Fabric protection is a rare preventative cleaning step we can take in the cleaning world to help assure our carpets and upholstery are as resistant to dirt and stains as possible. It is not a new process though the chemicals used have refined and varied over the years. Generally the protection has become synonymous with the brand name Scotchguard, to the point it is sometimes mistakenly believed to be the name of the process. Ultimately though most products function in a similar way and understanding what they do can help you maximise their impacts.
What does Fabric Protection do?
Technically all carpets start with some degree of protection, a very fine film that is not visible to the naked eye on the fibres that help resist the dye leaking out and outside strainers getting in. Fabric protection works by putting an additional layer of film on the fibres so that it is harder for dirt to clump on it and liquids won’t be able to soak in properly. Think of it like polishing your car, you do that so dirt and water glides across it and doesn’t stick or eat into the paint, this is the same except for carpets.
What are the benefits?
The real concern with dirt and stains is when it soaks into the fibres. This causes damage and discolouration. By preventing that the fibres are protected and will last much longer. On top of that because the dirt won’t bond as easily to the fibres it makes vacuuming easier as it is less ingrained and any spills that are made will be easier to wipe off because they will float on top of the fibres. Essentially it protects the carpets while making them easier to clean anyway.
Why do we need Fabric Protection?
As noted carpets have protection but through traffic and abrasive elements from spills, like acids in soft drinks, that layer breaks down or is slowly dissolved leaving the fibres more exposed. Once exposed they are more prone to permanent stains, the fibres get damaged much quicker, and dirt more easily clumps to it making it harder to vacuum and leaving carpets looking dirty and ‘tired’ even with regular vacuuming. Replacing the protective layer is obviously integral in the long run to maintaining the carpets.
Can you do it yourself?
This is a job that can be done yourself, though there is a knack to it that might take a couple of goes to get used to. Any store bought product will do technically, though do note many are pricey and do not cover a lot of ground despite that. Price and quality, like a lot of cleaning products, comes down to things like perfumes and efficiency of the actual spray mechanism so allow your budget and comfort to determine what you use. When applying you want it to be as even as possible and to avoid over or under spraying. Too much and the carpet will stiffen up like you’ve sprayed on glue which looks and feels horrid, too little and the layer will be uneven or just wear away too quickly to be of true benefit. That said, any protection helps so just doing it is worthwhile no matter what you end up doing.
Why a professional?
Generally because they have access to good quality fabric protection at a better rate than domestic customers and because they are used to the application process which will help reduce application errors.
When should I protect my fabrics and carpets?
Honestly there is no need to wait, even freshly installed a carpet of upholstery will benefit from protection. If your carpets or upholstery are older then it is recommended you have it done after ever deep cleaning just to top it up. While steam cleaning will generally not remove the protection given how infrequently steam cleaning tends to get done the timeframes will often coincide with needing to reinforce the protection anyway.
So if you have carpets or upholstery strongly consider having them fabric protected. It has many benefits and will have ongoing positives as well. If you would like Clean with Care to organise fabric protection for you contact us right away.