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Rug Cleaning Technician Courses


Jacksonville, FL - MAR 18-20, 2020


Module 2 - Dye, Chemical and Spotting Definitions

"Colors fade, temples crumble, empires fall, but wise words endure." ~ Edward Thorndike

Having discussed terms related to wool fiber, and carpet and rug construction in Module 1, Module 2 contains chemical, and cleaning and spotting terminology.

absorbent - A material that draws liquid or gaseous substances into itself, usually from surfaces or from the air.  Absorbents are used in carpet cleaning, spotting, concrete cleaning, and spill control.

acetic acid - A volatile, colorless, pungent liquid acid (C2H4O2) that is the chief acid of white vinegar (5% acetic, pH 3) and is used in the synthesis of acetate fiber. Many acid spotters are comprised of 5-7% acetic acid.

acid – Any chemical that undergoes dissociation in water with the formation of hydrogen ions. Its properties include the ability to react with bases or alkalies to form "salts." Acids have a bitter or sour taste and may cause severe skin burns. Acids turn litmus (pH) paper light-green, to yellow, to red and have pH values that are less than seven (7) on the pH scale.

acid dyes – Negatively-charged coloring material used primarily on nylon and wool carpet fibers.

acid dye blocker- An anionic compound used to balance the cationic polarity of the amine groups at the ends of nylon polymers (to block open dye sites), thereby reducing or eliminating the affinity between the fiber and foreign acid dyestuffs that are commonly found in household foods and beverages.

alkali – Any soluble chemical substance that forms soluble soaps when mixed with fatty acids. Alkalis also are referred to as "bases," and they may cause severe skin burns.  Alkalis turn litmus paper light-green to dark-blue, and they have pH values that are above seven (7).

alkalinity - The property of water soluble substances that causes the concentration of hydroxyl ions (OH-) in waterbased solutions to be higher than the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+). Soap is mildly alkaline and detergents may be formulated with any desired degree of alkalinity. “Alkaline” denotes values above seven (7) on the pH scale.

anionic surfactant - A surface active agent usually derived from reacting aliphatic hydrocarbons and alkalis to form a salt, and in which detergency and other properties depend in part on the negatively charged ion of the molecule. Anionic surfactants are sensitive to water hardness, and are particularly effective in emulsifying oily soils and in suspending particulates. Anionic surfactants are used widely in high-sudsing detergents.

antichlor - A chemical used to neutralize chlorine bleach; e.g., reducers such as sodium bisulfite or sodium hydrosulfite.

antistatic - Carpet treatment to reduce the effects of static electricity generated by walking across carpet.

benzoyl peroxide - A bleaching agent (C14H10O4) commonly used in acne medications, adult fade creams and other
cosmetics, which can progressively remove color from some fabrics. Its bleaching effect is often accelerated by moisture and heat.

bleeding - The migration or transfer of dyes within or from wet fabric, usually due to improper dyeing (fixing), from the use of poor dyestuffs, or from exposure to high-pH chemicals. Fabrics that bleed when wet may stain fabrics that come in contact with them; or color may be transferred from one portion of a multi-colored fabric to another.

buffer - Any substance in a solution that is capable of neutralizing both acids and bases, thereby maintaining the original pH of the solution when either acid or alkali is added.

carpet protector - Materials that enhance the performance of fibers or yarns, especially in the area of soil/stain retardancy/repellency.

cationic surfactant - A surface active agent in which detergency and other properties depend in part on the positively charged ion of the molecule. Cationic surfactants are marginal cleaners; but they have other properties that allow them to perform effectively as disinfectants, antimicrobials, antistatic compounds, etc.

chlorinated solvent - An organic, non-polar solvent that contains chlorine atoms (e.g., perchloroethylene, trichlorethylene, 1,1,1-trichloroethane).

cleaning - The purposeful activity of removing soil and undesired substances from an environment or surface to reduce damage or harm to human health or valuable materials. Cleaning is the process of locating, identifying, containing, removing and properly disposing of unwanted substances from an environment or material.

According to IICRC S-100 levels of cleaning include:
1. Preventative maintenance;
2. Appearance/interim cleaning, and
3. Restorative cleaning

defoamer - A liquid or powdered material (usually silicone based) that suppresses or inhibits the formation of foam during cleaning (especially hot water extraction).

discoloration – A condition in which color or dye structures have been altered or removed.

disperstat -A wool-specific antistatic treatment for carpets.

dry solvent – A non-water liquid (hydrocarbon) that has an ability to dissolve oils, greases, and other oily, tarry or waxy substances.

enzymes – A large class of complex protein molecules that encourage biochemical reactions (digestion). Amylase, lipase and protease enzymes are the type most frequently encountered in the textile cleaning industry, primarily as detergent additives, spotters or deodorants. Enzymes are most effective in neutral environments, at moderate temperatures, and after a dwell time in excess of twenty minutes to several hours.

fluorochemical soil/stain repellent - Fabric protectors that serve as soil retardants, and as water and oil-based stain repellents at the same time.

fading - Gradual, irreversible loss of color intensity, usually due to exposure to light (actinic radiation, especially direct sunlight); or from contact between dyes and various soils or oxidizing gases (ozone); or fumes from certain liquids (oxides of nitrogen, sodium hypochlorite), etc. Fading may occur locally or throughout a fabric, depending on exposure to outside agents and airflow.

fiber - A generic term for any natural or synthetic strand or filament that is strong enough to be used in thread or yarn in the manufacture of a textile product. Important properties of fibers include elasticity, fineness, uniformity, durability, soil resistance, and luster.

grooming - The process of pile setting following cleaningand additive (fabric protector) application, using a shag rake, carpet comb, brush, or groomer.

hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) – A clear, colorless oxidizing liquid. Used as an antiseptic, bleaching agent, oxidizing agent, and laboratory reagent. Normally peroxide is used in a three percent (3%) solution primarily for spotting and browning correction. In solutions of 3% or greater, hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant.

lignin - A reddish-brown binding gum forming, and cementing together the cell walls of cellulose comprising jute, linen, or cotton fiber. Lignin is easily dissolved in the prolonged presence of alkaline cleaning solutions.  Lignin comprises about 1% of fully processed cotton fiber and about 24% of jute fiber.

matting - Entangling and compression of yarns or fibers after a period of use, which produces a flat and distorted appearance of carpet pile. Usually matting is most apparent in entry, pivot, and high-traffic areas.

mystery spots - Spots that have no obvious point of origin. If the spot appears in a pattern during or immediately following installation, it may be manufacturer related. Spots and discolorations appearing days or weeks after installation in a random pattern, generally are use or maintenance related.

non-volatile dry solvent (NVDS) - A spotting compound that may contain aromatic and chlorinated solvents, alcohols, amyl acetate, and fatty acids (oleic), and used in removing heavy oils and greases, or paints, lacquers, varnishes, and synthetic resins.

neutral cleaner - A cleaning agent having a pH of 7 and which is, therefore, neither acid nor alkaline. In a less technical sense, a "neutral" cleaner has a pH between 6 and 8.

neutralize - To eliminate potential hazards by inactivating strong acids, caustics, and oxidizers. For example, acid spills can be neutralized by adding an appropriate amount of caustic substance to the spill. A neutralizer is a chemical used to bring the pH of a textile or surface to approximately 7.

oxalic acid - An organic acid (C2H2O4) primarily used in the cleaning industry for rust removal. An 8% oxalic acid solution has replaced the more aggressive (and dangerous) hydrofluoric acid rust remover (HF).

oxidation - A chemical reaction involving the combining with oxygen atoms or molecules containing oxygen. Oxidation is the principle behind the degradation of natural substances over time (i.e., latex adhesives), the effect of oxygen bleach (NaClO, H2O2) on dyes, or of ozone gas (O3) on organic odors.

pH - The negative logarithm of the concentration of hydroxyl ions in a water-based solution that is used as an indication of relative acidity or alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral. A pH from 7-14 is alkaline, and from 0-7 is acidic. Each whole number on the pH scale represents a 10 fold change in the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.

photo bleaching - Exposure to light in the visible or near visible region of the spectrum (blue and violet light - not ultraviolet) which can result in the natural yellow color component of wool being bleached. This becomes apparent when a protected area is uncovered, such as under furniture. Exposing these areas to this light range will ultimately cause the yellow to disappear. Mostly a problem with wool carpet or rugs in light and pastel colors during the first six months after manufacturer.

pooling - One of several terms used to describe carpet pile distortion. Originally, "pooling" described characteristic oval or round distorted areas in wool pile carpet (primarily in entry and high traffic or pivot areas) in which yarns were "splayed out" in circular or oval patterns, causing a change in light reflection; however, the term has evolved to include virtually any form of pile distortion on any carpet.

reducing agent - In a reduction reaction, the reducing agent is the chemical or substance that: (1) combines with oxygen, and (2) loses electrons in the reaction. In the context of cleaning, reducing agents are used in spotting (color-added stains), or as an antichlor (neutralizer) for chlorine bleach (spot dyeing, upholstery stain removal). Common reducing agents encountered in cleaning are sodium bisulfite and sodium hydrosulfite.

silicone-based stain repellant - A silicone based fabric protector, usually suspended in a dry solvent solution, that lowers the surface tension of a fabric to enable it to repel water-based staining materials. Silicone stain repellents do not retard dry particle soiling and void many carpet manufacturers' warranties due to soil attraction.

sodium hypochlorite (NaClO) – The chemical name for chlorine bleach.

spot – The result of a material adding substance or texture to a fabric or surface. The terms spot, stain and discoloration (color loss) often are used interchangeably in a non-technical context.

stain – The result of a material adding color (without texture) to a fabric or surface. In a non-technical context, the term "stain" is often applied to discolorations, or color removal from fabrics, as well. Stains (added color) may be left after removing spots.


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