April 3rd, 2023
Introduction to sisal dyeing and colour repair
Sisal, seagrass, jute carpets. Everybody knows them, a lot of companies dry compound clean them, some might even attempt to remove stains on them, but almost nobody colour repairs them.
Over the last few years I have tried many methods of colour repairing these fibres, some more successful than others: from tea and acid dyes to direct dyes and pigments.
The first 3 are easy to mix in order to reach any target colour but the repairs are subject to fading.
The use of pigments gives lasting repairs, but by their very nature (unlike dyes, pigments are insoluble) they are difficult to blend together.
I usually use a mix of red, yellow and blue in order to customise a good colour match for the repair, so being able to mix the colours together is essential – sourcing very fine pigments solved this problem.
As I started doing more and more sisal colour repairs, I also got a lot more enquiries for sisal stain removal.
Sisal loses colour with moisture and agitation so we use this to our advantage to remove stains. Sometimes one can find the fine line between reducing the stain and removing the colour of the carpet with no dyeing needed, but in most cases it is a matter of bleaching out the stain and dyeing it to blend in.
One has to go in layers during both steps removing a stain and adding colour, so it is a slow process that requires A LOT of patience and practice but whether we like them or not, sisal carpets are very popular so there is a massive market for stain removal and colour repair on these fibres.
Would you like to learn more about sisal stain removal and colour repair? Gabriel will do a sisal workshop at The WoolSafe Conference on the 11th of May. There is also a brand new Sisal Stain Removal and Colour Repair course coming up soon.
Brio Carpet Care
December 14, 2022
We usually refer to colour loss on carpets and rugs as bleach spots, whether they are caused by actual household bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or any other bleaching agent.
The stains caused by sodium hypochlorite are easy to identify, as most are typically yellow: bleach removes blue and red, leaving the yellow behind.
For those who do colour repair, this basically means that any sodium hypochlorite bleach spot can be corrected by adding the missing purple (a mix of red and blue).
Other bleaching agents like benzoyl peroxide remove mainly the blue, leaving behind the dreaded pink stains (red and yellow make orange / pink).
For the last few years I've corrected many of these BP pink spots, mainly for high end property developers who were unlucky enough to fit nylon 6.6 carpets before doing final touches on skirting boards, cupboards or doors repaired with two part wood fillers.
The hardener part in the two part wood fillers is benzoyl peroxide based, so any sanding effectively creates bleach dust.
Once the dust finds its way onto the carpet and the conditions are right (humidity + heat) it bleaches the fibres.
In my tests for a major carpet manufacturer, nylon 6.6 was the most susceptible to colour loss caused by BP.
To make things even more complicated, unlike hydrogen peroxide, benzoyl peroxide is not self neutralising so any BP dust left for example on skirtboards or windowsills could potentially cause carpet colour loss days or even weeks after the wood sanding was done.
But if we look at the “acid bleach spot” picture, the spot is neither yellow nor pink, it's green!
As a carpet cleaner one might have noticed the greenish stains caused by using too much rust remover while trying to remove a rust stain or, as in the case of one of our customers, some of the hard floor cleaning solutions – they are both highly acidic.
Strong acids can remove the red colour (hence the green stain, as the remaining blue and yellow make green).
The stain pictured is one of the many we've corrected for a well known high end hotel chain and following rigorous testing we've managed to trace it down to their highly acidic descaler.
They've since introduced new measures and trained their staff accordingly, to prevent further carpet bleaching.
If you'd like to learn more about bleach spots and how to correct them, join us for the Carpet Dyeing and Colour Repair course on the 28th of February 2023 at Ecoclean Rugs in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
Brio Carpet Care
July 29, 2022
Our first article, published in the August edition of WoolSafe News:
Today is more or less 4 years since I have dyed my first carpet.
Having realized the potential of carpet dyeing, I've taken a 3 days carpet dyeing course and excitedly got back to my workshop to practice.
The results were mixed, mainly due to lack of experience, but at the same time I've identified the need of having better dyes.
Working with primary colours is all good and nice in theory, but in practise one needs well balanced dyes to be able to match any given carpet colours.
So I went back to the drawing board, started to research acid dyes (during this research I've also learnt how to use a specific group of dyes on sisal, seagrass, jute, etc which has vastly improved my sisal colour repairs, but this is a different subject) and a few months later the Brio Dyes were born.
Armed with my new dyes I set off to practice as much as possible and improve my carpet dyeing services.
I have found a niche and while I recognise there is a massive market for carpet colour change, I focus almost exclusively on the colour repair segment of the market.
Fast forward 4 years later, I have restored thousands of bleach spots from the now well known and well understood benzoyl peroxide spots in brand new high end properties mainly affecting the soft nylon 6.6 carpets to private jets and stately homes up and down the country and of course high end hotels whom were over the moon with our colour restoration services that saved them tens of thousands of pounds in carpet replacements.
I think this somewhat addresses the commonly asked question "is there a market for carpet dyeing"?
The other question I often hear is "I'm a carpet cleaner, why do I need to learn carpet dyeing?"
As we all know carpet cleaning is the easy part, but it gets a bit more difficult when it comes to stain removal.
Advanced stain removal training is of course essential, and in many cases it all comes down to using strong reducers ( sodium metabisulphite or the last resort - sodium hydrosulphite) or oxygen based bleaches accelerated with UV lamps, to get rid of stubborn stains like dye bleeding, pollen, turmeric, and of course pet urine to name a few.
A skilful carpet cleaner will manage to improve the stains using these methods but in many cases will go too far and remove some of the carpet colour in the process too – sometimes it's inevitable.
This is where carpet dyeing comes into place and sets the best of the carpet cleaners from the rest.
Being able to colour match gives the carpet cleaner the option of removing stains with the full confidence that if some of the carpet's colours is also removed during the process, it can be addressed at the end by touching up the spot or in many cases the "aura" around it with a bit of well matched dye.
In conclusion, knowing how to deal with bleach spots and colour loss is yet another tool in your toolbox that makes one a better carpet cleaner.
It's also useful to know when and what to dye.
As a rule of thumb, I only work on high end wool and occasionally nylon and sisal carpets ( and of course, my passion - oriental rugs)
There are parties claiming that polyester and polypropylene fibres can be colour restored and I agree they could be dyed with pigment dyes but being cheaper carpets, by the time we charge for the colour restoration it would be close to the replacement value so that in my opinion makes them BER (beyond economical repair). So we stick to working on high end nylon, sisal and of course, wool.
But are all stains dyeable?
I often get phone calls from clients who say "we've got this stain our carpet cleaner could not remove so they've advised we need a carpet dyer" .
Unlike a bleach spot which involves colour loss, a stain is colour addition so dyeing (adding even more colour) is not an option.
Yes, one could reduce the stain with the option of dyeing it if going too far but this is not necessarily a solution for every stain!
Carpet dyeing requires a lot of practice and skill and is time consuming so sometimes, depending on the type of stain and carpet value, replacing the carpet might be the best option.
Having said that for the last few years I have been flooded with colour repair enquiries, so much so, I had no option but to cut back on carpet cleaning and other services I used to offer just to be able to cope with the incoming volume of enquiries.
I've also had many carpet cleaners asking me to organize carpet dyeing workshops and courses which I've successfully started doing at the beginning of this year and will to continue to do so, to extend the family of professionals exclusively using the Brio Dyes for carpet colour repairs.
Highlights from my travel to Ankara to brush up on my rug repair skills
The taxi driver takes a motorway exit towards Istanbul. I have asked him to take me to an address in Ankara... I want to say something but I don’t speak any Turkish, so I ask him in English. He looks at me, shrugs his shoulders, and continues to drive.
Welcome to Ankara!
I am here for a one to one, hands on rug repair and restoration course with Reza, a Persian rug master from Iran.
3 Weeks of working on rugs, doing rug repairs, learning about rugs and talking about rugs day and night! The expresion "like a child in a sweet shop" springs to mind !
I am staying a short walking distance from Samanpazari (meaning Old Bazaar), a gorgeous area in the old part of Ankara, running downhill south of Ankara Castle and home of wonderful shops selling crafts and antiques.
The rug repair tools we use are hand made in Iran and include:
Sep 29, 2021
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