Like any industry, the world of professional carpet cleaning has its own terminology, systems and also certifications that offer reassurance for customers. As a customer, some of these terms can be a bit baffling and leave you feeling a little uncertain with what’s going on. Plus how do you know who is a reputable body? Let’s help you understand some of the key carpet cleaning terminology and certifications.

Carpet cleaning terminology

Let’s get started with some of the most common terms you will hear relating to carpet cleaning. By understanding these, you will feel a bit more confident when getting quotes and ordering carpet cleaning services.


Blooming is when carpet fibres untwist. There’s a few reasons this can happen including through wear and tear but also improper cleaning processes or too much heat applied to dry a carpet.


Browning in carpet cleaning refers to a discolouration in the carpet fibres overtime. Browning can appear for a number of reasons including wicking, over-wetting, incorrect cleaning procedures or even through wear overtime.


In the world of carpet cleaning, a builder is a compound that’s added to a cleaning solution when you live in a hard water area. It has the effect of softening the water and making sure it is effective for cleaning the carpets. It is a kind of booster for hard water areas.


If you experience clouding on your carpets after cleaning them, this is due to residue left on the material. If you wet a carpet and use a cleaner but don’t get rid of it all before allowing it to dry, the cleaning solution will make the carpet look cloudy. Another clean is needed to sort this out!


A digester is a special enzyme-based cleaning product that breaks down a stain or 'digests' it. This makes it easier for the stain to be removed and saves the carpet.


This is the separation of the primary and secondary backings of a tufted carpet.


This is a pretty common term that has the same meaning in carpet cleaning as elsewhere. The fibre of the carpet is the material it is made from, the strands that make it up.  This is important when it comes to cleaning because the type of fibre dictates how the cleaning will take place. Some fibres also come with stain protection or cannot handle certain cleaning materials, so it is always an important discussion.


When a carpet frays, the fibres are damaged or can expand and change the texture. This usually happens when someone scrubs a stain rather than blotting or due to wear and tear.


While grooming might sound like something you do with your dog, there’s also a version for carpets. Grooming carpets takes place with a special tool that works as a pre-treatment.  Other times, it can refer to a post-cleaning treatment that is used to give the carpet extra protection going forward and can even create a smoother appearance.


While a mat is a common term for a type of small carpet covering near doors, when it is used regarding carpet cleaning, it refers to an area of carpet where the fibres have been crushed or flattened. This often happens due to repeated use or to having furniture standing on it. Occasionally, excited spot removal by homeowners can cause a mat in the carpet too.


The nap of a carpet simply means the direction that the fibres are woven into the backing. Normally, the carpet will be laid with the nap running all in the same direction – this makes it look even and consistent. The nap is important for cleaning because it ensures the overall look of the carpet is retained.


Oxidizers are a category of cleaning product that react with oxygen. They are particularly good at removing stains like coffee and urine but aren’t usually used on more delicate types of carpet like wool.

POG treatments

These are another specialist type of cleaning products that focus on three troublesome types of stains – paint, oil and grease. They are spotting agents designed to remove these stains from small areas of a carpet.


While an oxidizer works with oxygen, a reducer removes it to dry out the stain and make it easier to remove. Reducers are particularly good for wool carpets and don’t yellow as much as other cleaning products. They also do well on coloured stains such as food and drink that have artificial colours int hem.


While having a stripper applied to your carpet might sound scary, the reality is that it is a cleaning agent that reduces or strips out oxygen to make it easier to clean stains.  It works similarly to a reducer but is a bit stronger.


Wicking is when a stubborn stain reappears after it has been treated. The carpet looked clean and the stain was gone but then a few days later, it reappears. This usually happens because the soil residue or older stains weren’t entirely cleaned away and is trapped within the underlay or base of the carpet.  Once the cleaning process is finished, those old stains come back and a deeper clean is needed to remove them.


In some ways, knowing a little about certifications is even more important than knowing carpet cleaning terminology. That’s because when you hire someone to work on your carpets, you want to know they have the right certifications to ensure a top quality job.

One of the top UK certifications is from the National Carpet Cleaners Association or NCCA. Their members are fully insured and professionally trained as well as following a Code of Practice.  Their membership includes a range of services such as floor cleaning but also soft furnishing cleaning, rug cleaning and repair, hard floor restoration and even curtain cleaning. The NCCA were established in 1968 and are a leading, recognised body in the cleaning industry. Furthermore, other associations you should look out for when choosing a cleaning company are government recognised / endorsed groups. These government endorsed bodies ensures their members are thoroughly vetted and members have to make a commitment to provide good customer service.

Here at A Cleaning Service, we are carpet cleaning experts and also members of the NCCA, Trustmark (government endorsed) and we are Trading Standards approved. This means when you get work done, you can be confident it is to the highest standards.  In the rare occasion something goes wrong, you can be sure we are completely insured, and you are protected.  And you can be happy with the quality of the services we offer, using the very latest techniques and products.

So if you need professional carpet cleaning, spot removal or any other type of carpet service, call us on 0117 325 9250 today to discuss your needs and get the best quality service for your home’s carpets.