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Carpet Glossary A



abnormal crimp

A relative term for crimp that is either too low or too high in frequently and/or amplitude or that has been put into the fiber with improper angular characteristics.

abraded yarns

Continuous filament yarns in which filaments have been cut or abraded at intervals and given additional twist to produce a certain degree of hairiness, so as to simulate the character of yarns spun from staple. Abraded yarns are usually plied or twisted with other yarns before using.


The wearing away of a solid surface film by friction.

abrasion mark

An area where a fabric has been damaged by friction.

abrasion resistance

The ability of a fiber or fabric to withstand surface wear and rubbing. The ability of a fiber or fabric to withstand surface wear and rubbing.


A material used to scour, scrub, or polish. Abrasive particles are used in such products as cleaners, pumice stone, scouring pads, and hand cleaners.

abrasive action

Cutting, tearing, shredding, scoring, fibrillating effect of abrasives on carpet fibers.

abrasive wear

The wearing away of the pile surface of a carpet by friction created by walking or rolling traffic. Wearing away the surface pile by traffic or other types of friction generated by use.


A chemical substance that is not mixed (i.e., pure). An example is absolute alcohol, with is ethyl alcohol, 99% pure, containing not more than one percent by weight of impurities.


The ability of a substance to transform radiant energy into a different form, usually with a resulting rise in temperature. Mathematically, absorbance is the negative logarithm to the base 10 of transmittance.


The ability of one material to take up another material.


A material that attracts substances from a surface itself. Absorbents are used in carpet cleaning, spotting, concrete cleaning, and spill control.

absorbent compound

A minimum moisture method of interim cleaning in which, following dry soil removal (vacuuming), a compound consisting of a granular carrier (cellulosic or polymer based) that has been saturated with cleaning agents, in broadcast (sprinkled) onto soiled carpet. The compound is uniformly distributed into the pile using equipment with two counter-rotating brushes; or with a machine employing rotary brush action. the detergent saturated compound suspends soil and dries within one to three hours; during which time the suspended soil is absorbed into the carrier. Dry vacuuming removes the remaining carrier, along with the soil absorbed by, or attached to it. Also called “powder cleaning.”

absorbent pad cleaning

A minimum moisture method of interim cleaning in which, following dry soil removal (vacuuming), detergent solutions are sprayed onto the carpet pile and onto an absorbent pad or “bonnet” made of cotton, rayon, or combination thereof. Using a rotary shampooer with a drive block instead of a brush, the solution is “spin buffed” into the carpet pile with the bonnet absorbing soil from the surface of the carpet as cleaning progresses. When on side of the bonnet becomes soil saturated, it is turned over and cleaning progresses. When one side of the bonnet becomes soil saturated, it is turned over and cleaning continues. When both sides of the bonnet become soil saturated, the bonnet is exchanged for a clean one or the bonnet is rinsed in a wringer bucket before work continues. Also known as bonnet cleaning


1. the property of a fiber, yarn or fabric which enables it to attract and hold gases or liquids within it’s pore by capillary, osmotic, solvent, or chemical action (See adsorption). 2. To take a substance into the body through surfaces such as the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, or skin, and ultimately into body fluids or tissues. The process of gasses or liquids being taken up into the pores of a fiber, yarn, or fabric (Also see absorption).


A chemical used to speed up chemical or other processes. Accelerants are used in dyeing triacetate and polyester fabrics.

Acetate fiber

A low-cost, man-made (regenerated cellulose) fiber made by treating wood pulp with acetic acid, acetic anhydride and acetone, to produce a viscous, honey-colored liquid, which is extruded and hardened to form filaments. Acetate has good sun resistance and low moisture absorbency (dries rapidly, resists shrinkage), and is used in upholstery fabric, particularly as a blended fiber, and in lamp shades. It is easily abraded and weakened by strong solutions of alkalis, acids, and oxidizing bleaches. Acetate is dissolved completely by acetone (nail polish remover.

acetic acid

A volatile, colorless, pungent liquid acid (C2H402) that is the chief acid of white vinegar (5% acetic, pH 3) and is used in the synthesis of acetate fiber. Many acid spotters are comprised of 5% - 7% acetic acid.

acetic anhydride

Anhydrous acetic acid (CH3C0)20. It is used in the acetylation process in the manufacture of cellulose acetate.


A volatile, flammable dry solvent (C3H60) used primarily to dissolve synthetic resins, such as nail polish, airplane glue, acrylic paint, etc. Acetone dissolves acetate fiber instantly!

acetone recovery

A process for reclaiming the acetone solvent from acetate fiber or plastics manufacture. Usually the recovery process consists of adsorption by activated carbon and redistillation.

ACH (air exchange rate)

Air Changes per hour. The speed at which outside air replaces indoor air. When there is little infiltration , natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase.

acid dye blocker

An anionic napthalated phenolic compound used to balance the cationic polarity of the amine groups at the ends of nylon polymers (to block open dye sites), thereby reducing or eliminating the affinity between the fiber and foreign acid dyestuffs that are commonly found in household foods and beverages.

acid dyeable

Nylon polymer that has been modified chemically to make the fiber receive acid dyes. A class of dyes with excellent colorfastness when used with type 6,6 nylon. Acid dyeable yarns are available in different dye levels (i.e., light, medium, and deep).

acid dyes

A class of dyes used on wool, other animal fibers, and some manufactured fibers. Acid dyes are seldom used on cotton or linen since this process requires a mordant. Acid dyes are widely used on nylon when high washfastness is required. In some cases, even higher washfastness can be obtained by aftertreatment with fixatives. Negatively charged coloring material used primarily on nylon carpet fibers. See Dyes.

acid fading

See gas fading.

acid recovery

A reclamation process in chemical processing in which acid is extracted from a raw material, by-product, or waste product. In the manufacture of cellulose acetate, acetic acid is a major by-product. Acid recovery consists of combining all wash water containing appreciable acetic acid and concentrating it to obtain glacial acetic acid.

acid resistance

The property of withstanding contact or treatment with any acids normally encountered in use. The type of acid should be stated (i.e., organic or inorganic).

acid-dyeable variants

Polymers modified chemically to make them receive receptive to acid dyes.


A term describing a material having a pH of less than 7.0 in water.

acoustic absorption

The ability of a floorcovering to reduce (absorb) impact noise and its transmission to other surfaces (e.g., subflooring). 1. A synthetic, thermoplastic, fiber that contains at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units. It is used primarily in clothing, blankets and upholstery fabrics. Like wool, acrylic has good bulking and insulating properties. In plush carpet styles, it exhibits severe pile reversal along the edges of traffic lanes, and it lacks resiliency. As an upholstery fabric (usually latex backed) it performs very well and even resists damage from oxidizing bleaches, and dilute alkalis and acids. Common trade names include: Acrilan, Creslan, Orlon, and Zefran. 2. A synthetic polymer upon which floor finishes may be based.

acrylic fiber

A manufactured fiber in which the fiber forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units (-CH2-CH (CN)-) (FTC definition). Acrylic fibers are produced by two basic methods of spinning (extrusion), dry and wet. In the dry spinning method, material to be spun is dissolved in a solvent. After extrusion through the spinneret, the solvent is evaporated, producing continuous filaments which later may be cut into staple, if desired. In wet spinning, the spinning solution is extruded into a liquid coagulating bath to form filaments which are drawn, dried, and processed. CHARACTERISTICS: Because acrylic fibers are thermoplastic, fabrics may be heat-set for wrinkle resistance and to provide permanency to pleats. Acrylic fabrics have low moisture absorbency and dry relatively quickly. In general, acrylic fibers are resistant to the degrading effects of ultraviolet rays in sunlight and to a wide range of chemicals and fumes. They provide warmth in fabrics which are lightweight, soft, and resilient. Acrylic fibers have relatively poor flame resistance compared with other fibers. Some acrylic fabrics, particularly knit types, approximate the hand of fine wool. Because of the composition and cross section of the fiber, fabrics made there from have a high bulk to weight ratio. This is further enhanced with the so called “high bulk” spun yarns. (See man-made fibers) a synthetic fiber made by polymerization of acrylonitrile, usually with other monomers.

acrylic resin

A polymer of acrylonitrile, used in production of manufactured fibers, as a fabric finish and as a size.

acrylic styrene

A popular type of polymer blend for floor finishes.


A generic term including acrylic and modified acrylic (modacrylic) fibers. Acrylic is a polymer composed of at least 85 percent by weight of acrylonitrile: modacrylic is a polymer composed of less than 85 percent but at least 35 percent by weight of acrylonitrile. Acrylic and modacrylic carpet fibers. Acrylics come only in staple form and are noted for their high durability and stain-resistance.


A colorless volatile flammable liquid nitrile used chiefly in organize synthesis and for polymerization.


Bacteria that look like long branched filaments under a microscope, and that are malodorous biopollutants.

Action BacTM

The trademark owned by Patchogue Plymouth Division of Amoco Fabrics Company for a leno weave of slit film and spun polypropylene yarns that form a stretchable, all-synthetic secondary backing fabric.

activated alumina

Pelletized aluminum oxide used as a gaseous sorbant filter when treated with potassium permanganate.

activated carbon

A highly absorbent form of granular carbon treated with high temperature and used to remove odors and toxic substances from liquids or gases, through adsorption or filtration. See adsorption.

acute effect

An adverse effect on a human or animal body, with severe symptoms developing rapidly and coming quickly to a crisis. Examples include: dizziness, nausea, skin rashes, inflammation, tearing of eyes, unconsciousness, and even death.

acute exposure

A single exposure to a toxic substance which results in biological harm or death soon after a single dose of, or exposure to a substance. Any severe poisonous effect resulting from a short-term exposure. Ordinarily this term is used to denote effects observed in experimental animals.


Changes in an organisms structure or behavior that helps it adjust to its surroundings. An increase or decrease in sensitivity to a given stimulus which occurs as a result of exposure to that stimulus.

addition polymerization

A reaction yielding a polymer in which the molecular formula of the repeating unit is identical with that of the monomer. The molecular weight of polymer so formed is a simple sum of the molecular weight of the combined monomer units. Combination occurs by means of rearrangement of the chemical bonds.


A supplementary material combined with a base material to provide special properties. For example, pigments are used a dope additives to give color in mass dyeing.


Molecular attraction that holds the surfaces of two substances in contact. The force that holds different materials together at their interface and resist separation into two layers.

adhesion promoters

Products used to treat the smooth fiber face of closely constructed base fabric to provide a chemical bonding site for subsequent coating. This step is done because it is difficult to get good coating adhesion via strikethrough and mechanical bonding in closely constructed fabrics. Products containing the isocyanate group are the most widely used promoters. (Also see dip treating).

Adhesive activated yarns

Yarns treated by the fiber manufacturer to promote better adhesion to another material such as rubber and/or to allow easier processing.

adhesive migration

In nonwovens, the movement of adhesive together with its carrier solvent in a fabric during drying, giving it a non uniform distribution within the web, usually increasing to the outer layers.

adhesive spreader (trowel)

A notched metal plate with a wood, metal or plastic handle used for application of adhesives and mastics.

adhesive, carpet, or cement

The two terms, adhesive and cement, are used interchangeably in the carpet installation trade. They apply to a total line of bonding materials, sealers, seam welding agents used on the carpet, the carpet padding, the seaming tapes, hardware and trim. They can be categorized generally as: Carpet Adhesive: For directly attaching the underside of carpet to the subfloor surface. For jute or man-made backs or plain backcoated: Use water emulsion, synthetic rubber base, nonflammable. For rubber backs (foam or sponge): Use water emulsion, synthetic rubber base, non-flammable. For the above two special formulations with a strippable feature, water emulsions, non-flammable, must be applied to prepared, smooth non-porous subfloor surface. The adhesive attaches more securely to the carpet backing surface than to the floor. If the application has been done correctly it will come up with the carpet. For vinyl-back carpet: Use water emulsions of elastic resins, compatible with vinyl plasticizers, nonflammable. Cushion adhesive: For anchoring cushions (lining, padding, underlay) to subfloors to prevent slipping during carpet stretching operation. Solvent, rubber base, flammable. Seaming Cement: For seaming (with tapes), binding, for prevention of raveling of conventional carpeting (without cushion backing). Water emulsion, rubber latex, nonflammable. Tackless strip cement: For anchoring tackless strip to subfloor (often used in conjunction with mechanical fasteners as extra insurance against loosening). Solvent, rubber base, contact cement, flammable. Seam sealer: For welding together the backing along seams and joints of rubber type foam and sponge back carpet. Solvent, rubber base, flammable. Vinyl back, seam welding (or sealing) Solvent: For fusing together the backing along seams and joints of vinyl-backed carpets. Solvent, rubber base, flammable, toxic.

adipic acid

1, 4-butanedicarboxylic acid (COOH (CH2)4COOH). It is used in the polymerization reaction to form nylon 66 polymers and in the manufacture of polyurethane foams. A primary ingredient in the production of 6,6 nylon. Adipic acid has a chain of 6 carbon atoms and is reacted with hexamethylene diamine (also with 6 carbon atoms, hence the term “type 6,6”) to polymerize type 6,6 nylon.


The attraction of gases, liquids, or solids to surface areas of textile fibers, yarns, fabrics, or any material (Also see absorption)

advanced composite

Polymer, resin, or other matriz-material system in which reinforcement is accomplished via high-strength, high-modulus materials in continuous filament form or in discontinuous form such as staple fibers, fibrets, and insitu dispersions. (Also see composite).

adverse health effect

Any abnormal, harmful, or undesirable effect on the physical, biochemical, biological and/or behavioral well being of a person, as a result of exposure to a pollutant or pollutants in the environment.


An organism that is living, active or occurring only in the presence of oxygen (e.g., most fungi are aerobic).


A suspended liquid or solid particle in a gas (e.g., air). A fine aerial suspension of particles sufficiently small in size to confer some degree of stability from sedimentation, i.e., fog or smoke.

aerosol propellant

Compressed or vapor in a container which upon release of pressure and expansion through valve carries another substance from the container. Examples: butanes, propane, nitrogen, fluorocarbons and carbon dioxide.


In textiles, properties perceived by touch and sight, such as the hand, color, luster, drape and texture of fabrics and garments. I


Attractive force between substances or particles causing them to combine chemically. An example is the affinity of acid dyes for nylon fiber.

afshar (Native to Iran)

The Afshar rug is made by nomads or semi-nomads. Afshar rugs often have a foundation of cotton. The Afshars sale the rugs in Kirman in exchange for cotton. The pile is wool and the design is often composed of diamonds with stylized flowers covering the whole central field. The colors vary, but the background is usually red or blue. White or cream-colored wool is another feature of the Afshar rug.


Any treatment done after fabric production. In dyeing, it refers to treating dyed material in ways to improve properties; in nonwovens, it refers to finishing processes carried out after a web has been formed and bonded. Examples: embossing, creping, softening, printing, and dyeing.


1. Deterioration of textile or other materials caused by gradual oxidation during storage and/or exposure to light. 2. The oxidation stage of pulp. 3. Originally, a process in which printed fabric was exposed to a hot, fabric in moist steam in the absence of air. Aging is also used for the development of certain colors in dyeing, e.g., aniline black.


A steam chamber used for aging printed or padded material.


The collection of extremely fine soil particles into larger masses.


To stir or to mix, as in the case of a dye bath or solution.


To move with rapid or aggressive brush action, in order to distribute uniformly.


A mixture of gasses constituting a compressed fluid tied to the planet by gravitational attraction. Air is 79% nitrogen, 21.9% oxygen, and less than .1% a mixture of carbon dioxide, argon, helium and hundreds of other gasses originating from natural and manmade sources.

air balancing

The appropriate distribution and delivery of proper quantities of air to building space. Generally this includes, but is not limited to, mixing fresh (outside) air with air that is recirculated through a building’s HVAC system.

air changes per hour (ACH)

Volume of air moved in one hour. One air change per hour in a room, home or building means that all the air in each of those environments will be replaced in one hour.

air cleaning

An IAQ control strategy to remove various airborne particulates and/or gasses from the air. The three types of air cleaning most commonly used are: particulate filtration, electrostatic precipitation, and gas sorption. See air conveyance system.

air conditioning

1. A chemical process for sealing short, fuzzy fibers into a yarn. Fabrics made from air conditioned yarns are porous. Because they allow more air circulation, these fabrics are also cooler. 2. Control of temperature and/or humidity in work or living space.

air diffuser

A device designed to disperse an air stream throughout a given area.

air dry

Drying without the aid of any mechanical devices using room temperature or outside drying.

air entangling

A process of any combination (up to 15 plies) of solid color yarn ends are passed through an air jet box which blows a high pressure intermittent jet of air past the yarn, mingling the fine hair-like filaments into one homogeneous bundle, which takes on a color of its own. This process has allowed for great expansion of color flexibility. (also air-interlacing or commingling) A system for producing yarn from BCF singles (primarily polypropylene or nylon), in which fibers are locked together (entangled) in nodules by jets of air.

air exchange rate

Expresses in two ways: 1. The speed (number of times) outdoor air replaces indoor air expressed in air changes per hour (ACH). When there is little infiltration, or natural or mechanical ventilation, the air exchange rate is low and pollutant levels can increase. 2. The number of times the ventilation system replaces the air without a room or area within a building.

air jet spinning

a spinning system in which yarn is made by wrapping fibers around a core stream of fibers with compressed air. In this process, the fibers are drafted to appropriate sliver size, then fed to the air jet chambers where they are twisted, fir in one direction, then in the reverse direction in a second chamber. They are stabilized after each twisting operation.

air line respirator

A respirator that is connected to a compressed breathing air source by a hose of small inside diameter. The air is delivered continuously or intermittently in sufficient volume to meet the wearer’s breathing requirements, and meet OSHA breathing air standards. cp atmospheric supplying respirator

air pollutant

Any unwanted substance in air.

air purifying respirator

A respirator that uses chemicals to remove specific gasses and vapors from the air, or that uses a mechanical filter to remove particulate matter. An air purifying respirator must be used only when there is sufficient oxygen to sustain life, and the air contaminant level is below concentration limits of the device.


One of several ways of evaluating vacuum efficiency. See vacuum pressure.


Any conducting segment of the respiratory tract through which air passes during breathing (e.g., bronchial tubes).


Norwegian reversible rug of many colors worked on the same principle as true tapestry.

albaracine wood

Spanish wool from Albarcia, Aragonia.


A class of colorless, volatile, flammable, organic dry solvents containing one or more hydroxy groups (OH). Alcohols are used as co-solvents in some cleaning or spotting compounds. The alcohols commonly used in light duty and liquid laundry detergents are isopropanol or ethanol (ethyl alcohol). In detergents they control viscosity, act as solvents for other ingredients, and provide resistance to freezing temperatures encountered in shipping, storage and use. Alcohols (isopropyl and ethyl) also may be used in a 60-90% concentration for disinfecting.


Blue-green single cell organisms contain chlorophyll and grow (photosynthesize) in sunlit water in relative proportion to the nutrients present.


A material that destroys algae.

aliphatic solvent

A non-polar dry solvent classification that includes solvents produced by refining petroleum products e.g., odorless mineral spirits.


A term that should more properly be restricted to the hydroxides and carbonates of sodium and potassium. Phosphates such as trisodium and silicates such as metasilicate are also commonly considered as alkalis. Any soluble chemical substance that forms soluble soaps when mixed with fatty acids. Alkalis also are referred to as bases, and they may cause severe skin burns. Alkalis turn litmus paper blue and have pH values that are above seven (7).


A term used to describe a material having a pH greater than 7.0 in water.

alkaline builders (salts)

Chemical agents that are added to surfactants to enhance cleaning ability. Many alkaline builders e.g., trisodium phosphate, sodium carbonate, hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, etc., are used alone or with surfactants to increase detergency in fabric and hard surface cleaning compounds.


The property of water soluble substances that cause the concentration of hydroxyl ions (OH-) in water based solutions to be higher than the concentration of hydrogen ions (h+). soap is mildly alkaline and detergents may be formulated with any desired degree of alkalinity. Denotes values above, but not including, seven (7) on the pH scale. See alkaline builders.

alkalinity test

A test used to determine the alkalinity (pH) of a concrete substrate before deciding on the feasibility of gluing a floorcovering material directly to it.

alkyl aryl sulfonate

A generic term covering a wide range of anionic surfactants and detergent processing aids. The alkyl aryl sulfonates of primary interest are the surfactants classified as linear alkylate sulfonates, they are used to solubilize the active ingredients in some liquid detergents.


The introduction of an alkyl radical into an organic molecule.


A substance that brings on an allergic reaction in human beings, such as pollen, fungus spores, mold, mildew, etc.

allergic reaction

An abnormal physiological response to a chemical or physical stimulus on the part of a sensitive person.

allergic rhinitis

Inflammation of the mucous membranes in the nose.


1. Long, fine hair from Alpaca sheep. 2..A fabric from alpaca fibers or blends, (originally a cotton cloth with alpaca filling) that is used for dresses, coats, suits, and sweaters. It is also used as a pile lining for jackets and coats. The term has been incorrectly used to describe a rayon fabric.

alpha cellulose

One of three forms of cellulose. Alpha cellulose has the highest degree of polymerization and is the chief constituent of paper pulp and chemical dissolving-grade pulp. Also see Beta cellulose and Gamma Cellulose.


A fungus that is commonly found in the outdoor environment e.g., soil.

alternating twist

A texturing procedure in which S and Z twist are alternately inserted in the yarn by means of special heating arrangement.

alumina trihydrate

A chemical additive SBR latex compounds that provides improved flame retardancy to carpet, thus allowing it to conform to ASTM standard for flame spread.


Pertaining to air sacs (alveoli) of the lung where gas exchange occurs between the lung and the blood stream.

ambient air

Outside or surrounding air.

ambient conditions

See atmospheric conditions.

American Conference of Governmental and Industrial Hygienist- ACGIH

Engaged in occupational safety and health programs. ACGIH develops and publishes recommended occupational exposure limits for hundreds of chemicals substances and physical agents. See TLV.

American Design Oriental

Axminster or Wilton woven carpets with oriental designs, patterns, and colors that are woven in American on power looms.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

A privately funded, voluntary membership organization headquartered in New York City, which identifies industrial and public needs for national consensus standards, and coordinates development of such standards. Many ANSI standards relate to safe design/performance of equipment, such as safety shoes, eyeglasses, smoke detectors, fire pumps and household appliances. It also specifies safe practice or procedures, such as noise measurement, testing of fire extinguisher and flame arresters, industrial lighting practices, and the use of abrasive wheels.

American Oriental

A term incorrectly applied to loom-made American carpets of the Axminster, Velvet or Wilton weave which have been manufactured to simulate the color and pattern designs of Oriental rugs. Being without sizing, these American-made carpets are soft and pliable and can be folded an Oriental. The sheen or luster distinguishes this type of American carpet from other weaves.

American Petroleum Institute (API)

An organization of voluntary members within the petroleum industry. Among its services, API assists member committees in developing, by a consensus process, and publishing recommended practices for drilling, well servicing, storage tank installation, tank cleaning, piping and fitting, and other industry related design, installation and operating practices. It also funds and publishes basic reference books and manuals. For example: Industrial Hygiene Monitoring Manual for Petroleum Refineries and selected Petrochemical Operations.

American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)

An organization located in Philadelphia, PA. with voluntary members representing a broad spectrum of individuals, agencies and industries who are concerned with testing standards for a variety of materials. As the world’s largest source of voluntary consensus standards for materials, products, systems, and services, ASTM is a resource for sampling and testing methods health and safety of materials, safe performance guidelines, and effects of physical biological agents and chemicals.

American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

A society of professional engineers that sets standards for heating ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, and for equipment and materials relating thereto. They are the authoritative technical body for standards and procedures for indoor air comfort and health.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

U.S. legislation designed to eliminate discrimination against disabled persons needing access to or use of business premises. It establishes testing methods and slip coefficients for flooring surfaces.


A class of ammonia derived from organic compounds containing one or more halogen atoms attached to nitrogen. Amines often are used in floor finish strippers, buffering agents in liquid laundry detergents as fabric softeners.

amino acid

An amphoteric organic acid containing the amino acid group NH. Amino acids are the basic building block of protein molecules.


An alkaline gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen to form ammonium hydroxide (NH3). Most ammoniated solutions used for spotting are 5-7%, while household ammonia (sudsing) is in a 5-10% range. Since ammonia is a gas suspended in water, air provides excellent alkalinity, while drying residue free and neutral in pH. Ammonia is included in some hard surface cleaner formulations to assist in degreasing, wax stripping and general soil removal.


Non-crystalline, lacking regular geometrical shape. Used to describe certain regions in polymers


A condition that encourages biopollutants to grow or increase in concentration. These conditions may involve food sources, temperature, light, air movement, moisture, etc.

amyl acetate

A organic dry solvent (C7H1402) that is usually blended with other dry solvents and fatty acids to make non-volatile dry solvent (NVDS or POG) spotters. Amyl acetate is slower acting than acetone, but it is effective in removing similar types of spot contaminants: e.g., nail polish, acrylic paint, airplane glue. Amyl acetate is safe to use on acetate fiber.


A class of enzyme digesters which, when mixed with water, break down starches and carbohydrates.


An organism that is found living, active, or occurring in the absence of free oxygen.

anaphylactic shock

An often severe and sometimes fatal systemic reaction in a susceptible person upon exposure to a specific antigen (penicillin or bee sting) after prior sensitization. It is characterized by respiratory symptoms fainting, itching, and urticaria (wheals or whelps).

anchorite tool

A small, pencil-shaped, hammer-driven metal tool designed to drive small brads or pins into carpet to conceal fastening to tackless, subfloor, etc.


A chemical that causes total or partial loss of sensation. Overexposure to anesthetics can cause impaired judgment, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, unconsciousness, and even death. Examples of anesthetics include: alcohol, paint remover, certain acids (e.g., hydrofluoric acid), and some dry solvents.


Free from or containing no water.

aniline dye

In general, the term refers to an organic dye: however, it means an oily, poisonous, liquid amine, (C6H5NH2), obtained chiefly by the reduction of nitrobenzene and used chiefly in making dyes.

animal dander

Tiny scales of shed animal skin.

animal stain

Discoloration of the carpet caused by animal urine.

anionic surfactants

A surface active agent usually derived from reacting aliphatic hydrocarbons and alkalis to form a salt, and in which detergent and other properties depend in part on the negatively charged ion of the molecule. Anionic surfactants are sensitive to water hardness, and are particularly effective in emulsifying oily soils and in suspending particulates. Anionic surfactants are used widely in high sudsing detergents.


A general feeling of displeasure or adverse psychological reaction toward a source material, and generally associated with disturbance, distress, and frustration


The lack of sensitivity to odor stimuli

anthraquinone dyes

Dyes that have anthraquinone as their base and the carbonyl group (less than C=O) as the chromophore. Anthraquinone based dyes are found in most of the synthetic dye classes.


A carpet fiber additive which inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold, mildew, and other fungi micro-organisms.

anti-soiling properties

The properties of textile materials whereby they resist deposition of dirt and stains.

anti-staining properties

The ability of a textile to resist the deposition of oil-borne or water-borne stains.


Ability of carpet to dissipate electrostatic charge thus preventing build up of static electricity to the human sensitivity threshold.


A substance to retard deterioration of fiber, fabrics, finishes, and other items resulting from reaction with oxygen.

antique satin

A satin fabric with slubs in the yarns that appear to be irregularities. See Weaving.


A chemical agent that prevents or inhibits the growth of micro-organisms, particularly on the skin.


A static electricity inhibiting, reducing, or dispersing agent.

Antron legacy

The best performing fiber for most commercial applications. All the qualities of DuPont Antron type 6,6 nylon fiber, treated with DuraTech patented soil resistance technology. Brings superior resistance to soiling to the largest and most specified range of commercial carpets.

Antron Lumena

the best performing fiber for many demanding commercial applications. DuPont has developed a patented process for its solution dyed Antron nylon fiber that gives carpets the ultimate in cleanability. Most stains can be removed with harsh cleaning agents. Trademarked name for DuPont nylon 6,6 fiber.

apparent soiling

Something perceived as being soiled e.g., abraded, but which actually may be free of foreign substances.


A description of a substance at normal room temperature and atmospheric conditions. Appearance may include the color size and consistency of a material.

appearance retention

The ability of a fabric to retain its original aesthetics, color, and construction integrity. Many carpet appearance retention problems are mistakenly referred to as wear.

aquatic toxicity

The adverse effect on marine life that results from being exposed to a toxic substance.


A watery liquid containing dyes and chemicals.


A naturally occurring mineral fiber that can cause cancer. Asbestos is sometimes found in common construction materials including: siding, paints, caulking insulation materials, vinyl asbestos tiles, and etc. A non-metallic mineral fiber which is non-flammable. The fiber is woven into fabrics and used for theater curtains and industrial uses where flame resistant materials are needed.


An infection or disease caused by breathing high concentrations of aspergillus fungi over a prolonged period.


Any of a genus of ascomycetous fungi with branched or radiating soporiferous, including many common molds. Generally, aspergillus fungi proliferate in warm temperatures suitable for human habitation.

asphalt tile

A floor tile manufactured with a mixture of synthetic fibers, lime rock, mineral fibers, and coloring. Asphalt is used to bind these materials together.


A vapor or gas that limits or prohibits the body’s ability to assimilate (use) oxygen, even though sufficient oxygen may be present, and can cause unconsciousness or death by suffocation (lack of oxygen). In addition, some chemicals, like carbon monoxide, function as chemical asphysiants by reducing the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. Most simple asphysiants are harmful to the body only when they become so concentrated that they reduce oxygen in the air (normally about 21%) to the dangerous levels (16% or lower). Asphyxiation is one of the principal potential hazards of working in confined spaces.

American Home Appliance Manufacturers Association – (AHAM)

An international, non-profit trade association that represents member firms within the cleaning and restoration service industry.

Association of Specialist in cleaning and Restoration - ASCR

An international, non-profit trade association that represents member firms within the cleaning and restoration service industry.


A condition marked by recurrent attacks of difficult or labored breathing and wheezing resulting from spasmodic contraction and hyper-secretion of the bronchi resulting from spasmodic contraction and hyper secretion of the bronchi resulting from exposure to allergens such as drugs, foods, or environmental pollutants or intrinsic factors.


A standard unit of pressure exerted by a 29.92 inch column of mercury at sea level and equal to 1000 grams per square centimeter.

atmosphere supplying respirator

A respirator that provides breathing air from a source independent of surrounding atmosphere. There are two types of atmosphere supplying respirators: air line, and self-contained breathing apparatus.


Individual component of a molecule

attached cushion

A carpet padding material permanently adhered to the back of a carpet or rug during the manufacturing process. Cushion permanently bonded to the back of carpets and rugs by the manufacturer. See Cushioned-Backed Carpets.

auto-ignition temperature

The temperature to which a closed or partially closed container must be heated, in order that a flammable liquid, when introduced into the container, will ignite or burn spontaneously (with no spark or flame).


An apparatus for heat setting yarn under pressure in a super heated steam atmosphere.

automatic scrubber

A labor saving, powdered floor cleaning machine that dispenses cleaning solution onto a floor, scrubs it in and vacuums it up, along with suspended soil, depositing it into a recovery tank.

auxiliary tanks

Means of storing additional supply of water and returned dirty solution in steam carpet cleaning truck mounted units.

average pile density

The weight of pile yarn in a unit volume of carpet. It is expressed in ounces per cubic yard, and arrived at with the formula: density = pile yarn weight (in ounces per square yard) times 36, divided by pile thickness (pile height in inches); or D = W x 36/T.


A pointed, stainless steel carpet installation tool used for marking, for making small holes or for penetrating carpet backings at corners for proper disengagement.

Axminster carpet

A carpet weave. Pile tufts are individually inserted from colored yarns arranged on spools making possible an enormous variety of colors and patterns. A woven cut pile carpet produced by inserting successive rows of tufts having colors arranged according to a predetermined pattern. This weave originated in Axminster, England. Rows of individual pile tufts are inserted as a performed unit from spools of colored yarn, making possible an endless variety of colors and geometric or floral patterns based on a punch card control system. Axminsters are identified by a ribbed backing texture that results from having weft shots running impairs. cp “weaving” 1. spool Axminster - Cut pile carpet manufactured on a loom on which the yarns of each weft row are wrapped on a separate spool, according to the predetermined design. The tufts are separated from the yarns presented at the point of weaving after being inserted in the substrate. 2. gripper Axminster - A cut pile carpet manufactured on a Jacquard loom in which the tufts of yarn, cut after selection from appropriate creels, are inserted at the point of weaving by grippers. One of the basic weaves used in making carpet. The pile tufts in this weave are individually inserted and woven into the back in a manner similar to the hand knotting of oriental rugs, making possible almost unlimited combination of colors and patterns. 3. A machine woven carpet in which successive weft-wise rows of pile are inserted during weaving according to a predetermined arrangement of colors. there are four main types of Axminster looms: Spool, Gripper, Gripper-Spool, and Chenille. Originally a carpet made at Axminster, Devonshire, England. Today, it is the product of a loom of that name. the pile is inserted by either tube frames or grippers. Normally, a cut pile fabric.

azo dyes

Dyes characterized by the presence of an azo group (-N=N-) as the chromophore. Azo dyes are found in many of the synthetic dye classes.

azoic dyes

See Dyes, Naphthol Dyes.

Did you know?

Carpet cleaning can never be performed too often. In selecting a carpet cleaner, ask for references. Poor quality carpet cleaning chemicals can cause carpet to resoil quickly. The carpet cleaning method selected should match carpet manufacturer's carpet cleaning recommendations.