Pile packing on new carpet is caused by the loss of yarn resilience. (Resilience is a yarn quality that causes it to spring back to its original position after having been stepped on and compressed under body weight.) The question: what causes yarn to loose resilience?
Perhaps I should first point out that resilience varies with the yarn type. Nylon and wool have excellent resilience, Polypropylene (Olefin) the poorest, Polyester and acrylic would fall somewhere in between. However because of wear; resilience gradually diminishes and in time pile packing is inevitable; no matter the yarn type.
The answer: lack of proper maintenance (from new) will cause the yarn to pack down much sooner than it should.
We live in a very dirty world – a fact we’d do well to remember for both new carpet and health reasons. Motor oil, acid, soot, asphalt, industrial gases, pesticides, herbicides, lawn fertilizer, dust and grit – all are commonplace and threaten health.
We carry these pollutants (and a great many others) into our homes on the soles of our shoes. Yet, to these contaminants, we add hair, skin cells, food crumbs, beverage spills, pet accidents, cooking vapors as well as a hoard of residues from a wide range of chemicals inherent in the products we use – cleaning chemicals, disinfectants, deodorizers, air fresheners, polishes – to name but a few.
Obviously there can be many ingredients in the wide variety mentioned above that can cause these substances to stick to carpet yarn. The oil and grease we track indoors from streets and parking lots are among the worst. Once grease and oil have begun to adhere to carpet yarn, the gummy consistency not only attracts still more, but also provides the adhesive for would be vacuum-able soils that get pressed into the tacky substance under foot.
As the accumulating filth increases in both mass and weight, yarn resilience becomes progressively impaired. Eventually, continuous traffic over dirty carpeting will cause the pile to stick flat to the backing. Will cleaning restore yarn resilience?
The more soil permitted to accumulate in carpet and the longer it is permitted to remain packed, the less likely cleaning is to restore yarn resilience. Continued traffic over soiled carpeting destroys resilience. Cleaning can loft the pile; but when traffic resumes the pile will lay down again almost immediately.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
You would be wise to avoid soils as much as possible, since doing so would increase carpet life and beauty while reducing maintenance cost.
1) Don’t wear street shoes on your carpeting. 2) Don’t consume foodstuffs over it. 3) Keep it vacuumed well, especially in high traffic areas. 4) Don’t tolerate house pets that are not house broken. 5) When you clean your carpeting, make sure you employ a trained technician who rinses properly. Cleaning agent left in carpeting can cause pile packing as well – to say nothing of rapid re-soiling.
Since eventual soiling is inevitable, you’d also be wise to clean your carpeting when soil first begins to show. Don’t let it accumulate. You have two good reasons to keep your carpeting clean: 1) The waste that invades our homes can involve serious health threats, and 2) as the quantity increases, so does the probability of carpet damage.
Remember: Carpet is a textile product just like the clothes in your closet. If it is not maintained properly it will ugly out before it wears out.