Common Carpet Defects: Carpet Oil Streaks

All kinds of lines appear in carpets. You can see some as soon as the carpet is rolled out; some don’t show up for several days or weeks. Some run lengthwise, others widthwise. Some can be removed, others can’t. Below is information on carpet oil streaks. I also suggest you read my previous posts on high lines and low lines in carpet, shear streaks, stop marks and shift marks.

Any mechanical equipment needs lubrication. Carpet tufters are complicated machines, with hundreds of moving parts that must be oiled. Machine oils from various places in the production line can get on the carpet pile. Part of the finishing process for broadloom carpets involves scouring and washing to remove contaminants. Still, because the oil is clear, you won’t see it until it slowly attracts dirt and darkens. Then, after one to three weeks, a gray line, or lines, will slowly appear. You’ll see this condition in usage areas first because the foot traffic brings dirt, which sticks to the oil. In fact, the lines may appear to be intermittent or broken up because the non-traffic portions of the oil streak have not attracted dirt.

These lines will run lengthwise or widthwise, depending on what machinery part caused the oil to get on the carpet. Oil streaks show up more on lighter colors. Mills will send a professional cleaner to remove oil streaks. If a lot of lubricant is in the fiber, a streak may reappear, but it will be less noticeable after cleaning. A re-cleaning will remove any residual oil.

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Who is Glenn Revere?

Glenn Revere has been a carpet expert since 1973. He’s a certified flooring inspector and the author of All About Carpets, the only book written to protect and inform you about your carpet choices, from carpet buying and carpet warranties to carpet care and maintenance. You can find him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

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