What Causes Carpet Yellowing? Ankeny, IA


There are several reasons a carpet may yellow.  Sometimes it can be treated, other times it can be lessened but, unfortunately, sometimes it’s permanent.  Here are a few reasons you may be seeing yellowing or discoloration of your carpet.


·Direct Sunlight on Dyes

Photo oxidation occurs with light.  Most carpets have more yellow dye in them than other colors so, when the sunlight fades the other colors out, a yellow tint is what remains.  There is no way to reverse this but by re-dying.  Photo oxidation can also occur with regular light or atmospheric fumes.


·The Tracking of Chemicals and Soils

Soil from regular use can cause abrasion of carpet fibers and can cause permanent discoloration.  Chemicals being tracked in from asphalt will also discolor a carpet.  Ice melt is another culprit.  Most ice melt contains calcium chloride, which is bad news for your carpet.  The best way to protect your carpet from this type of staining is to invest in a long mat or carpet protector in entry areas.


·Optical Brighteners/Fluorescent Brightening Agents (FBA’s)

FBA’s can yellow when exposed to UV light.  These are found in several carpet cleaning chemicals but carpet manufacturers do not approve of them.  Use a cleaner that does not contain FBA’s, whenever possible.


·Butylated Hydroxy Toluene (BHT)

BHT is a preservative used in plastics, particle board, plywood, and several other items.  It is also used in rebond carpet padding.  In this case yellowing may occur anywhere the carpet is padded, thus you may see non-yellowed areas around the edge of the room where the tackless strips are or anywhere else where there is no padding present.

Rebond Carpet Padding


Use of Cleaners with a 10 or higher ph level

This is especially true of stain-resistant nylon carpets.  A neutralizer may be able take out some of the yellowing and improve the appearance of the carpet.  Find a carpet cleaner with a lower ph level and use it from now on to prevent future discoloration.


·Special Finishes

Special finishes, such as insecticides around doorways, anti-static chemicals, softeners, flame-proofing, crease resistance, and other chemicals which are used on carpeting and upholstered furniture can all cause yellowing with age.


As you can see, there are many ways for a carpet to become yellowed.  A professional cleaner will have several ways to reduce the effect of yellowing, including treatment with special anti-yellowing products or those which can adjust the ph of the fibers to improve appearance. 


Steamway Craftsmen is happy to help you combat yellowing in your home or office.  We’ve been in the business for over 40 years and can treat almost any type of carpet, rugs, and upholstery.  Give us a call at 515-232-8938 or 515-223-2830 in the Ankeny, Iowa area.  We’ll come to your home, look at your situation, and help you find the best solution possible.