Carpet Cleaning & Protectant FAQs

Over the years, we have been asked many questions about carpet and upholstery protectants. Below are the most common questions, and their answers. Feel free to contact us at J&S Steamway with any additional questions!

Q: What are protectants?

A: Carpet and upholstery protectants are liquid products that are applied to the fibers at the factory and/or post-cleaning, which add resistance to soil and to water and oil based contaminates. This resistance helps to prevent staining and provide for more efficient and effective cleaning.

Q: How does protectant work?

A: Protectants work by increasing the surface tension of fibers. The soil is repelled by the fibers rather than adhering to them. A good protectant also increases stain resistance by filling in the dye sites in the fibers. The protectants J&S Steamway uses include this stain resistor.

Q: What benefits do protectants provide?

A: The vacuuming of carpet and upholstery is far more effective when it has been protected, and removing particulate soils will help maintain the appearance of your carpet and upholstery. Particulate soils are the leading cause of traffic pattern damage in carpets and wear on upholstery by scratching and cutting the fibers, resulting in dulling, matting, and even fiber loss in those areas.

It will also help maintain the appearance by allowing you to remove spots and spills more easily through blotting, which does not harm the fibers as rubbing and scrubbing does. The increased surface tension is “pushing” against foreign materials, including spilled drinks and foods, and per accidents, making them easier to clean up while providing more response time.

Q: Why do I need protectant if it was applied by the manufacturer?

A: All protectants applied to carpet and upholstery by manufacturers are wear products, meaning they wear off over time through normal use and cleanings. A good analogy is the non-stick surface of a frying pan. When the pan is scratched, food will release. As soon as the pan is scratched, food will begin to stick to those areas. The same thing happens to protectants.

Most carpets are replaced not because they are worn out overall, but because less than 10% of the carpet has “uglied out”. When traffic patterns become visible and are no longer able to be cleaned out, there is nothing that can be done to restore the appearance of those areas. So, an entire room, level, or house is re-carpeted because of damage to a relatively small area. Carpet warranties often exclude stairs and hallways because of high usage, so protectant is an easy and effective way to ensure the longest use out of these areas.