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Can My Carpets Shrink if I Get Them Cleaned?

High angle view of person cleaning white carpet with professional vacuum cleaner

A question that we get asked often is: will my carpet shrink? As a professional carpet cleaning company that’s been in the business for many years, we have seen our fair share of shrunken carpets. The one thing they seem to have in common is that usually the carpet cleaning company that was used to clean their carpets can’t be contacted! The main reason for carpets shrinking is improper cleaning. 

Generally speaking, there are only 2 types of carpet that can shrink: Axminster and Wilton carpets. A genuine Axminster carpet is made from wool with a backing fabric of jute, which is the fiber on the back that weaves in with the carpet. It is actually quite difficult to shrink an Axminster carpet, however if the jute backing gets wet because of bad cleaning, it can cause the backing itself to shrink.

The Wilton carpets that we are referring to are known as Belgian Wiltons, which are typically made with polypropylene fibers and a jute backing like the Axminster. This differs from the top-quality Wilton carpet which is made from wool. The polypropylene can’t hold on to the moisture, which means that any moisture sinks straight down to the bottom of the pile and into the jute backing, thus causing it to shrink.

So going back to why carpets shrink, it is because of improper cleaning. What we mean by improper cleaning is that the cleaning company either used under-powered equipment for your type of carpet or the operative had a bad technique. If the machine that was used was too small, it was unable to extract enough water back out of the carpet, leaving a lot of moisture and causing shrinkage in your carpets. What we refer to as bad technique could mean that the person cleaning the carpets applied an excess of pre-spray cleaning agents and/or used too much water in the final rinse. Too much water means that the jute base of the carpet swells and expands, causing stress to the structure as it seeks more space, and it’s this action that causes the carpet to shrink.

How can you avoid carpet shrinkage?

It’s good to know that you can still have your Axminster and Belgian Wilton carpets cleaned, but great care needs to be taken to ensure it’s done properly.  The main priority is to choose a carpet cleaning company that has trained in cleaning these types of carpet, and secondly a company that uses the most powerful machinery that’s available on the market and ensures that there is not extra moisture added in and not taken out. A good cleaning company will always double-check your carpet first to identify the type and to ensure that they can, in fact, clean it. If there’s any doubt at all, then it should either be left alone or a dry or low moisture clean should be done.

Here at All Clean ChemDry we have a wealth of experience and knowledge in cleaning all types of carpet and only using the very best equipment possible. If your carpets need cleaning, then you can trust our highly trained technicians to do an amazing job.

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