Why Can I See a Traffic Pattern In My Carpet Even After I Had It Cleaned?

One of the questions we get often, especially on carpet more than 3 years old, is "why can I still see traffic patterns in my carpet after it was cleaned?" This is an excellent question, and I hope to answer that question here.

Many times traffic patterns are due to damage to the carpet fibers themselves. This damage manifests itself as a dark line, often appearing dirty. In fact, in the industry we call this "apparent soiling," because even though the carpet is clean, it still "appears" to be soiled. The carpet fibers themselves have been scratched, bent, broken, flattened, and there may be some fiber loss, all of which contribute to the traffic pattern. Unfortunately, this is not reversible, and no matter how much cleaning takes place, there is no way to get rid of this damage.

These traffic patterns usually start to appear after about 3 years, though may show up on some carpets faster. Regular maintenance, such as vacuuming, regular cleaning, and protecting the carpet can help slow down this damage to the carpet fibers, though nothing will stop it completely.

The traffic patterns usually show up in the following pattern: from the entrance to the home (front door or garage) to the kitchen, to the Living area, where ever the tv is, in most cases, to the master bathroom. If there is an in-home office, this may have a traffic pattern as well. The path to the master bathroom is usually one of the worst in any home.

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