Carpet Cleaning: 101 | A Glossary of Terms

Whether you’re the one scheduling the carpet cleaning at your office and you want to brush up on your vocabulary, or you’re simply tired of overhearing conversations about the cleaning process and not being able to keep up with the industry jargon.

Either way – we’re here to help! Welcome to Carpet Cleaning: 101. First things first, let’s cover a glossary of terms used by commercial carpet cleaning professionals.


When carpet fibers untwist, this process is known as blooming. Blooming may occur for several reasons, including improper heat setting, improper cleaning and maintenance techniques, and general wear and tear.

Carpet Tiles

Unlike wall-to-wall carpet, carpet tiles are individual carpet squares that are commonly found in commercial settings because of their high levels of durability. Carpet tiles can be solid in color, textured, or patterned, and can be removed for individual spot cleaning and/or repairs.


Also known as “matting,” crushing occurs when fibers become bent and compressed. Eventually, all carpet will show signs of crushing. However, establishing a regular maintenance program, using firm padding below the carpet, and frequently rearranging furniture to re-direct traffic patterns can all help to greatly prolong crushing.


Denier refers to the total amount of yarn per carpet area; carpets with more denier have a higher yarn count.

Dirt Encapsulation Cleaning (DEC)

Woodard’s own proprietary system of low moisture cleaning, and is often used between regularly scheduled cleaning sessions. DEC uses very little moisture to clean, equating to faster drying times.

Face Weight

Similar to denier, face weight plays a great role in carpet performance and durability. Face weight is defined as the total weight of fibers per square yard of carpet. Note: when measuring face weight, backing is not included.


Fibers are the basic material that carpet is made from. While the majority of carpet manufactured today is made of synthetic fibers (i.e. nylon, olefin, polyester), other types of carpet are made from natural fibers, including wool, cotton, silk, and bamboo.


As a result of high-traffic, wear and tear, and improper cleaning methods (i.e. using incorrect cleaning products, scrubbing stains instead of blotting, etc.), carpet fibers can fray. When fraying occurs, the carpet fibers become damaged, expand, and change textures.

Hot Water Extraction

Recommended by major carpet manufacturers, hot water extraction is a cleaning process that agitates carpet to break down the soil and grime buried deep within the fibers. After a thorough rinse with eco-friendly cleaning solutions and a rapid turbo-drying process, carpets are not only cleaner, but they are stronger as well.

IICRC Certified Carpet Cleaning Technicians

The IICRC is a certification and standard-setting non-profit organization for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries. In partnership with regional and international trade associates, the IICRC serves more than 25 countries with offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Woodard’s team of cleaning technicians are proudly IICRC certified. (source)

Click here to learn more about Woodard’s certifications and training.

LEED Certification

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project. (source)

Maintenance Program

A scheduled program of cleaning and restoration services that is personalized and customized to meet the unique needs of commercial buildings, office spaces, educational settings, and other facilities.

MOR™ Cleaning Machine

The industry-leading rug cleaning machine system that evenly shampoos, rinses and extracts moisture through rolling pin wringers all in one machine. The MOR™ cleaning machine is recognized as the finest automatic rug and carpet tile cleaning system available in the commercial market today.

Click here to learn more about The MOR™ cleaning machine.


Also known as “carpet cushion,” padding is the layer of cushion that is installed between the carpet and floor board. Padding is essential in prolonging carpet life, appearance, and quality.


Sometimes referred to as “nap,” pile is defined as the visible portion of carpet fibers. There are several different types and styles of piles, including cut pile and loop pile.

Pile Reversal

Also known as “shading,” pile reversal occurs when high-traffic activity bends the carpet fibers in various directions. Pile reversal is highly common at pivot points (i.e. hallway corners, doorways, etc.), and directly results in the creation of a discolored impression.


Carpet’s ability to resist crushing/matting is known as resilience. Type of fiber, padding, backing, and other characteristics are used to qualify the amount of resilience a piece of carpeting has.

Restorative Carpet Tile Cleaning

Woodard’s own restorative and eco-friendly carpet tile cleaning process, designed to greatly reduce unnecessary carpet tile replacement costs. With this process, soiled tiles are brought to a state-of-the-art facility to be deeply cleaned and restored with the highly-exclusive MOR™ Cleaning Machine.

Click here to learn more about Woodard’s restorative carpet tile cleaning.


Typically caused by excessive amounts of heat and humidity, rippling is the technical term for wave-like or ruffled patterns that appear on wall-to-wall carpeting. In most cases, rippling can be corrected by contacting a qualified contractor or carpet retailer to re-stretch the carpet.


The line where two pieces of carpet intersect is known as the seam. Since most carpet is produced in 12-foot wide rolls, avoiding seams is rarely a possibility.


Post-installation, new carpet has a tendency to shed fibers for several weeks. While shedding is more common in cut pile and wool carpets, it is still a minor issue for synthetic fiber carpets. Regular vacuuming is the best method for resolving a shedding issue.


When dirt particles, germs, and grime build up in carpet fibers, soiling occurs. A maintenance program, regularly scheduled professional carpet cleaning services, and routine vacuuming are all ways to prevent soiling from occurring.


Tufting is the first step in the carpet manufacturing process, and is defined as the loop (cut or uncut) of pile.

Still Have Questions?

No worries! Contact your account manager, or any member of the Woodard team to learn more about our signature carpet cleaning processes, certifications, and state-of-the-art equipment.

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