Why Did my Carpet Ripple After Cleaning?

This is a really great question! It isn’t something we see all the time; however, it can happen. There are environmental factors that come into play that cause this to happen when a carpet is freshly cleaned. The last thing anyone wants to see is rippling or buckling in their carpets. Luckily, this is only temporary, and it will not last!

Carpet is made up of 4 layers:

  1. The yarns (the carpet fibers you walk on)
  2. The primary backing
  3. A layer of latex adhesive
  4. The secondary backing

The primary backing, secondary backing, and the yarns are held together by the latex adhesive. The latex adhesive can absorb moisture. This is one reason that when you get your carpets cleaned you see rippling or wrinkling, from this absorption and expansion. Once the carpeting dries, the carpet will lay flat again.

Another cause of wrinkling and rippling is the fibers the carpet is made of. Wool fibers tend to retain almost 100% of their weight in water, Nylon typically up to about 20%, and polyester and polypropylene fibers much less.  This means that nylon and wool carpets will take longer to dry and are more likely to have water get into the backing of the carpet, and to the clay (the latex adhesive).

ChemDry uses a fraction of the water when cleaning your carpets compared to other companies This means that the likeliness of your carpets wrinkling is much less when your carpets are freshly cleaned by All Clean ChemDry.

Improper installation is another cause of carpets wrinkling and rippling. Per manufacturer guidelines, carpets need to be power stretched into place, and then “tacked down” in place to a tack strip, which will hold the carpet in place. If this is not done properly in time and after cleanings you will notice the wrinkles show up.

The age of your carpet can also play a role in wrinkling and rippling. The stability of carpeting can degrade when the backing is starting to fail, or if the glue breaks down. Eventually the primary and secondary backings will break down, becoming separated over time.

Carpeting that has been laid at different times of the year also shows and wears differently over time. Carpets that are installed in the winter are stiffer due to the colder weather. The cold makes it more difficult to stretch the carpet into place. As the weather warms up, the backing relaxes, and ripples can start to appear.

High humidity also has an impact on your carpets. High indoor humidity can keep your carpets damp and may cause stretching. If this is an issue in your house, we recommend running a dehumidifier in the room with the rippling and you will see the carpeting problem start to resolve itself.

There are many factors that can cause the rippling, it is best to understand and remember that most of the time it is temporary and once the moisture goes out of the carpet they will return to normal. If it isn’t, then you should hire a professional to re-stretch your carpets in the affected rooms.

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