Carpet Cleaning Professionals On Cut Pile and Loop Pile Carpet Construction

If you haven’t had much to do with carpet in the past and the only things you’ve really noticed are either the colour or the fact that the carpet needs a jolly good clean, then it can all be a bit confusing when you are looking at replacing the carpet. If you’re in a rental property, if you’re still living with Mum and Dad, or if you’re an employee further down in the ranks, then you don’t get much say about the carpets really and you don’t have to give much thought to the different sorts out there. Then comes the day when you own your own place and/or you get the responsibility for picking out some new carpet (or at least something of a say) and it all gets a bit confusing.

What’s the difference between all the different types of carpet? How do different types affect the way the carpet will wear? What about the cleaning factor – are some types of carpet easier to clean than others? 

Whether you are familiar with all the different sorts of carpet out there, or not, here’s a little guide, written by carpet cleaning professionals to get you started. This is an advertorial.

Loop Pile

This is the hardest wearing type of carpet and it’s really good for heavy traffic areas. In a loop pile carpet, the strands of yarn (whether that’s natural wool or a blend) are woven through the backing but they aren’t cut open, so the surface of the carpet consists of lots of little bent-over bits of wool that have both ends stuck to the bottom of the backing. To understand why this is so hard-wearing, grab a bit of yarn, whether you raid something from your own knitting stash, borrow some from the crafter in your life or merely look at a bit that’s frayed off some ancient knitwear. First, make a loop with the yarn and give the top of the yarn a poke. See how it bounces back again, especially if it’s a nice tight loop, which is what happens in carpets. Now do the same sort of thing to the end of the yarn, and you’ll see that it gets a bit floppy. This is what happens at a larger scale all over your carpet.

Carpet manufacturers can also have fun playing around with different loop heights. This can be done to add texture and a bit of a pattern to the floor.

From a cleaning perspective, loop pile is straightforward to clean (well at least it is straightforward to the carpet care technicians at and it can stand up to more vigorous methods. The use or non-use of water in cleaning them will depend more on the type of material used to make it. However, because it’s good for high-traffic areas, and doesn’t have problems with what’s known in the carpet care industry as “shading” or “tracking” (i.e. marks left after something’s moved across the surface), it responds well to bonnet buffing. 

Cats seem to love loop pile and will try to sharpen their claws on it (aaagh!) like they do on the sofa arms. Although loop pile is hard-wearing, this sort of treatment will shorten its life. Maybe you could put a bit of loop pile carpet on a scratching post?

Cut Pile 

Cut pile is the slightly posher sister of loop pile. In cut pile, the loops have been cut, so what you want on and put your furniture down on are the open ends rather than the loops. This gives the nap or surface of the carpet (the part you see) a finish that’s softer to touch and more velvety to look at. Now, if you’ve ever worn clothing or sat on a seat made from velvet or velour and you’ve had to sit around getting bored without a phone for a bit, then you may have amused yourself by drawing doodles on your clothing or the seat by dragging the pile of the velvet against the grain (don’t tell me I was the only person to do this!). The same sort of thing happens on a cut pile carpet. The construction of a cut pile carpet means that it will show tracks from vacuum cleaners and from feet a lot more readily. This means that cut pile carpet, especially the really plush sort, is best for areas that don’t get as much traffic.

Cats can’t get their little claws into cut pile carpet to do that annoying claw-sharpening manoeuvre, so it’s a good option if you love cats.

From a cleaning perspective, the cut pile can be deep cleaned in the same way as loop pile, although it can get a bit crushed by bonnet buffing. Dry cleaning and steam cleaning (if the material suits this) work well and leave the carpet nice and fluffy. Steam cleaning, in particular, helps to resurrect flat, tired cut pile carpet.  Steam cleaning, in particular, helps to resurrect flat, tired cut pile carpet. You may want to leave this sort of cleaning to the experts like Novasteam, who are a team of Tri-Cities Premier Carpet Cleaner & Odor Removal Specialists. This will just ensure it is done to the highest standard.

And those vacuum cleaner tracks? Well, you shouldn’t stop vacuuming your carpet as this is an absolute must for taking care of your floors. Your best bet is to work systematically. After you’ve vacuumed one section, finish it off by “brushing” it into the direction that you like the look of best. Do the same with each section, finishing off by smoothing it all down in the same direction, like you’re grooming your dog or brushing your child’s hair.

Shag Pile Carpet 

This might be associated with the 1960s and 1970s but they’ve come a long way since then. A shag pile carpet is like a cut pile carpet but a lot longer. They are sometimes called frieze carpets or deep pile to stop you feeling that you’ve hopped in a time machine and have to start throwing around words like hip and groovy. Your classic shag pile is long enough to run your fingers through – at least half an inch long. The strands are so long that they flop over, giving the surface a shaggy finish; hence the name. Shag pile is usually cut pile – long loops are best avoided as they catch in everything.

Shag pile carpet requires a lot of cleaning because the deeper the pile, the more dust and grime that can hide in there. You really need to get the vacuum cleaner out quite a lot to make sure that nasties don’t start living down there. You can’t skimp on the deep cleaning either. From personal experience, I wouldn’t recommend shag pile for children’s rooms for cleaning reasons. Those long strands might be fun to touch but they are often deep enough to lose Lego bits, bobby pins and Barbie accessories – these are not kind to vacuum cleaners or to bare feet. Sticky substances are a particular nuisance on shag pile, as there’s a lot of carpet for it to get stuck on – bubble gum and modelling clay are particularly nightmarish and really are a job for a professional carpet cleaner.

Some vacuum cleaners don’t play nicely with shag pile carpets. However, other vacuum cleaners do. If you love shag pile, then look for a vacuum that doesn’t have a rotating beater bar. Those beater bars or rotating bars catch and pull on the long piles and get tangled. This rules out a lot of the upright types of vacuum cleaner. However, there are some out there that allow you to switch off the beater bar; canister vacuums (the pull-alongs with long hoses) usually play nicely with shag pile.

If you love the look and feel of long piled carpet but don’t want the hassle of all that vacuuming, then you might want to consider getting a shag pile rug or mat instead. These can be picked up and taken outside and given a good shaking to get out all the loose crumbs, bobby pins and lost Legos (and earrings and…) then vacuumed. A mat or rug, whether it’s shag pile or any other finish, will need to be deep cleaned just like the rest of your carpets do. You may as well get them done at the same time as the rest of your carpets get steam cleaned.


No comments