New technologies in fabric construction and care have made it easier than ever to maintain the just-installed look of your home's carpeting by protecting its fibers from dirt, stains and spills. Two of the most recognized brands providing such protection are Scotchgard™ and Stainmaster®. Both tout the effectiveness of their products while accomplishing their goals in very different ways.
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Developed by 3M, Scotchgard is actually a protective treatment that coats carpet fibers and is applied by a carpet manufacturer at the carpet mill. According to information provided by 3M on its website, Scotchgard Protector resists dirt and stains by "surrounding each individual carpet fiber with an invisible shield." Because carpeting is manufactured in a number of natural and synthetic fiber types, 3M has developed various Scotchgard formulas. To ensure that what you are purchasing has been treated with Scotchgard, 3M recommends checking for its Scotchgard Protector label on the bottom side of the carpet.
On its website, 3M states that Scotchgard Protector provides "long lasting benefits" under "normal" wear and care. However, the product's performance "may diminish over time" every time you shampoo your carpet using the steam-cleaning (hot-water extraction) method commonly used by professional cleaners. Therefore, 3M recommends that the Protector be re-applied after such a cleaning. 3M also recommends using its line of products to remove stubborn stains from carpeting protected by Scotchgard.
Scotchgard does offer a line of carpet-care products that allow you to apply the protection yourself via an aerosol spray. In addition, it can be applied to area rugs, bath mats and automobile carpet. Scotchgard products also are available for applying Scotchgard protection to upholstery fabrics, clothing and leather.
One of the best-known names in the carpet industry is DuPont Stainmaster. According to The Carpet Site, an online guide to flooring products, Stainmaster carpets are woven of special nylon fiber to which a colorless, proprietary dye solution is added, "essentially creating an effective barrier against staining." DuPont sells its Stainmaster carpet fiber and patented chemical treatments to carpet manufacturers who make their products using the technology. To determine whether your selection is a Stainmaster carpet, look for DuPont's logo.
According to The Carpet Site, the stain-prevention properties of Stainmaster carpet are "far more effective than Scotchgard" because the dye is "integral to the fiber of the carpet." To remove a stain from Stainmaster carpet, DuPont recommends using mild dishwashing soap. Stainmaster quality comes at a price, and The Carpet Site warns that it may cost more than its competitors.
Unlike Scotchgard-treated carpeting, Stainmaster can be steam-cleaned without affecting its stain resistance. In fact, to maintain your Stainmaster carpet's texture-retention warranty, DuPont requires that you professionally clean your carpeting "at least every 18 to 24 months," according to its Stainmaster website.
While The Carpet Site declares Stainmaster superior to Scotchgard, it is always up to an individual to determine his or her preference. Factors that will enter into your purchasing decision include the type, style and color of carpeting you prefer, as well as what you are able to afford.