Why carpets and area rugs can ripple after cleaning with hot water extraction

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Why carpets and area rugs can ripple after cleaning with hot water extraction


Hot water extraction is a method of carpet cleaning that involves spraying hot water and detergent onto the carpet and then vacuuming it up with a powerful suction. It is also known as steam cleaning, although it does not use actual steam. Hot water extraction can effectively remove dirt, stains, and allergens from carpet fibers, but it can also cause some problems, such as rippling or buckling.

Rippling or buckling is when the carpet develops waves or wrinkles on the surface, making it look loose and uneven. This can happen for various reasons, such as:

Moisture absorption: The hot water and detergent can penetrate the carpet backing, which is made of latex adhesive that holds together the carpet layers. The latex adhesive can absorb moisture and expand, creating extra space at the back of the carpet. This can cause the carpet to stretch and ripple.

Humidity: The humidity level in the air can affect the carpet drying process. If the air is too humid, the carpet may not dry fully and remain damp and stretched. If the air is too dry, the carpet may dry unevenly and shrink in some areas more than others. This can create tension and ripples in the carpet.

Installation: The way the carpet was installed can also influence its tendency to ripple or buckle. If the carpet was not stretched properly and secured firmly with tack strips and staples, it may become loose over time and ripple when exposed to moisture. A power stretcher and a knee kicker are essential tools for installing a wall-to-wall carpet correctly.

Acclimatisation: The carpet should be allowed to acclimate to the room conditions before installation. If the carpet was stored in a different environment than where it was installed, such as an unheated warehouse or a heated home, it may react differently to moisture and temperature changes. This can cause the carpet to expand or contract and ripple.

Rippling or buckling is usually a temporary issue that can be resolved by letting the carpet dry completely and return to its normal shape. However, in some cases, rippling or buckling can be permanent and require professional intervention. To prevent rippling or buckling from happening, it is important to follow these tips:

Use a professional carpet cleaner who has experience and training in cleaning carpets with hot water extraction. They should use the right amount of water and detergent, adjust the temperature and pressure according to the type of carpet, and extract as much moisture as possible from the carpet.

Dry your carpet as fast as possible after cleaning, using fans, dehumidifiers or air conditioners if needed. Avoid walking on the wet carpet or placing furniture on it until it is completely dry.

If your carpet still ripples after cleaning and drying, you may need to have it re-stretched and re-installed by a professional installer who uses a power stretcher and a knee kicker.

Hot water extraction is a popular and effective method of carpet cleaning that can improve the appearance and hygiene of your carpets and area rugs. However, it can also cause some problems, such as rippling or buckling, if not done properly or if other factors are involved. By understanding the causes and solutions of rippling or buckling, you can avoid this problem and keep your carpets looking smooth and beautiful.

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