MUKILETO, WA — When it comes to carpets, often commercial and residential consumers confuse apparent soiling with real soiling, according to a press release.

Real soiling is often defined as "any matter that is foreign to the construction of the carpet and that can actually be removed from the carpet," while apparent soiling is when a carpet only appears soiled; in these cases, the carpet's appearance often cannot be corrected because it is not really soiled, the release stated.

A good example of a situation in which a carpet looks soiled but is really not is caused by carpet abrasion; similar to scratches on glass, carpet abrasion occurs when soil scratches or scrapes the surface of carpet fibers, which can interfere with light reflection on the carpet, causing these areas to look grey, dull, and dirty, the release noted.

According to the release, other types of soiling that are apparent rather than real include:

  • Fading: The gradual loss of color due to prolonged exposure to light sources. These sources can be either fluorescent or natural; either way, customers often believe a faded carpet is actually a soiled carpet.
  • Wear: A reduction in pile density caused by foot traffic over time. Eventually, this results in minor fiber loss, which can noticeably change the carpet's appearance, making it look soiled.

"Since carpet abrasion is typically caused by dry soiling, frequent vacuuming is an effective way to stop or slow down carpet abrasion. This should be supplemented with frequent hot-water carpet extraction," says Mark Cuddy, national sales director for U.S. Products.

Click here to read the release in its entirety.