Getting your carpet cleaned?  Familiarize yourself with the following carpet cleaning jargon so you can understand the technician and what he’s doing:

Carpet Cleaning Terms

Acidic:  Acids have PH levels lower than 7.  The cleaning solution used can be either acidic or alkaline and this will have an effect on the type of stain and how the stain will react to the solution.

Alkaline:  An alkaline liquid has a PH level higher than 7.

Agitation:  A process in which the cleaning solution is worked equally and intensely into the fibres.

Bleaching:  Colour has faded or was removed from the carpet fibres, often due to a spill.

Bleeding:  Colour has transferred from one area of the carpet to another, often caused by spills.

Bone Scraper:  A tool made of plastic or bone that cleaners use to work loose dirt stuck to the carpet fibres and to apply cleaning solutions.

Browning:  Yellow or brown discolouration on the carpet’s surface, caused by soil dissolving into the carpet fibres from reacting to a cleaning solution.  The discolouration occurs after over-wetting, under-drying, excessively using the cleaning solution, or using an incorrect solution.

Clouding:  This is when the carpet cleaning solution dries and leaves a residue on the carpet’s surface.  Clouding occurs because of incorrect carpet cleaning, over-wetting, under-drying, or excessive use of the cleaning solution.

Deodourizer Cleaning products that eliminate, mask or change foul odours

Digester:  A chemical, often an enzyme, applied to stains from bodily fluids to break them down

Disinfectant A chemical that kills unhealthy bacteria

Carpet Cleaning TermsExtraction:  A process in which water heated to its highest temperature is sprayed on to the carpet with a cleaning solution, which loosens the soil, and then a powerful vacuum is used to extract or suck up the soil and solution.

Fluffing This is when loose fibres are seen on the surface of the carpet.

Furniture protectors:  Small pads secured under furniture legs to prevent damaging floors or carpet, either from the sharp edges of the furniture or from moving the furniture around

Neutral cleaner A cleaning solution with a pH level of 7, which is considered neutral, neither acidic nor alkaline.

Neutraliser:  A chemical that is usually acidic with a pH level of2, and is used to change alkaline liquids into neutral, with a pH level of 7.

Pre-spotting:  A special cleaning solution is applied on spots and stains, before the actual cleaning process.

PSI Pounds per square inch.  Unit of measurement for pressure used in steam cleaning.

Residue:  Any solids left on the carpet after cleaning.

Sanitiser A chemical that considerably decreases the amount of bacteria, but not as potent as disinfectants.

Shampoo:  A foaming cleaning solution applied to carpet fibres with brush head cleaning machines.  The brush heads raise the carpet fibres so that the solution can permeate the carpet better.

Spot cleaning:    Treatment of small stains or stains covering a small area.  The type of treatment and cleaning solution used depends on the kind of stain.

Solvent:  A material (whether liquid or solid like powders) that dissolves another material.

Surfactant A surface-active agent used as a wetting agent, to lower the surface tension of liquids and increase their effect on dirt

Stain repellent:  Applied to carpet surfaces to repel liquids or prevent spills from settling into the carpet fibres.

Traffic lane:  Carpet areas subjected to a lot of foot traffic.

Truck mounted The equipment used in steam cleaning which is on a truck, the cleaning head and hoses are the only parts brought inside the residence.

Wicking:  The upward absorption of liquids by the carpet fibres, leading to clouding or browning.

Image credits: Ali / Flickr