Yellowing of carpet fiber is often perplexing to the consumer and the carpet professional alike. Consumers often insist yellowing is a result of a manufacturing defect and the carpet professional has a difficult time convincing the consumer otherwise. Yellowing of carpet fiber has become more commonplace in recent years due to the development of stain resist technology. Consumers are now able to purchase lighter shades of carpet with less worries about the cleanability of the fiber. These new, lighter colors hide yellowing less than the darker colors of the past. |
Identifying the source of the yellowing can sometimes be elusive. There are a number of causes for yellowing of synthetic carpet fiber. Yellowing can be the result of one isolated source or a combination of sources.
While permanently eliminating the reoccurrence of yellowing can be difficult without identifying the source, a temporary solution can usually be achieved by applying an approved acid-rinse solution to the face fiber. An acetic acid solution or a citric acid solution should be used by a carpet cleaning professional to remove any yellow discoloration. A ten (10%) percent pharmaceutical grade citric acid solution often works well due to the residual benefits of the citric acid solution. In some cases, the consumer may use a solution of one cup water mixed with one cup white vinegar to neutralize small areas of discoloration. Any other consumer application should be discouraged. The application of any detergent solution should also be discouraged since some types of yellowing can be permanently "set" by the high alkalinities of many detergent solutions. Possible Causes of Yellowing
BHT (butylated hydroxy toluene) or BHA (butylated hydroxy anisole) is probably the most commonly recognized yellowing situation and probably the most over-blamed. BHT serves as an ultraviolet inhibitor and an antioxidant. It was used through the years as a preservative in polypropylene yarn systems, carpet adhesives, some latex formulations, various backings and backcoatings, and many other consumer products. BHT is considered non toxic and is even contained in many food items.
One of the big problems that can happen with carpet is that it sometimes develops a yellow cast. The most common causes of this problem are:
Use of a detergent with a pH over 10 on stain-resist nylon carpet: To cure the yellowing from an overly aggressive detergent, rinse with water to remove the excess detergent, apply Brown Out® diluted 1 part Brown Out to 2 parts of water (43 ounces per gallon) to the affected areas, allow to work on the yellowing for 15-20 minutes, do a single wet pass with just plain water and 2 dry passes. Since the stain resistance has been destroyed, Bane-Guard™ or Teflon® to the carpet. However, the stain resistance warranty has still been voided! Application of silicone protector on stain-resist nylon carpet: To cure the yellowing from an overly aggressive (pH above 10) detergent, rinse with water to remove the excess. To cure the yellowing from the use of a silicone protector, remove the silicone by normal cleaning followed by the Brown Out treatment at 1:2 with water as above and apply Bane-Guard™. However, in both situations, the warranty has still been voided!
BHT yellowing: BHT (Butylated Hydroxy Toluene) is a common slowly vaporizing preservative used in many plastics including rebond pad. It is even used as a preservative in bread, because it performs well against free radicals. Most of the problems have been on carpets in areas of low air circulation such as in closets, under low-lying furniture, or under throw rugs.
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