issues with cleaning SmartStrand, I have developed a method of professionally carpet cleaning Triexta that is very effective.

  1. Thorough vacuuming with an industrial grade upright vacuum with cylindrical brush. This is important when cleaning any carpet, but VERY important when cleaning SmartStrand. Why? The fibre has no capacity for water absorption, and water runs straight down the fibre, and into the depths of a carpet (and sometimes beyond), where the finest soils can accumulate, but where wet cleaning can not reach. As the carpet dries through capillary action, these soils migrate up the fibre stem, and settle on the tips of the carpet. Thorough industrial vacuuming minimises this.
  2. If the carpet is only lightly soiled, we would recommend low moisture encapsulation cleaning with an absorbent pad. The pad collects a good portion of the detergent soluble soiling, and what is left behind is encapsulated and removed during subsequent vacuuming. The advantage of low moisture encapsulation over steam cleaning is there is less chance of activating any deep seated fine soils, and any wicking that occurs is absorbed into the residual encapsulant – which is not seen, and which vacuums out.
  3. If the carpet is heavily soiled, we would recommend bonnet cleaning the traffic lanes with a volatile dry solvent, used sparingly. The rest of the carpet will need to be preconditioned by a rotary scrubbing machine or equivalent, using a hot citrus based, alkaline degreaser, and thoroughly rinsed at low pressure. As a final measure, a light misting of encapsulant should be applied to the carpet, and cotton pad dried.

The challenge when cleaning Triexta carpets lies with two things. The first being the lack of water absorption, which can aggrivate wicking. It is not uncommon for carpet cleaners to have multiple revisits to clean SmartStrand or other Triexta based carpets, to clean re-occuring spots and stains. The initial carpet clean removes stains/spots, but they re-emerges due to wicking. Hence the use of encapsulating polymer based detergents. The second challenge is that this carpet absorbs oil/fats/grease like a sponge, primarily because it oil based (like absorbs like). Oil, fats and grease are typically the glue that holds dirt and soil to a carpet. This is the reason we recommend citrus based detergents with alkaline degreasing. The citrus and alkalinity dissolve and breakdown oils/fats/grease, and the steam cleaning process removes the greasy solution. The post encapsulation process with a cotton bonnet assists with rapid drying, and greatly prevents wicking and soil redeposition.

If you have a SmartStrand carpet, and are located in the Penrith or Blue Mountains area, call Mighty Clean Carpet Cleaning Penrith.