What are the components of carpet and fabric protectors?
There are essentially three main components that can be found in most modern carpet and fabric protector formulations–
- short-chain fluorochemicals,
- dyeblockers (AKA acid dye resistors),
Fluorochemicals are what essentially provide a surface tension across the top of the carpet. They provide water and oil based spill repellency and soil resistance. If you are selling the fact that a water based spill will sit on the top of the carpet (beading up) with a coated blotter card demonstration, you are demonstrating the benefits of a fluorochemical. They are the most important element of soil resistance too – keeping the soil from working its way down into the carpet – making vacuuming more effective.
Dyeblockers (acid dye resistors) are actually materials which enter into the dye sites of nylon carpeting and penetrate wool carpeting to provide a much longer protection against a spilled staining material from entering into the carpet. They help the carpet resist stains even when the spilled liquid has penetrated through the surface tension of the fluorochemical and has come in direct contact with the carpet fiber. Dyeblockers help a carpet prevent staining working from the “inside toward the outside” by “filling up” any remaining dyeability in the fiber dye sites. They are the most important element of stain prevention. When you add dyeblocker to a fluorochemical, it affects the “beading” performance of the protector. The fluorochemical is still working, but on many carpets, the spilled liquid does not as obviously bead up as when using a protector that is only a fluorochemical. Fabric protectors with fluorochemicals and dyeblockers make for a very impressive demonstration because you can pour Kool-Aid right onto a carpet sample, let it soak in, and it will still wash completely out.
Polymers are kind of the new kid on the block. They are a coating material that really came into play with the popularity increasing of low moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning. They keep the soil or spilled material from attaching to the carpet. The “coating of protection” helps the carpet resist soiling and staining by working “from the outside to the inside of the carpet.” When polymers are used in a fabric protection role, there are obviously more of them used than in an encapsulation carpet cleaning solution. Polymers alone are relatively good way to keep spilled materials from soaking into the carpet with a coating barrier. They do not work quite as well as dyeblockers at that though, and do not impart soil resistance through surface tension. If used alone as a protector, their primary benefit against soil is with particulate soiling, not spilled liquids. Some polymers have the advantage of being “green. “ Protectors in our industry that are identified as green usually have polymers, some have dyeblockers, but to be green they cannot contain fluorochemicals at the present time.
How does this apply to the products you can buy?
The last time we tested them, the national branded products from 3M and DuPont contained fluorochemicals only. These products work well at beading up liquids, but are not as effective at long term prevention of staining. Products manufactured by the larger chemical formulators in the carpet cleaning industry contain fluorochemicals and differing level of dyeblockers. They would not typically “bead up” as well as fluorochemical only products (the surface tension is still there, it is just not usually as visually obvious) but would also be superior at preventing stains in the long run. There are a couple of “green certified” protectors within our industry that are a polymer based protector with dyeblockers that do not contain any fluorochemicals. They have very mediocre performance against soil resistance and good to very good stain prevention. If you are selling fabric protection as a stain preventer, protectors made within our industry have the advantage. If you are selling fabric protection with a beading up blotter card, national branded protectors have the advantage. The good news is that now you can apply a protector that has a higher level of stain prevention performance than any of them. If you want the best protector on the market, you need to consider Complete Guard Carpet and Fabric Protector.
HydraMaster has been working alongside one of the leading short chain fluorochemical manufacturers, as well as a dyeblocker and polymer manufacturer for the past year. We are introducing this new carpet protector called Complete Guard. It contains the latest generation of short chain fluorochemicals and dyeblockers. It also contains polymers too – providing three different levels and types of stain protection and soil resistance. Complete Guard protects the carpet by providing a surface tension across the top of the carpet, and protective additives which protect the carpet from staining both working from the inside to the outside and the outside to the inside. That is the highest level of stain prevention technology available. The best news is that it is price competitive with the previously mentioned products while containing the newest technology.
What do we mean by a Multi-Level Carpet and Fabric Stain and Soil Protector?
Complete Guard Carpet and Fabric Protector represents cutting edge technology in carpet protectors today. It uses state-of-the-art, environmentally preferred short-chain fluorochemical technology to protect against damaging dry soils as well as both water-based and oil-based spills. Even better though is how Complete Guard coats fibers with a dye-blocking stain barrier to protect them from dye stains and common household food and beverage spills. Complete Guard protects the fiber completely, not just at the top like conventional protectors. Conventional protectors rely on a repellency barrier across the top of carpeting to protect carpet fibers, and while such protectors perform well, especially when spills are cleaned up immediately, once a spill penetrates the protective barriers of repellent protectors they immediately bond to the fiber, creating difficult to remove stains. Complete Guard also reduces or eliminates extended drying times you experience with conventional protectors, because it uses half the water of most other protectors. Special dispersing agents make sure that the carpet is thoroughly protected without soaking the carpet with more water. Your customers will love how easily spills are removed and how great their carpet will look between cleanings. Complete Guard is recommended for application to nylon and wool carpets, and greatly enhances the oil based soil repellency of olefin, polyester, and triexta carpet.
While the product you select is important, your dedication to selling it on every job is even more important.
The fact is that all of the above types of products we talked about will provide your customer with a higher level of protection than their carpet has now if it is more than two or three years old. Even so called “stain-proof” olefin, polyester, and triexta carpet fibers certainly benefit from the oil based soiling resistance that a fluorochemical provides. There is also no doubt that the extended recession that the economy has gone through in recent years has taken a hard toll on the amount of carpet protector being sold. One recent informal survey of a group of large distributors in our industry who carry several national and industry brands of protector indicated that sales of protector overall have fallen as much as 20-25% in the last few years. Even some of the cleaning companies who have the strongest track record of selling protector to their consistent high end clients report that many have cut back on the amount of money they spend. They still get their carpets cleaned on a regular basis, but may choose not having protector applied as a way to reduce expenditures.
You already know however, that selling fabric protector is the easiest and fastest way to add extra income to take your company to a higher profitability level. If you are a single truck operator, it can mean a fun vacation for your family every year. If you operate a fleet of carpet cleaning vans, it can be the most important cog in meeting your financial goals for the company. Even a one truck operation can add $20,000 or more to your bottom line. So the first thing we recommend is to accept the reality of the present economic environment. Know it might be a little tougher to sell protector than it was 5 years ago. Then make a commitment to implementing the proven strategies for selling protector that are all around you. Ask your industry colleagues on an industry forum like Mikey’s Board what they have done that works for them. Look at the resources available to help you sell protector – sales brochures; package selling programs which include fabric protection as part of your better and best packages; aftercare programs and self-administrated stain removal warranties; free spotter programs; special offers in your social networking and marketing outreach; blotter cards or demonstrations on carpet samples; sales videos or PowerPoint presentations. It is so much easier to present a sales video now. Just play it for your customer on your smart phone or tablet. Embed it into your website. Link it to your Facebook page. Provide twitter updates on fabric protection specials. What you can rest assured of is that you have a better choice than ever in true stain prevention when it comes to products.
For more information about Complete Guard Carpet and Fabric Protector, visit https://hydramaster.com/Products/Chemicals/Protectant/CompleteGuard.aspx.