Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Berber - The Carpet Cleaner's Most Hated Carpet Style

Berber Style Carpet - Properties, How to Professionally Clean this Hard-to-Clean Carpet

Multi-Level Loop Pile Berber Carpet

Berber style carpet is a bulky knobby-looking loop-pile with much larger loops than commercial grade loop pile carpet, usually made of olefin or olefin/nylon blend.

Berber often has random specks of color, which are usually nylon blended in with the base olefin fibers.

Because of its informal look, Berber carpet is very popular residentially, especially in family rooms, recreation rooms and multimedia rooms.

Many professional cleaners are under the mistaken impression that Berber carpet is always made of 100% olefin - which is definitely not the case! It refers to a style not a fiber! Berber is most commonly a blend of nylon and olefin but it could be 100% nylon or even 100% wool!

Some of the many problems with Berber carpet are:

  • Visible seams.
  • Zippering.
  • Slow drying.
  • Wicking.
  • Reappearing spots and streaking after cleaning.
  • Because Berber-style carpet has a very tight pattern, streaks can occur when cleaning.
  • Because Berber is a tight looped carpet, it has a tendency to allow stains and spills to be absorbed deep into its tufts where the looped structure and tight weave can make them difficult to remove.
  • Berber carpets retain moisture and take longer to dry.
  • Berber is not readily patchable.
  • If made of olefin, irreversible pile crush and matting are major problems.
  • Because it mats easily and severely, Berber carpet in heavy traffic areas is a serious mistake!
  • Also, because it mats severely, Berber carpet is a terrible choice for stairs.
  • Olefin Berber severely and irreversibly mats with traffic while nylon Berber is not as affected by traffic as shown in image below.
  • With olefin Berber, the larger the loop, the worse the matting problems become.
  • Olefin Berber, simply put, is JUNK! Within just a few months, the owner will be disappointed with its appearance - severe matting, soiling and graying.
Berber matting - nylon versus olefin
Loop pile carpet matting recovered by pile lifter

Additionally, Berber is made with wide loops that cannot take much flex; therefore, a thicker, softer cushion is not acceptable. Pad thickness should not exceed 3/8 inch. For pad or cushion under Berber, the general rule is the bigger the loop in the Berber the firmer the padding should be.

How to Clean Berber Carpet:

  • Vacuum the carpet to remove any dry soil.
  • If it is a wool Berber, be sure to use a wool-safe product such as Natural Fiber Cleaner.
  • Pre-treat high-traffic and heavily soiled areas with Preface Traffic Lane Cleaner followed with extraction cleaning with PCA™ Formula 5 or LCA™-256 with Booster™.
  • Some professional carpet cleaners also treat olefin Berber carpet with an oxygen bleach product such as OS-1 or OSR, especially if there are any pet stains.
  • Or, instead of extraction cleaning, bonnet clean the Berber carpet with Brush and Bonnet by Pro's Choice.
  • When extraction cleaning olefin Berber, always use extra dry strokes.
  • NEVER clean Berber carpet at high pressure (clean at 250 PSI setting or less).
  • Do NOT “double stroke” which will cause wicking, streaking and resoiling because berber should not be soaked. The single stroke carpet cleaning technique taught at Bane-Clene Institute ensures that the carpet cleaning solution is applied only on the back stroke.
  • Apply slight pressure on the floor tool to prevent “bouncing” - a common problem with Berber.
  • Streaks may be caused by wicking or from the wand “bouncing” across the carpet while cleaning.
  • Berber’s loops have a bumpy texture that can cause the machine to bounce along the surface. This can make the vacuum less effective so it’s important to make slow dry passes while keeping the floor tool from bouncing.
  • If the carpet was heavily soiled or had a lot of deep spills, to avoid wicking problems, follow up the extraction with a dry bonnet followed by an application of Pro's Choice ARA Anti-Resoiling Agent.
  • If you had to use a lot of water to clean the carpet because of heavy soiling, follow with air movers to speed up drying to avoid streaking and wicking.

Why do some cleaners charge extra for cleaning Berber?

  • First, Berber is usually very light in color, which means the soil is much more obvious.
  • Also, since it severely mats, the customer is expecting the carpet cleaner to miraculously bring it back to its original height - which won’t happen.
  • But worst of all, because of the large “knobs,” you do not get total even contact of the vacuum slot on your floor tool across its entire width. As a result, poor vacuum occurs in the “valleys.” This means you must slow down and take extra overlapping vacuum strokes to ensure total removal of solution and soil. Otherwise, you will end up with streaking, wicking and browning after the carpet dries.
  • Additionally, since Berber is usually made of olefin (which does not absorb water), the cleaning solution tends to slide down the fiber shaft into the backing since it does not get absorbed by the carpet. As a result, drying time on olefin Berber is often much longer than nylon cut-pile.

NOTES: For Berber pad, the general rule is the bigger the loop in the Berber, the firmer the padding should be. If radiant heat is used, the cushion used must be a low insulating type, such as a relatively thin, flat cellular sponge rubber or synthetic fiber cushion.

Related Carpet Manufacture Articles:

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Date Modified: September 18, 2019

Date Published: September 18, 2019

VIDEO: What is Berber Style Carpet?

Video of Detailed Information on Berber Style of Carpet. From a “Chemistry of Cleaning” Education Class by Conducted by Bane-Clene’s chemist, Don Terry.