As part of being a professional carpet cleaning technician the first step durinng the inspection process is identifying what type of construction the carpet is made of. Although nylon and olefin (berber) are the most common and in 90% of all US homes knowing which one is critical to determining what process and detergent to use. Nylon needs to be cleaned with a cleaning solution of ph 10 or lower according to the manufacturers. Berber can melt from a hot hose and damage can be caused from dragging furniture. Natural carpets like wool can shrink if too much water is used.

The “burn test” is the best known test for identifying carpet materials. The professional needs a lighter, ash tray and pair of tweezers. The yarn can be found often laying in corners or be pulled from obscure areas like closets. Top characteristics to look for during a burn test: flame, odor ash.

  • Flame of nylon and olefin is blue and has an orange tip. Olefin burns super fast.
  • Polyester and acrylic sputter a bit when burned and give off black smoke.
  • Wool extinguishes itself or goes out immediately