We recently cleaned some carpets for a tenant vacating a rental property. Their property manager called them back over an issue with indents in the carpet fibre.
While there are some options available to try and reduce the likelihood of these indents occurring such as furniture blocks and some types of mats, often they are unavoidable altogether. Even just by reasonable, standard use of the carpet.
This particular carpet had been well cared for and remained in good condition despite a 6 year tenancy. However, the property manager raised a concern over the indents in the carpet and requested work be undertaken to remove them.
So the question was asked – can indents in carpet be removed?
When it comes to indents in carpet, we make efforts to improve their appearance while we are there cleaning the carpet. We have powerful machinery with strong suction which in some cases can assist in lifting the carpet pile. We also have specialised tools such as carpet rakes and other hand held tools to assist.
However, as with most aspects of carpet care, it is not one size fits all. Different fibre types have very different characteristics. So a remedy which has been known to be effective on some carpets, will have no effect on others when it comes to fixing a carpet indent problem.
What we know for certain is that with synthetic carpet fibres such as polypropylene, unfortunately, there is no technique which will reverse the change the carpet fibre has undergone when the indent was formed. With petroleum based synthetic carpets, the indents are there to stay. This is not due to abuse or misuse of the carpet, but due to the characteristics of the fibre type itself.
However, it is not all bad news. There are specialised techniques which may be used to improve the appearance of carpet indents in other types of carpet such as wool, nylons and triextas. Once again however, these carpet fibres all have different characteristics and require different techniques from each other to be effective.
With wool for example, placing an ice cube or ice block on the affected area and then following up with a steam iron or a steamer can improve the appearance of the indent. But be warned! Wool is a natural fibre and can be permanently damaged if the temperature is too high (think of burning hair). It is recommended that a specialised, professionally trained carpet maintenance technician performs this procedure.
Success can also be found with nylon that has been moistened & covered and an iron or steamer. Sometimes with triexta carpet a steamer can do the trick. But there is a very high risk of fibre damage when performed by an untrained operator.
Instead of trying harder or with more heat, sometimes time is required to see an effect. With some of these techniques, you may not see the final effect until 24 hours later.
While it’s encouraging that there are techniques available to help, we need to remember that carpet fibres such as polyester and polypropylene will fail miserably with anything that gets thrown at them. Don’t bother wasting your time.
Also keep in mind that carpet indents can be understood by most people and viewed as an accepted condition of the carpet. Burnt and damaged fibres are not. So give consideration to whether the indent really needs attention in the first place, as it is probably the preferred option over burnt or damaged carpet.
Remember also that rectifying carpet damage or removing indents are not considered cleaning procedures. Cleaning and restoration are different fields and although there can be some crossover, have realistic expectations as to what is performed in each field.
Regardless of whether you require carpet cleaning or carpet restoration, you probably understand by now that fibre identification plays a large role in the work being performed safely and effectively. This knowledge is gained by technicians when they undergo training and achieve certification. Ask your technician what training they have undertaken so you can be confident that you are receiving the best service possible without the risk of damage to your carpet.